5 Project Management Software alternatives to Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is probably the most well-known and widely used project management software and still features in Capterra's top 20 project and portfolio management software.

Microsoft Project was exciting in the early days.  As the way of managing and running projects has evolved so too has the software, leading to new cloud-based, highly sophisticated, integrated alternatives.  Rather than project managers being shackled to their desktop they have the flexibility to manage their projects anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection on laptop, tablet or mobile.  Yes, Microsoft Project was the industry standard for many project managers who like its ability to work with SharePoint. Some though feel it lacks the intuitive approach of the ‘newer’ software as one Capterra reviewer writes. "There is a learning curve with the software where all aspects are not as intuitive or at least not as well. It can be far more complicated for most teams. It is an investment in training and resources to fully leverage the program."

In the last few years many people have been searching for innovative ways to define, run and optimise their projects using alternative tools. But what are the latest products available and what are the different options to meet your project management requirements?

Here we look at five alternatives to Microsoft Project.

1. Hydra

Hydra is cloud-based. It gives you visibility and deep understanding of your projects in real-time, is quick to roll-out and offers fast results. Hydra is extremely easy to use and learn, no matter what your level of experience with project management software. It utilises Gantt charts, work breakdown structures and intuitive drag and drop editing to create and change project milestones or tasks.  It offers free training and no steep learning curves! 

Hydra tracks performance in real-time, showing actual project progress through intuitive dashboards.  The always-available data and information captures the reality of your project analytics enabling users to see past and future performance, giving you the power to make better decisions.  Hydra is a new breed of 'intelligent' business software that has the ability to capture learning and project innovation through the project economy and lifecycle, which can be used to create ‘project Blueprints’ and develop your project Best-Practices.

The software is extremely agile, enabling tasks to be grouped into "deliverables" that can be replicated as many times as required (e.g. a piece of equipment that needs to be installed in multiple locations), allowing for reassessment and adaptation of project plans to promote continuous learning and innovation.

Hydra keeps project assets in one place for the rest of the team to see.  Your project teams can foster greater project collaboration; access the correct and relevant information, documents, check-lists and guidance when needed, contribute to documents and share files online.  The in-built messaging system helps teams collaborate anywhere, anytime.  User reviews from Capterra note it's pros and cons.

Project Planning and Portfolio Management

Pros:

  • Easy to implement with regards to the technical changes. 
  • The software has the potential to revolutionise the way you plan your Portfolios of work and how you undertake workforce planning. 
  • Increased visibility of projects, what will be delivered on time and to budget. 
  • The system comes with standard reports and you also have the option to develop your own reports using SQL / Crystal Reporter. 
  • The consultation service offered by Hydra Management Limited is excellent and has assisted us in the development of a number of different solutions.

Cons:

  • The cultural changes required within the organisation to fully realise the benefits associated with this software are more challenging than initially anticipated and require top down leadership to ensure success.

Hydra's intelligent way of working, gives you the ability to achieve perfect execution and control and empower your knowledge and optimise all your resources whilst being easy to learn and simple to use.  If you are looking for software that has the potential to revolutionise the way you plan your portfolios of work then Hydra could be for you.

 

2. Clarizen

Clarizen is another cloud-based, collaborative, work management software best suited for enterprise-level project managers, IT organisations and professional services teams which is a step up from Microsoft Project's solution for project and portfolio management.  Clarizens typical customers are mid-size and enterprise businesses.

Clarizen integrates with Box, Google Drive, Salesforce Sales Cloud, and other platforms. Its list of features is very large, almost too many choices as one reviewer states but the ones that stand out compared to Microsoft Project are those covering project budgeting, budget control, financial management and analysis, so if you are looking for a tool which can give you this level of detail then Clarizen could be the software for you.

clarizen.png

Pros: The almost unlimited features and options

Cons: There are almost too many choices, it takes a while to really gain a full understanding of how everything works

 

3. Wrike

Cloud-based Wrike is similar to Microsoft Project in that it is supported by Windows but in addition is also available on Android, Apple, and Linux. Wrike is designed work with other applications and software such as Gmail, IBM and Dropbox rather than just Microsoft Projects limited applications of MS Office and Skype.

The interactive timeline and real-time newsfeed available on Wrike go one step further than Microsoft Project and Wrike also offers document collaboration and discussions in tasks.

wrikeimage.png

Unlike Microsoft Project's standard product packages, Wrike is offered on five plans designed to suit the varying needs and specifications of businesses, organisations and independent professionals. There are some mixed reviews regarding the free version

Pros: I like the feature set that Wrike has to offer. It is intuitive and comprehensive. I like the fact that Wrike has a Dashboard view although I only used the free version so I was not able to access it. I did see the Dashboard in use and it was very nice to see everything all at once.

Cons: I did not like that most of the key features were at a cost. I thought some more should be included in the free version so I could see them at work over time. Overall when looking into the software I was not impressed and thought some the marketing was effective but the overall product was lacking.

Wrike is more suited to small to medium businesses so if you are freelance or partnership then Microsoft Project may work better. 

4. Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a web-based project management tool and although not available for windows IT, is compatible for mobile.  Smartsheet is used across organisations to track and manage diverse types of work for teams large and small and includes tools for team task management, crowdsourcing and sales pipeline tracking – so this tool is great if you need to track your sales pipeline within projects.  The task management and sales pipeline tracking tools are a clear winner however the stability of the software maybe letting it down as one reviewer comments.

smartsheet.png 

Pros: One benefit that some other task management services don't offer is that you can assign a task to multiple people, and/or group a project of many steps and assign each step to a different person. It's also very easy to identify the tasks assigned to a particular person, or tasks for a full project - it's easy to sort and filter to view only the information you need.

Cons: One of the biggest problems is its stability. Mondays seem to be the worst - the service runs terribly slow and sometimes you can't even log in, and of course Mondays are the day when everyone needs access the most, to remind them what projects are at the top of the list for the week. It's also got a fairly high learning curve. 

5. Trello

Trello is software for small-scale project management focusing on such areas as project planning, resource and task management; features lacking in Microsoft Project.

As a team organisation and collaboration tool Trello organises your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. All your projects, all your tasks, all of your team--organized, accounted for, and easily visible at a glance.

Trello can be deployed via Cloud, SaaS, Web and mobile so it can be used on the go. Trello is more than just a business tool. Trello takes the team and task organisation and collaboration aspect of project management and transfers this to other aspects of life like family and friends. With Trello you can share boards with co-workers, family and friends.

 

trello.png

Users said how easy and simple it is to use and although lacking some functionality, makes up for it in usability.

Pros: 

  • Easy to use and set up the lists and cards. 
  • Gives an easy to follow view of project progress to all parties involved.

Cons: Print and export functionality isn't great on free version, you can only export to json format and the printing prints everything in a single list and the applied labels don't output.

So if you are looking for a simple easy to use software to organise a small team and their tasks then why not consider Trello.

 

Conclusions

These are just a few of the choices available, and we’re not going to lie, Hydra is our favourite for its ease of use, ability to manage in real time, its analytics and dashboards, its high agility and its ability to turn project adjustments into innovation and create blueprints for your Best-Practice.   Hydra can be applied just as well to both large and small organizations to easily deliver standardised projects time and time again. Our users think so too

Pros: 

  • Easy to implement with regards to the technical changes. 
  • The software has the potential to revolutionise the way you plan your Portfolios of work and how you undertake workforce planning. 
  • Increased visibility of projects, what will be delivered on time and to budget. 
  • The system comes with standard reports and you also have the option to develop your own reports using SQL / Crystal Reporter. 
  • The consultation service offered by Hydra Management Limited is excellent and has assisted us in the development of a number of different solutions.

Cons: 

The cultural changes required within the organisation to fully realise the benefits associated with this software are more challenging than initially anticipated and require top down leadership to ensure success.

If you would like to experience Hydra for yourself then why watch our free demo and if you like what you see please get in touch so that we can arrange a live demonstration, tailored to your organisations needs.

Why not book a tailored demo today!

BOOK A LIVE DEMO

 

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