Best Project Planning Software of 2020

How do you get a project off the drawing board and into the execution phase? With a plan. But project plans are unruly beasts that need to be reined in. That’s where project planning software comes in—a project manager’s best friend.

Project planning software is a tool that gives project managers the means to control costs and keep to their schedule. It is how deliverables get delivered, on time, within budget and meeting the quality expectations of stakeholders. Planning software also has features that keep track of your progress and assess whether you’re meeting your planned goals.

Yes, project planning software is massive. It is an umbrella under which a number of foundational tools reside, such as team collaboration, task management, Gantt charts, timesheets, resource management, dashboard and much more. If you’re looking for a project planning software that meets this criteria, it’s a crowded field and getting denser every day.

Below are some of the best project planning tools available today, with their pros and cons. Take a minute to look over these options and get the tool you need for your next project.

2020 Best Project Planning Software Rankings

1. ProjectManager.comBest Project Planning Software of 2020 1 is a cloud-based project management software that offers a full suite of project planning software features. With Gantt charts, task lists, calendars and kanban boards, users can choose how they want to plan their project, depending on its scope and complexity.

Megan: If i wanted to mention our ability to plan budgets and resources, what should i mention? Please leave a comment here.

To speed up the process, has templates to help you set up your project plan, or you can import a spreadsheet with your task list to create a new project instantly.

Not all projects are the same, so has customizable columns to set up your online Gantt chart how you want. To keep projects from bogging down when you execute the plan, gives you the flexibility to pivot quickly as projects change. Simply drag-and-drop start and end dates on the Gantt to their new time. It’s that easy.
Best Project Planning Software of 2020 2
Once the plan is in play, project managers have transparency into the process to make sure the actual progress matches the planned progress. The duration bar on the Gantt is shaded to represent progress in completing that task. Plans are only as good as they can be executed, of course, and knows how to make your project plan a springboard for better productivity. You can assign from their Gantt plan and team members can work collaboratively, adding relevant documents and commenting at the task level.

Automated features like dashboards, reports and email alerts make tracking even more practical. The real-time dashboard tracks six project metrics and one-click reporting offers a deeper dive into project data. This lets project managers know instantly if the project is going off the rails and get it back on track faster. Meanwhile, email notifications keep team members alerted when deadlines are looming, or there have been changes made to the tasks. Everyone is kept in the loop.

The project plan is a living document and makes it easily adaptable to real-life working conditions. features resource management tools that keep the team’s workload balanced and easy timesheets to help monitor time spent on those tasks. The project plan is only one part of the whole project that helps you control. To see just how much control over your projects you can get with, take a free 30-day trial.

2. SmartsheetBest Project Planning Software of 2020 3

Smartsheet is an online project management software that is used in many industries to track and manage work. It is suitable for large and small teams, whether working in an agile or more traditional methodology. In terms of project planning, there are collaborative tools, due date tracking, Gantt charts and kanban boards. It plots milestones and track tasks.

Where the software suffers is that it requires understanding both spreadsheets and project management. It’s divided between these two points and so ends up not serving either one fully. In terms of features, it’s resource management reporting tools are complicated. That makes its dashboard more difficult than it needs to be. There are no timesheets, which is a key feature for tracking teams hours and tasks. This could be a deal-breaker for project managers.

3. FunctionFoxBest Project Planning Software of 2020 4

FunctionFox is web-based time and project management software used by industries such as advertising, marketing and public relations companies. It tends to be used more in the creative fields to plan and track projects. It has tools for tracking multiple projects, forecasting workloads and communications.

FunctionFox is not ideal for every industry or the teams that work within those fields. For example, there’s no kanban boards, which is a visual planing tool that helps avoid workflow bottlenecks. Task management is only available for more money and even at that payment level you’re just getting a categorizing tool, not something that manages the task details or dependencies.

4. Zoho ProjectsBest Project Planning Software of 2020 5

Zoho Projects is a cloud-based project planning software tool. It’s used by large and small teams in many industries to plan and track projects. It offers collaborative features and can be used within an agile framework or with more traditional methodologies. It does have a soup-to-nuts menu of features for project planning, such as Gantt charts, kanban boards and milestone tracking.

There have been some complaints about the software include difficulty integrating with other apps. Reports are not thorough and lack data. There’s also a lack of privacy among users and clients. The interface can sometimes be difficult to maneuver. The Gantt charts are overly complex, and it would be nice if projects could be exported to a spreadsheet to share with clients who are not subscribed to the software.

5. ClickUpBest Project Planning Software of 2020 6

ClickUp is a cloud-based tool that is mostly good for collaboration but has some project planning that works with businesses of varying size. It has communication, task assignment and status alert features. There are also events and reminders, which help with collaboration. It’s project planning tools include Gantt charts, kanban boards and progress tracking. It has multiple project views and is flexible and customizable. It allows for recurring tasks.

The problem with ClickUp is that its offering is really strong in collaboration, but weak with project planning. It has a lot of the tools that are essential for project planning, but they’re not robust. If you’re looking to create and control a project plan, you’ll find ClickUp lacking. The overall design is also flawed in that it doesn’t make it easy to see all the task data at a glance. Reporting is also lacking, with limited data. They could use improving.

6. MavenlinkBest Project Planning Software of 2020 7

Mavenlink is a project management software that focuses on collaborative tools to enhance business performance. It features time tracking, resource management and budget tools. It’s project planning features help track due dates for tasks and can build plans on Gantt charts and manage workflow with kanban boards. It also has reporting to add visibility into a project, program or portfolio.

Project managers have complained that rather than reducing their workload, the software actually makes more work for them. For one, there’s a steep learning curve. You can’t share with clients, either, if they’re not paying for the software. It’s really more of an enterprise software solution –  less plug and go and requires time and effort to configure. The reporting isn’t without problems, though, such as naming and categorization of project metrics isn’t clear. There’s no space to add comments when approving or rejecting timesheets without them being published across all entries.

7. ForecastBest Project Planning Software of 2020 8

Forecast is a project planning and resource workload visibility software with transparency across multiple projects. It has tools like kanban boards, which make it ideal for scrum teams. Files can be attached to tasks, which are then tracked throughout their life cycle. There’s also project scoping, resource allocation, time tracking and team collaboration. It is flexible enough to be used by startups and enterprise ventures that are looking to boost their productivity.

The trouble with using this is that things don’t always work as they should. This creates road bumps that slow down a project’s progress. Timesheets are also not easy to use. Though it can help scrum teams, those that work within the larger agile framework will find the software frustrating in its rigidity. Even scrum is not fully served as there is no retrospective management. is a cloud-based project management software with all the features project managers want to better plan their projects. Online Gantt charts link task dependencies to avoid bottlenecks. Kanban boards help team members work more productively. Collaborative tools are designed to give team members the autonomy they want to get the plan executed more efficiently. Try it today with this free 30-day trial.

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