Need help tracking projects and your team's tasks? Here are six of the best free cloud applications.
Whether you work specifically on projects or want to make business-as-usual tasks run as smoothly as possible, project management tools are your best friend.
They help you track goal progress and let you easily see where expertise might be lacking and identify parts of your business that aren't performing as well as they could.
However, if you're new to this kind of tracking, you may not want to stump up lots of cash before deciding whether you need it or not. That's where free project management tools can be really useful.
While many better established software businesses may offer limited-term free trials for such tools, a month probably won't be long enough to see the project through from start to finish. Here we round up the best free project management tools, so you can get to grips with tracking progress without breaking the bank.
All these free apps are cloud-based, and offer paid plans that offer more features or allow more users or projects.
Bitrix24 is much more than just a project management tool – it’s a comprehensive collaboration platform that includes customer relationship management (CRM), workflow automation and many other tools.
That doesn’t mean it’s lacking in project management features though. In each project group, you’ll find all of the files related to that specific project, while all tasks can be assigned or delegated to colleagues at any step of the process, with a Kanban board view option if you prefer.
You can track how much time an employee has spent on each task, with task counters available to keep track. Projects can also be shared online, so clients and those outside the organisation can track progress and contribute too.
Bitrix’s free plan includes up to 12 users, has a storage limit of 5GB, and offers many of the project management and other tools of the paid plans. The Plus plan, which allows up to 24 users and 24GB storage, costs US$39 per month.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Web.
If you need a simpler, specialised project management tool, Freedcamp uses a Kanban board-style interface like Trello, allowing you to drag and drop tasks as they progress through the project. Task lists are present to keep your teams organised, and it even offers time-tracking and team milestones.
The free plan includes unlimited users and projects, but is limited to 10MB file uploads and lacks some features of the paid plans. For example, the Lite plans offers Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive integration for US$5.99 per month for the owner and US$1.99 per additional user. The Business plan, which costs US$10.99 per user per month, offers some powerful modules CRM, invoices and more.
Platforms: iOS, Web.
Producteev, as the name suggests, seeks to make teams more collaborative and therefore productive, helping businesses make decisions on the spot to guarantee continuity.
You can set priorities for tasks, colour code them and add custom descriptions according to where they fit in your overall plan. You can also include deadlines to ensure they’re completed on time. Each task can comprise subtasks too, with a tick box available for each, so teams can keep track of where they are on a wider task that may comprise several parts.
Every task can be transformed into an email to quickly assign it to someone, and of course, you can upload files via Box, Dropbox or from your device.
The free plan is very generous, including unlimited users and projects, and most of the features of the paid plan, which costs US$99 per month.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Web
With its drag and drop card-based interface, Trello is super-easy to use. Each project is represented as a ‘board’, with tasks as ‘cards’.
It also boasts a huge range of integrations, called ‘Power-ups’, with third-party applications ranging from Google Drive to Salesforce. Just about everything is customisable, allowing you to add columns according to the individual project, and colour-coding task cards however you like.
You can also easily assign tasks by tagging users on a card and setting deadlines.
The free plan allows unlimited projects but only one Power-Up per board and 10MB attachments. Paying US$9.99 per user per month allows unlimited Power-Ups, 250MB attachments and several additional features.
However, the more people you invite to your board, the more credits you get, which will allow you to upgrade to gold with higher storage limits for free.
Platforms: Web (mobile and desktop versions available via third parties).
If you only have a small team, Wrike offers its full version for free, which makes it a top choice for businesses just starting out. It integrates with a whole host of third-party apps, ranging from Dropbox (for linking your files with project documents) to QuickBooks (for automatically projects based on new customers).
Collaboration is at the centre of this project management tool, including a private messaging function, so you can scrap to-and-fro emails and just use Wrike to communicate for everything project-related.
The free plan allows for up to five users. The Professional plan, which allows up to 15 users and includes has additional features such as support for sub-tasks and unlimited collaborators, costs US$9.80 per user per month. The Business plan (for 5–200 users) adds more features such as custom fields and workflows, and costs US$24.80 per user per month.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Web.
Zoho Projects is one of the better project management tools out there. It has the features you'd expect from a well-established, subscription-based platform, including ranging from task lists and milestones to Gantt charts to time-tracking, collaboration and document management tools.
The free plan allows unlimited users but includes only one project and 10MB of online storage. However, it costs just US$25 per month for 20 projects and 10GB, again with unlimited users.
Platforms: Android, iOS, web.
This feature is based on an article that originally appeared at IT Pro.