Best Workfront Alternatives of 2022 (Free & Paid)

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Workfront positions itself as a “project management platform that keeps teams and enterprises running efficiently.” But does it? Even though the software is well-known, people who have used it or those looking for project management software are searching for Workfront alternatives.

Why? Well, there must be a reason. If you’re one of those people, you’ve landed on the right page. We looked at various Workfront alternatives and settled on what we think are the 10 best. Take a moment to read about what Workfront is and why users seek a Workfront alternative so you can choose the one that’s best for you.

How Workfront Works

Workfront is project management software that was acquired by Adobe in 2000. It’s an online tool that connects teams and their work across the enterprise. It sells itself as a tool that can streamline processes and help teams get more done with real-time, accurate information.

It’s a good fit for mid-to-large-sized companies and is customizable. Workfront features a timeline in addition to task and time management features. It also fosters transparency and gives managers visibility into their team’s work when planning, monitoring and measuring progress.

These are all good features, but if users and those looking for project management software are seeking a Workfront alternative, there must be a reason.

Reasons to Seek a Workfront Alternative

One reason to look elsewhere is if you’re not a larger company. Workfront is more suited for enterprise, not smaller, more nimble organizations. The user experience is especially poor if your company is organized on a flat organizational chart.

It’s also not very user-friendly and the layout is challenging to figure out. There’s a steep learning curve and even after using the tool for a long time, many have complained that it’s still confusing to them. That includes the setup process, which takes more time than it should, doubly so if you already have established processes in place.

Even more damaging and likely a big reason why people are looking for a Workfront alternative is that its Gantt charts are lacking. Gantt charts are notoriously hard to work with and harder still to edit. Workfront seems to have included all of the negatives about Gantt charts and only a few of the positives.

Oddly, for software that wants to connect teams, it can be frustrating to find your tasks on the tool. There’s no global search functionality so if you’re not sure which project your task is in, you’re going to have to search every project until you find it. This alone is sure to get you looking for a Workfront alternative.

2022 Best Workfront Alternatives Software Rankings

The following are what we consider the best of the best Workfront alternatives. They are listed in descending order, with the best being on top.

1. ProjectManager

ProjectManager is project management software that streamlines processes and offers multiple project views including Gantt charts, sheets, task lists, calendars and kanban boards. Each allows different departments to use the tools they’re comfortable with on a collaborative platform that shares files and allows for task-level commenting. It tops our list of Workfront alternatives due to its ease of use, powerful features that help you on every phase of your project and its real-time data with dashboard and reporting tools.

Plan With Robust Interactive Gantt Charts

ProjectManager has all of the features that make Workfront attractive, such as time tracking, but where it truly distinguishes itself from our other Workfront alternatives is with its online Gantt charts. This easy-to-use staple of project management can be set up in an instant and edited quickly. Better still, those edits are updated across the software and all project views. Add to that a filter for the critical path, linked dependencies and setting a baseline to track project variance in real time and you have a clear winner in the Gantt chart competition.

ProjectManager Gantt chartProjectManager Gantt chart

Automate Workflow and Set Task Approvals

ProjectManager even streamlines processes, making it the best Workfront alternative in terms of automation and quality. For one thing, you can automate workflows, which frees teams of busy work and allows them to focus on those tasks that require their expertise. You can set as many triggers as you need to create automatic actions, such as changing the assignee, task status and more. Speaking of status changes, to make sure you’re meeting quality expectations, you can authorize task approvals so only those who are in a position to approve work can move the task forward in the process.

ProjectManager's automative workflowProjectManager's automative workflow

We found ProjectManager to be chock full of the features that those looking for a Workfront alternative crave. From task and resource management to secure timesheets and integrations, this is your one-stop shop for all your project needs. There’s even a global search feature so you’ll never pull your hair out looking for your work or a specific task. It’s clear to see why ProjectManager is the best Workfront alternative for 2022. Try it yourself. Get started for free.

Pricing

  • Starter: $0 user/month
  • Team: $11.50 user/month
  • Business: $20.50 user/month

Q&A

  • Does ProjectManager offer a free trial? Yes, ProjectManager has a 30-day free trial
  • Does ProjectManager offer a free version? Yes, ProjectManager offers a free plan
  • Does ProjectManager have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS

2. Smartsheet

Smartsheet says it’s the modern work management tool, and as a Workfront alternative, it’s clear that this is true. As its name implies, Smartsheet built its software as a super-sized spreadsheet, which gives it familiarity as most project managers started on Excel. But it’s better than Excel as it’s far more customizable and powerful. The software can support automation, input web forms and allows for proofing and approvals, all of which contribute to its high ranking.

That doesn’t mean it’s the best Workfront alternative. If you require time tracking, budgeting and resource management (and who doesn’t?), then you’re going to have to use companion software that adds fees, which might make the tool prohibitively expensive. In addition, the pages don’t update in real time and they don’t autosave with every keystroke like Google Drive; these are some pretty bad marks against the software. Smartsheet also isn’t the easiest tool to get a handle on so you’re going to have to invest the time and make an effort to get the most out of the software.

Pricing

  • Pro plan: $7 user/month
  • Business plan: $25 user/month

Q&A

  • Does Smartsheet offer a free trial? Yes, Smartsheet has a 30-day free trial
  • Does Smartsheet offer a free version? No, Smartsheet doesn’t offer a free plan
  • Does Smartsheet have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS

3. Monday.comMonday.com logo, a workfront alternativeMonday.com logo, a workfront alternative

Monday.com is a popular work management software that targets the general public, which makes it one of the broader Workfront alternatives on this list. Like other products on this ranking, it has multiple project views, including a Gantt chart, timeline, calendar, etc. Monday.com has time tracking, which project managers will appreciate, and can integrate with a lot of the third-party software you’re likely already using to manage your work. There’s even automation.

But sometimes, when you cast too wide a net, you end up missing the features on which project managers depend. For example, just like Workfront, its Gantt chart falls short of what you’ll need to best manage your project. It also has limited task dependencies that you can only set up with dates, which is not useful for managing a project. Of course, you can get more features with more expensive plans, but the pricing is so confusing that you might turn elsewhere for project management. Then there’s the navigation, which is too confusing for the general public to understand. As Workfront alternatives go, it has its pluses but more minuses when it comes to real project management.

Pricing

  • Basic: $8 user/month
  • Standard: $10 user/month
  • Pro: $16 user/month

Q&A

  • Does Monday offer a free trial? Yes, Monday.com has a 14-day free trial
  • Does Monday offer a free version? Yes, Monday.com offers a free plan
  • Does Monday have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS

4. WrikeWrike logo, a workfront alternativeWrike logo, a workfront alternative

Wrike is a project management software that seems to mimic the gorilla in the market, which is Microsoft Project. This Workfront alternative has multiple features, such as kanban boards and Gantt charts. There are reporting features, which are essential for staying on track, and it integrates with other tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox. There’s also a dashboard, another key feature for a high-level view of your project in addition to a search engine.

All of those features are great, but they’re not easy to learn. It’s going to take a long time before you and your team are comfortable using the software. When you start to onboard your team, a process that must be done manually, you’re likely going to hear complaints about how difficult the tool is to use. You get a lot of data, but you can’t filter it to see what you want, which is frustrating. Also frustrating is the speed; pages are slow to load because of the size of the software. There’s little task prioritization and it’s not easy to change a task’s status. All of this puts this Workfront alternative in the middle of our rankings.

Pricing

  • Professional plan: $9.80 user/month
  • Business plan: $24.80 user/month

Q&A

  • Does Wrike offer a free trial? Yes, Wrike has a 14-day free trial
  • Does Wrike offer a free version? Yes, Wrike doesn’t offer a free plan
  • Does Wrike have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS.

5. PlanviewPlanview logo, a Workfront alternativePlanview logo, a Workfront alternative

Planview is a project management tool that puts all its eggs in one basket, a risk that pays off. Like Trello, this Workfront alternative is a powerful kanban-centric software. Kanban boards are visual workflow tools and tend to be easy to learn and use. This one comes with all of the bells and whistles you’d want for a kanban board, including custom fields, work-in-progress (WIP) limits and swim-lane diagrams.

However, if you’re looking for a Workfront alternative that has more project views than kanban boards, you’re out of luck. For teams, kanban boards can be very useful, especially in an agile environment. But if your management is using Gantt charts, they’re not going to collaborate easily. To add insult to injury, time tracking isn’t included and you can only get alerts on updates in the project by email. There’s no in-app option as with others on this list. That means you have to jump out of the tool, which is frustrating.

Pricing

  • One pricing plan starts at $20 per user/month billed annually

Q&A

  • Does Planview offer a free trial? Yes, Planview has a 30-day free trial
  • Does Planview offer a free version? Yes, Planview doesn’t offer a free plan
  • Does Planview have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS.

6. Microsoft ProjectMicrosoft Project, a workfront alternativeMicrosoft Project, a workfront alternative

Microsoft Project is the go-to project management software for enterprises. It’s a powerful tool that has set the standard for the industry. That’s understandable as it does everything from project management to portfolio and resource management. There are boards, Gantt charts and timesheets, all of the features that project managers have come to expect. As it integrates seamlessly with the other Microsoft apps, it’s a strong Workfront alternative.

But Microsoft Project has its disadvantages. First, it’s so big and complex that you’ll undoubtedly need training just to get started. This is not intuitive software and even seasoned and certified project managers have expressed confusion about using the tool. Not only do you have to invest a great amount of time to learn how to use the software, but you’re also going to pay for the privilege. The more people on your team who need to use the software, the more expensive it gets. If any of your team uses Apple products, then they’ll be unable to use MS Project as it doesn’t work on iOS platforms. Because of this and other issues with sharing its proprietary files, it’s clear that Microsoft Project not the best Workfront alternative.

Pricing

  • Project Plan 1: $10 user/month
  • Project Plan 3: $30 user/month
  • Business plan: $55 user/month

Q&A

  • Does Microsoft Project offer a free trial? Yes, Microsoft Project has a 30-day free trial
  • Does Microsoft Project offer a free version? No, Microsoft Project doesn’t offer a free plan
  • Does Microsoft Project have a mobile project management app? No.

7. MavenlinkMavenlink logo, a workfront alternativeMavenlink logo, a workfront alternative

Mavenlink calls itself an “industry cloud for professional services.” It has resource management features, project management and collaboration tool and offers business intelligence. It has recently merged with Kimble Applications, a Salesforce tool. This Workfront alternative is set to grow and users can expect to see improvements in its software.

There is certainly room for improvement, which is why it ranks lower in our Workfront alternatives listings. One thing they can work on is the price, which can be steep for smaller organizations and startups. There’s no mobile app, which will definitely strike it from some lists, and communication is lacking. That might be the biggest minus in our equation. If you can’t chat with your team, you must overcome large hurdles to simply collaborate.

Pricing

  • Enter your company info to see custom pricing

Q&A

  • Does Mavenlink offer a free trial? No, they don’t offer a free trial
  • Does Mavenlink offer a free demo? Yes, Mavenlink has a free demo
  • Does Mavenlink have a mobile project management app? No, they don’t offer a mobile project planning app

8. ClickUpClickUp logo, a workfront alternativeClickUp logo, a workfront alternative

ClickUp says it’s “one app to replace them all” and they come close. It’s a cloud-based software that works for all types of teams and has features to help with process management, task management, time management and collaboration with reporting tools that keep you on track and stakeholders informed. Like most Workfront alternatives on our list, there’s a dashboard for a high-level view of your progress and the layout is easy to understand at a glance.

If you’re eager to try this Workfront alternative, there is a free version, but it’s likely going to disappoint. There’s limited storage and other features are not fully functional. Even if you pay for the subscription plan and get access to the tools you need to manage a project, you’ll find that a great deal of customization is required to get the full benefits of the software. It’s not plug-and-play. We’ve noticed that the pricing is increasing, which is another negative. It’s also frustrating that you can’t sort your work; new projects appear at the bottom of a list and you can’t change that.

Pricing

  • Unlimited: $5 user/month
  • Business: $9 user/month
  • Business Pro: $19 user/month

Q&A

  • Does ClickUp offer a free trial? No, ClickUp doesn’t have a free trial
  • Does ClickUp offer a free version? Yes, ClickUp offers a free plan
  • Does ClickUp have a mobile project planning app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS

9. Basecamp

Basecamp is known as a great tool for collaboration, which is why it makes it to our Workfront alternatives list. It’s a flexible tool and easy to set up, which is another advantage. While you need more than just collaboration, as important as that is, the software supports a lot of integrations to fill in those holes.

One hole that can’t be easily filled is the lack of Gantt charts. Collaboration is essential, but so are the tools you need to manage your schedule, resources and so forth. Even Basecamp’s communication features, which is the selling point, can fill siloed and are not ideal for fostering collaboration. Reporting is limited and there are no proofing tools if your work requires such things. That’s why this Workfront alternative rests near the bottom of our list. It’s good at one thing but lacks the features project managers need to deliver success.

Pricing

  • Personal: Free for three projects and up to 20 users
  • Business: $99 flat fee

Q&A

  • Does Basecamp offer a free trial? Yes, Basecamp offers a 30-day free trial
  • Does Basecamp offer a free version? Yes, Basecamp offers a free plan
  • Does Basecamp have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS

10. TrelloTrello logo, a Workfront alternativeTrello logo, a Workfront alternative

Trello is collaborative software that depends on kanban boards for managing projects and boosting productivity. As kanban apps go, this one is very easy to use and allows you to customize the boards, making it ideal for managing work in addition to your team’s and external partners’ workflows. Trello has an intuitive interface and its focus on one key tool makes it the right Workfront alternative for those seeking that sort of specialty.

Oddly, for a Workfront alternative that’s all about kanban boards for managing projects, its boards have no swimlanes. To broaden the scope of its features, you’re going to have to get a lot of add-ons. For example, there are no time tracking and billing features. Even its cards, or the tasks that travel across the board as they move through the production cycle, are limited to only one board or project. There’s also limited storage, so forget about using it as a hub for your project documentation. Trello might work for small projects, but it falls short for most other projects.

Pricing

  • Standard: $5 user/month
  • Premium: $10 user/month
  • Enterprise: $17.50 user/month

Q&A

  • Does Trello offer a free trial? Yes, Trello has a 14-day free trial
  • Does Trello offer a free version? Yes, Trello offers a free plan
  • Does Trello have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS

Related Content

We’ve done several extensive looks at various project management software over the last few months. If you’re looking for an alternative to the tool you’re using or you’re in the market for software to add efficiency to your processes, we got you covered. Here are a few of the more popular roundups we’ve published.

Best Microsoft Project Alternatives of 2022

Best Smartsheet Alternatives of 2022

Best Asana Alternatives of 2022

ProjectManager is the best Workfront alternative. It is online software that’s powerful yet easy to use, helping teams organize tasks and monitor progress. It has reporting features to keep you on track and stakeholders updated. Our tool is already being used by teams at organizations as varied as NASA, Siemens and Nestle. If you want to deliver success, get started now with ProjectManager for free.

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Schematic Design Phase: A Quick Guide for Projects

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

In construction, there’s so much that takes place before the build begins. First, there’s a site analysis to put the building in context. Then there’s the schematic design, which is a rough drawing of the project’s basic features and cost estimates.

But the schematic design is only one phase in the architectural design process. It’s not the same as a concept design, but we’ll get to that later. First, let’s outline the five architectural design phases.

The 5 Architectural Design Phases

Construction is a complicated process. There are a lot of stakeholders and resources needed to deliver a construction project. The first part of this endeavor, no matter whether it’s a commercial or residential project, is the design process.

The architectural design process occurs over five phases. We’ll focus on the schematic design phase, which is the first, but in order to understand it contextually, let’s briefly explore each of the architectural design phases.

Phase 1: Schematic Design

The architectural design phase begins with the designer meeting with the client to come together on the vision and overall goals of the project. Some of this discussion is about essential items such as project scope, the purpose of the construction and its functionality.

After this initial meeting, the designer takes the data compiled from talking with the client and conducts a field survey. After that, a few primary design options are drafted and presented to the client.

The sketches are professionally rendered so the client can visualize these options more clearly in terms of what the finished building will look like. This schematic design phase includes a rough estimate of costs for each of the options, as budgetary concerns are usually paramount.

The client often comes back with a selection or two as well as changes they want to be implemented into the schematic design. The designer will make those changes until a final design is chosen, which the architectural team will then refine.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of back and forth in this phase. Having a tool that connects the design team to the client is ideal. ProjectManager is online construction project management software that delivers real-time connectivity. Files can be shared, comments added and, when there is an update, everyone is notified by email or in-app alerts. Better still, the software has features to help in all phases of a construction project such as unlimited file storage, which acts as a central hub for all project documentation and drawings. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's task card with collaboration ProjectManager's task card with collaboration
ProjectManager connects everyone on the project team and fosters better collaboration. Learn more

Phase 2: Design Development

Now take the schematic design further by finalizing the design chosen by the client and start working on the general structural details of the building. This includes things such as doors and windows as well as the materials you’ll be using in the construction of the building.

The chosen schematic design is revised if there were any changes requested by the client, and the cost estimate is updated to reflect any changes. Clients will look over the final design and make sure it meets their requirements. If they have additional changes, this is the last time they’ll be able to make them.

Phase 3: Construction Documents

At this point, construction documents are developed such as blueprints, technical specifications that are required for the bidding process, permit applications, etc. The client’s specifications will guide the creation of all the documents.

This phase mainly involves the architect, as they are responsible for the blueprints. These construction documents will be used by the construction contractors as they start preparing for the next phase in the process.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Construction Project Management

Phase 4: Bidding

Construction bidding is when construction contractors work with the client, design team or both to win the work. This is called the bidding process when designers help clients find the best fit in terms of experience, expertise and price. Having the designer work with the client during this phase is ideal.

The designer can list suitable construction contractors, review their bids and help the client with the analysis so the best bid can be picked. That’s why including the designer in this phase is so important as they are most intimate with the work the contractors will have to perform.

Phase 5: Construction Administration

Finally, with all construction documentation done and a construction contractor selected, construction is now underway. The client will want construction reports to make sure the building is being erected to its specifications.

That’s where the construction administration comes in. The architectural designer oversees the work of the construction company to make sure the design is being followed correctly. If there are issues, the designer will work with the contractor to get the project back on track.

What’s the Purpose of the Schematic Design Phase?

The main purpose of the schematic design phase is to turn the client’s vision into physical drawings of space. These drawings must be practical but also conform to the client’s budget. The site is also key; it must be measured and undergo a thorough site analysis to understand not only its physical properties but also code, regulations, drainage, climate and much more.

The schematic design phase takes into consideration the context in which the building is being placed, but it also focuses on the specific details of that building. It shows the structural, mechanical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) as well as plumbing and electrical systems. Interior and exterior finishes are also included.

There are control strategies for all equipment and systems relating to building services such as security and fire alarms, technical requirements for phones, data, cable and any audio-visual needs. Of course, the schematic design is reviewed for functionality, usability, code compliance and more.

Common Schematic Design Documents

The schematic design phase consists of various drawings that map out the exterior, interior and systems of the building. Commonly, this includes the site plan, floor plan, building elevations and building systems. They are described briefly below.

Site Plan

The site plan is a drawing of the location where the proposed construction project will take place. It shows how the building is oriented in the lot and the necessary site improvements. These can range from landscaping, walkways and roads to utilities, connections and service drives.

Floor Plan

The floor plan is a line drawing of the building’s floor plan or layout. Imagine if you sliced the physical building horizontally, the floor plan is that view with the top half removed with a bird’s-eye view. The floor plan includes dimensions, equipment, furnishings and other construction details.

Building Elevations

The building elevation is a drawing of the exterior of the building from the point of view of someone standing directly in front of it. It’s common for all four sides of the building to be drawn, as indicated as east, west, sound and north elevations. There can be some interior elevations that show a vertical surface, such as a corridor wall or the front of an auditorium.

Building Systems (HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing & Mechanical)

The building system is a drawing of all the systems being delivered to the building. These are heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical and plumbing and mechanical systems. The building system drawing shows where they will go in the building and how they interact, including power sources.

Schematic Design vs. Concept Design

Some might confuse schematic design with concept design so it’s important to note that they are different and how. The main difference is in the amount of detail. Concept design is by definition more abstract while schematic design is the first step towards creating the spatial and architectural elements that will be necessary to actualize construction.

The schematic design is responsible for taking the concept design and placing it in the real world that can actually be constructed. It’s a framework that allows the project to move forward in the design development. The end goal is the successful construction of the design.

Concept design doesn’t have to reflect the real world. It’s loose and expressive. It’s not concerned with issues such as if the drawing can be constructed. Those architectural concerns are placed in the schematic design, which deals with the more pragmatic issues we’ve already discussed.

ProjectManager & Architecture Design Phases

ProjectManager is construction project management software that helps with the design phase and every other phase of construction projects. Real-time data facilitates communication between departments. This data connects the designer to the owner and, eventually, the construction contractor to make sure that the design is being followed correctly.

Work How You Want

Schematic design is a collaborative affair, more so when involving the client and then the contractor. We connect those various parties with online software that delivers real-time data, but designers use different tools than construction project managers. This is why we have multiple project views. Designers can track their work on the visual workflow of kanban boards, project managers can plan on Gantt charts or the sheet view, subcontracts can use the list view to do their tasks and stakeholders can make sure milestones are met on the calendar view.

ProjectManager's kanban boardProjectManager's kanban board
Track Progress Once Construction Starts

Designers aren’t done once they’ve created a schematic design. In addition to more design work, once the ground is broken on the construction site, designers need to stay in contact with the general contractor and make sure they’re following the plans. One way to say abreast with the progress and performance of the construction is with our real-time dashboard. It collects, calculates and displays six project metrics with no setup required. Customizable reports dive deeper into the data and can be shared with the client to keep them updated.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time

Our software is vital from design to completion, connecting the entire project team and delivering real-time data for more insightful decision-making. We also have resource management features that balance your crew’s workload and timesheets that track their time on tasks while making payroll secure and streamlined. We’re the only construction project management software you’ll ever need.

ProjectManager is an award-winning software with features to connect design teams with clients and contractors. Our online software delivers real-time data that fosters better collaboration and tracks progress and performance. Plan, monitor and report on your construction project with ProjectManager. Get started for free.

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10 Best Project Management Charts for Project Planning

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Project management charts greatly help project managers plan, schedule and track progress on projects of all sizes. There are many types of project management charts and there’s one for each stage of the project life cycle such as project initiation or project closing charts, for example.

There are also planning charts, diagrams and matrices for each of the key 10 project management areas such as cost, schedule, resource or stakeholder management.

Luckily for project managers, there are many alternatives when it comes to choosing a project management chart to facilitate project planning efforts. In fact, using those charts is often a need for project managers. You’ll need to use a Gantt chart or a work breakdown structure to build your project plan, which is the foundation of your project.

What Are Project Management Charts?

Project management charts are visual representations of data that turn difficult project management concepts into easily digestible assets. They’re mostly used for project planning and take many shapes such as flowcharts, network diagrams or bar charts. Gantt charts, PERT charts, CPM diagrams and WBS diagrams are great examples.

Project management charts are especially useful when you’re communicating complex project planning information. They visualize data and turn complex concepts such as your project schedule or scope into digestible data for the project management team and stakeholders.

Data from project planning charts are even more useful when it’s tied to real-time project management software like ProjectManager. The software can take a static chart and turn it into a dynamic tool for planning, execution and reporting. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart, a very important project management chartProjectManager's Gantt chart, a very important project management chart
The Gantt chart is an essential project management chart. Learn more

Top 10 Project Management Charts

Before considering which project management chart is best for you, it’s important that you first decide which project management methodology you’ll use as there are differences between waterfall and agile project planning. It’s also important to note that you’ll need a variety of project management charts as each serves different project planning purposes such as creating a project timeline, allocating project resources, planning project work and more.

Below, we’ve selected the top 10 project management charts for project planning so you can decide which are best for your project.

1. Gantt Charts

Experienced project managers are familiar with the Gantt chart. It’s a dynamic bar chart that shows the project schedule on a timeline. Although Gantt charts started out as a basic tool, they’ve matured and include enticing features such as task dependencies that note when one task is related to another.

Gantt charts are essential for modern project planning and scheduling because they allow project managers to visualize all of the activities that make up the project on a timeline. They’re also useful to monitor progress once the execution phase begins.

ProjectManager's Free Gantt Chart TemplateProjectManager's Free Gantt Chart Template

With new computing power, Gantt charts evolved from a basic bar chart to an essential project management tool that allows project managers to identify the critical path, assign tasks, establish task dependencies, generate a project timeline and much more. This is why most modern project planning software now includes Gantt charts.

Online Gantt Charts for More Flexibility

All Gantt charts aren’t equal; other project management software programs have Gantt charts, but they’re basic in functionality. ProjectManager offers Gantt chart features that the competition hasn’t yet considered.

To start, ProjectManager can import your task list and schedule from a static spreadsheet. If your plan was developed in Microsoft Project but you want to move that plan online to share with your team, know that ProjectManager facilitates the import of Microsoft Project files.

Once you have your project plan in ProjectManager, our online Gantt chart is a project management chart on steroids. You can link task dependencies to prevent team members from getting blocked. You can also assign tasks directly from the Gantt view which is an interactive project timeline that you can adjust in real time. Comment at the task level and all status updates are instantly reflected on the Gantt chart, which feeds into a real-time dashboard with project metrics that can be filtered and shared.

For more information on Gantt charts, watch the short video below. It outlines all the ways that Gantt charts can help you make a thorough and effective project plan.

Project management training video (fgc8zj1dix)Project management training video (fgc8zj1dix)

2. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Diagram

One aspect of project planning is organizing project activities, deliverables and timelines. That’s where a work breakdown structure (WBS) comes in handy. It’s a way to take the tasks a team must accomplish and split them into manageable sections.

The WBS is a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team. In other words, it’s a great way to visualize the tasks that need to be done in order to complete the project. It acts as a slightly higher-level view than a Gantt chart, which is useful for complex projects. A WBS can be represented as a list, a tree diagram, a spreadsheet or a column on a Gantt chart.

ProjectManager's work breakdown structure templateProjectManager's work breakdown structure template

Once you have that information collected in our WBS diagram template, if you want a more dynamic tool that has more options, connect it to ProjectManager’s work breakdown structure software.

Upon moving the WBS diagram to ProjectManager, content is reflected over the different views in the software including the Gantt, task list and kanban board, a visual workflow tool. The online Gantt chart turns the WBS diagram into a powerhouse for project planning.

3. Flow Chart

Flow charts are another tool project managers should have in their toolbox when project planning. These charts help visualize processes as a way to improve project efficiency. The flow chart is a graphic display of the project’s objective and helps create a logical order of the work required to reach that goal. Planning a project is all about control, and a flow chart gives a project manager a tool to exercise control over tasks, resources and time. This means all processes, including planning and monitoring, refer to the flow chart to increase efficiency.

The planning process begins with the evaluation and development of the project scope. This might lead to a project level indicator or a project scorecard, both of which will flow into a project plan. Following the plan are tasks, resources, budgets, schedules, etc., each of which flows down to communications, risk management, change control, quality management, etc.

Finally, there’s the approval stage. If approved, the project plan is a go. If not, the flow chart circles back to the beginning to start again.

4. Critical Path Diagram (CPM)

Another visual planning tool is the critical path diagram (based on the critical path method, or CPM). It’s used to show the activities that are required to complete the project. The diagram illustrates the duration of each activity and the preceding activity, how the two are related and lag (the amount of time between two activities).

A critical path diagram helps project managers break down a more extensive project into necessary activities in order to deliver a successful project. These activities are represented on the diagram as boxes. Between these activities or boxes are lines that represent the flow to show how each activity is connected and interconnected.

The purpose of using a critical path diagram is to allow project managers to calculate the total duration of a project. The critical path is made up of critical activities but non-critical activities are also shown. Non-critical activities allow for more flexibility as they don’t have a major impact on the project.

5. RACI Matrix

RACI is an acronym that stands for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. A RACI matrix is a chart that helps assign responsibilities in project management. This table helps project managers identify stakeholders in their projects and gauge each level of involvement. This is done by noting next to each the initial R, A, C or I to categorize engagement.

For example, a responsible stakeholder means they’re directly responsible for the task. Accountable defines someone who delegates and reviews the work. Consulted means you’ll want this person’s input and feedback on the work being done, and informed are individuals who need to be updated on the progress of the work.

This is useful for assigning the responsibilities of team members on a project. But it can also be used to manage stakeholders. The RACI matrix helps a project manager to figure out which stakeholders need to know what and the frequency by which they should be updated on the progress of the project.

RACI matrix template in ProjectManagerRACI matrix template in ProjectManager

6. PERT Chart

This visual project management tool is great when you’re mapping out tasks and project timelines. PERT is another acronym that stands for project (or program) evaluation and review technique. It provides a graphical view of the project’s tasks, schedule and timelines.

A PERT chart is not a Gantt chart, though similar. Gantt charts are bar graphs while a PERT is freeform. PERT charts are made of nodes, boxes or circles that represent milestones. Connecting arrows show what must be completed between nodes and they represent the duration of each task.

Some Gantt charts don’t show task dependencies, but all PERT charts do. They use directional, concurrent arrows to indicate a series of tasks that must be completed in a specific sequence. Diverging arrows indicate work that can be done in parallel.

7. Workflow Diagram

Workflow diagrams visually show the layout of a process, project or job. This is done as a flow chart. Workflow diagrams are commonly used to show the full business process and information flows, help employees understand their roles and responsibilities, expose redundancies and bottlenecks and avoid risks.

This project management chart can be made with software or drawn manually. Whichever route you take, you’ll get significant value from the workflow diagram. They help with operations and create greater efficiency by streamlining work. They also provide documentation for legal, compliance and audit requirements.

They’re a great tool for clear communication across the organization. Visual tools are often easier to digest no matter which department is looking at them. The workflow diagram is also a way to strengthen security. Workflow diagrams track information securely and make sure your organization is on top of any security gaps.

8. Risk Matrix

Risks can be good and bad, and project managers want to either take advantage of these unexpected opportunities or mitigate the impact of problems on the project. A risk matrix is used in project planning to identify and plan to resolve risks as they arise as issues in a project.

The risk matrix lists risks that could occur based on experience and historical data. The matrix represents the likelihood of the risk appearing in the project and the impact it will have if it does show up. Risks are categorized based on probability and severity.

This tool helps project managers with their risk management on a project. It also communicates the risks that might become issues in the project to the project team and stakeholders. This allows teams to quickly capture these issues and resolve them.

Risk matrix template for Excel in ProjectManagerRisk matrix template for Excel in ProjectManager

9. Milestone Chart

The milestone chart is a visual timeline that helps project managers plan for significant events in their project schedule. Milestones are important events in a project, such as delivering the project plan or the end of one project phase and the beginning of the next one.

Each vertical line of the milestone chart shows one milestone. There’s a description of the milestone on the left-hand side of the milestone and a horizontal time scale that charts the entire project. The milestone chart helps keep your team, stakeholders and customers updated on major project events.

Making milestones in your schedule and tracking them throughout the project is one way to stay on schedule. Sharing the milestone chart communicates the major events in the project and ensures that everyone is aware of them. It’s like having advance notice for big deadlines that must be met.

10. Burndown Chart

In agile project management, a burndown chart is used to visually represent how quickly the project team is going through the customer’s user stories and it shows the description of the features being worked on. These descriptions are from the perspective of the end-user. The burndown chart shows the team’s effort against the full sprint.

The work that’s still to be done is shown on a vertical axis. The time passed from the beginning of the project is shown horizontally. This presents both the past and the future so everyone can see where they are. The burndown chart is updated regularly to make sure it’s accurate.

There are two types of burndown charts: one is used for sprints, or short iterations when their agile team works on user stories, while the other is a product burndown chart. The latter shows the work that remains for the entire project, while the former is only what’s left to accomplish.

ProjectManager vs. Project Management Charts

Project management charts are great visual aids and are helpful tools to set up the procedures for your project, but static documents can only do so much. When you start to plan and execute the project, you need project management software to connect teams and streamline work. ProjectManager is project management software that automatically updates with real-time data to help you better manage your project.

Track Time and Costs with Real-Time Dashboards

With static documents, you have to input the data and manually update your project management charts, but our software does that busywork for you. Real-time dashboards automatically collect live data from the project, crunch the numbers and display the results in project charts. These six project metrics include time, cost, workload and more, all updated in real time to give you an overview of your project whenever you want it. There’s no setup involved, either.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a projectProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Use Kanban Boards for Task Management

Once you’re executing the project, you need a window into the process and a tool that gives your team the autonomy to manage their work. Our kanban boards visualize workflow, allowing project managers to see where their teams are in terms of production and catch any potential roadblocks. Then they can reallocate resources to keep teams working at capacity. Meanwhile, teams can manage their backlog and collaborate when planning sprints.

ProjectManager's Kanban board, an alternative to project management chartsProjectManager's Kanban board, an alternative to project management charts

Unlike project management charts, our software is flexible enough to give you the tools you want to use. Our multiple project views mean managers can plan on Gantt charts, teams can use list views to check off their tasks, stakeholders can view calendars to make sure milestones are met and all views share the same real-time data. There’s one source of truth that keeps everyone working better together, collaborating, sharing files and commenting at the task level.

Related Content

Check out our guides, blogs and templates where you can get in-depth information on more project planning charts and diagrams, so you can use them in all of your projects for better results.

Planning can make or break a project, so you want to have the best tools at your disposal when going through the process. ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you plan, execute, monitor and report on all of your projects. It works seamlessly with the project planning charts described above and has a robust set of project management tools to manage resources, time and cost. See how it can help you plan your project by taking this free 30-day trial today.

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