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.
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.
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.
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.
- Starter: $0 user/month
- Team: $11.50 user/month
- Business: $20.50 user/month
- 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
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.
- Pro plan: $7 user/month
- Business plan: $25 user/month
- 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
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.
- Basic: $8 user/month
- Standard: $10 user/month
- Pro: $16 user/month
- 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
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.
- Professional plan: $9.80 user/month
- Business plan: $24.80 user/month
- 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.
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.
- One pricing plan starts at $20 per user/month billed annually
- 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 Project
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.
- Project Plan 1: $10 user/month
- Project Plan 3: $30 user/month
- Business plan: $55 user/month
- 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.
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.
- Enter your company info to see custom pricing
- 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
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.
- Unlimited: $5 user/month
- Business: $9 user/month
- Business Pro: $19 user/month
- 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
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.
- Personal: Free for three projects and up to 20 users
- Business: $99 flat fee
- 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
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.
- Standard: $5 user/month
- Premium: $10 user/month
- Enterprise: $17.50 user/month
- 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
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.
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.