Free MS Project alternatives

By | March 22, 2009

My brother works as a service engineer in a company involved in electrification projects.  He has seen a company using project management software handling the projects and wanted to do the same in his company.  So, we spent time on searching free alternatives to MS Project and found these interesting alternatives, which have the same functionality as MS Project.

What is MS Project?

MS Project or any Project Management Software will help the project managers to create plans, assign resources to tasks, track the progress of the work, and manage budges and workloads.  The following is the description taken from Wikipedia:

Project creates budgets based on assignment work and resource rates. As resources are assigned to tasks and assignment work estimated, the program calculates the cost equals the work times the rate, which rolls up to the task level and then to any summary tasks and finally to the project level. Resource definitions (people, equipment and materials) can be shared between projects using a shared resource pool. Each resource can have its own calendar, which defines what days and shifts a resource is available. Resource rates are used to calculate resource assignment costs which are rolled up and summarized at the resource level. Each resource can be assigned to multiple tasks in multiple plans and each task can be assigned multiple resources, and the application schedules task work based on the resource availability as defined in the resource calendars. All resources can be defined in an enterprise-wide resource pool.”

Below are the three alternatives I found.

OpenProj OpenProj: OpenProj is a free open-source project management solution.  This is the first one I found and even I read some blog posts stating that small companies are using this software successfully as an alternative to MS Project.  OpenProj is available in Windows, Mac, and Linux versions.  Site also says that OpenProj has been translated into French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Galician, Persian, Russian, Korean and Chinese.  Even, my brother selected this for his projects.  It is just 6 MB approximately.

OpenProj Chart

Open WorkbenchOpen Workbench: It is also an open source free software available for only Windows.  Site states that one lakh project managers are successfully using it in their project managements and it is powerful alternative to Microsoft Project.  Download count on their homepage also showing nearly 2,000,000 downloads.

Open Workbench Chart

kplatoKPlato: It is a Linux alternative for MS Project available as a component in KOffice.  It only works on Linux distributions.  It is still in development and bugs persist.  It takes some time for it to evolve into fully functional project management software.

KPlato Chart

11 thoughts on “Free MS Project alternatives

  1. Cynthia Siemens

    It’s amazing what you can get for just slightly more than free, though. You can sign up for Project Insight on a monthly basis for a really low fee based on your team size and get MS Outlook integration, resource allocation, great reports, to-do reminders, etc. It’s great stuff and worth a look, even if you think free is the way to go.

  2. Daria

    Free tools a cool, but they might not guarantee your projects maximum security. Tools like Wrike are not free, but they are affordable and keep your project info safe. Have you checked those out? Besides that Wrike integrates with your email client and lets you create tasks and upload files via email messages. We’d be happy to hear your feedback on the solution.

    1. Naveen Post author

      but they might not guarantee your projects maximum security

      What the security threat involved in using these software to manage the projects? I am unable to standard. Keeping our data into an unknown company’s server is more dangerous than keeping it on our system. Have seen “n” number companies evolving like mushrooms and disappearing in few days or weeks. Now, the situation is like that we can rely on the websites/services managed by giants in the Industry. Here in India, non-IT-related companies use little or no Internet where using an online collaborative application is not at all a good option.

      Anyway, I came to know that there is alternative to OpenProj’s hosted version of Project Management Sofware 🙂

  3. Nadia

    I would recommend DeskAway. It has a free plan which allows 3 projects and 5 users. It does not expire.
    I think it is a great option for PM!
    I used that when I started out with my graphic design freelancing, then upgraded for $10 a month 🙂

  4. Piter

    If you need a tool to manage your software development projects,
    I can reccommend
    It includes complete set of features for web-based creation, editing, viewing, discussing, versioning, secured sharing and publishing of project plans.

    It’s free!

    1. Naveen Post author

      This post is about the free alternative to MS Project. If you want to learn how to prepare projects in MS Project, just google the words “MS Project Tutorials” and you will find number of pages with tutorials to learn.

  5. Tiberiu Ghioca

    Although not free RationalPlan is the closest alternative for MS Project:


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