Which Gantt chart software has data import

Project Management Software: The Best Tools Comparing 2021

What is the best free and commercial project management software in 2021?

This in-depth comparison of the best Project management software gives an up-to-date overview of all free and the main commercial Project management tools. Here is my alphabetical list of the best Project manager software:

  1. Allegra - “hidden champion” for task and project management
  2. Asana - proven solution for task management
  3. Jira - widely used in software development
  4. MS Project - extensive functionality, complicated
  5. monday.com - best marketing
  6. OpenProject - best open source solution with restrictions
  7. ProjeQtOr - somewhat outdated open source solution
  8. Redmine - best “real” open source solution
  9. Trello - for easy task management
  10. Wrike - proven, extensive project management
  11. ZenTao - open source solution with restrictions

in the Open source-I have the range exactly 4 offers found that I consider useful. The rest do not meet the criteria listed below.

In the commercial sector, I looked at around 100 offers, checked 23 more closely, and of them the 7 best solutions selected. Let me know if statements are incorrect or if I have overlooked something important.

In the presentations I not only tried to make it clear which functions the tools offer, but above all what they do not afford. I by no means want to say one Project management tool in a bad light, but rather let it be seen quickly whether it fits or not.

On premises and cloud

For many companies it is important to have one Project Management Tool can also be operated within your own company network (“on premises”). The following project management software solutions support on premises-Business:

For all project management solutions there are offers directly from the manufacturer or via third-party providers for operation in a cloud.

Project management vs. task management

An important difference between a simple task management software and a Project management software is the ability to depict hierarchical structures over a timeline. Gantt charts are particularly suitable for this. The following products support such work breakdown structures and offer interactive Gantt chart displays:

Agile project management

Agile and hybrid forms of project management are establishing themselves in many companies, mostly using the Scrum and / or Kanban method. To support these process models, a simple task board is not enough, but concepts such as user stories, epics, sprints, etc. must be stored. The following project management software products support agile project management with more than just one task board:

In the presentations I not only tried to make it clear which functions the tools offer, but above all what they do not afford. I by no means want to say one Project management tool in a bad light, but rather let it be seen quickly whether it fits or not. I tested the following tools:

1. Allegra

Project management software with many methods

The project management software Allegra von Steinbeis can be appropriately described as a combination of Jira and Wrike describe. Allegra supports pretty extensively agile, classic and hybridProject management-Models. Tried and tested methods such as the Eisenhower principle, Earned Value, Getting Things Done and RACI matrix used to ensure clarity even in large projects.

Modern, mature, complete, but little known

Allegra supports practically all the important performance features for team-based task management software and project management software. You can use it to create a project plan, for example. The user interface is tidy and modern. The configurability is a bit intimidating at the beginning, but after a short period it turns out to be logical and well thought-out. The Gantt chart that Resource view and the graphical workflow editor are all interactive.

Comprehensive role and authorization system

The role and authorization system makes a well thought-out impression and is based on the RACI matrix principle. Access authorizations can be set down to individual fields. All important methods such as earned value, milestone trend, Eisenhower principle and Getting things done are supported. Operations can be carried out practically anywhere by dragging and dropping.

Allegra supports the common database systems and runs on all common operating systems. It is written in Java and JavaScript, has been on the market for over ten years and is used by around 10,000 users.

Servers are in Germany

AllegraCloud is operated on servers located in Frankfurt a.M., Berlin and Karlsruhe. Allegra Cloud is fully GDPR compliant. There is a personally approachable support that provides support via e-mail, telephone and web conference.

2. Asana project manager software

Easy for the layman - too easy for some experts

Asanais a widely used cloud-based one Project Management Toolto manage projects. An attractive user interface with lots of instructions and information makes getting started relatively easy. You cannot work productively with the free version for one user; it is just a bait offer. The minimum usable user contingent serves up to 5 users and costs around 350 € per year.

Templates, lists and boards

When creating a project, one starts with a project template. There are quite a few ready-made and you can also create your own. At the center of the tool are projects in which tasks are managed. There is only one type of task per project, so you cannot define any risks or open points, for example.

The tasks can be displayed in list views or on boards. The project management software monday.com offers a timeline view similar to a Gantt chart as well as a calendar view. You can create your own input forms.

Good solution with a few loopholes

It is evident that the concept of the Project management tools of Asana offers a completely sufficient functionality for many users. However, you should pay attention to the following points when you are with Asana want to start. Asana fits if

  • You don't need a work breakdown structure, i.e. hierarchically arranged tasks. Sub-tasks can only be created one level deep
  • You don't need any sub-projects, they don't exist
  • You don't need read-only and invisible task attributes
  • You can treat tasks, risks, open points, milestones, etc. in the same way
  • You don't need tables in the task descriptions
  • You can do without methods like RACI or earned value
  • You do not need a comparison of an actual state of a project to a target state

Server location in the US and Europe

The project management software Asana runs in the cloud. In the enterprise license model, there is the option of storing data on European servers. Asana can therefore comply with European data protection guidelines.

3rd Jira

Very good issue tracker and scrum tool

Jira is an issue tracker optimized for software development and a popular Scrum tool. Jira is largely configurable and offers many interfaces to other tools useful for software development such as wikis, source code repositories and continuous integration systems. It supports simple workflows and can be extended through a number of APIs.

Perfect for agile project management

Jira sets the standard for an agile in terms of functionality and usability Project management software for software development. The standard work processes such as creating and processing sprints are optimized. The user interface is functional, friendly and tidy. All the necessary views such as configurable task boards and lists are there. The different process types such as epics, user stories and tasks are also treated differently.

Classic project management not supported

Jira supported no project hierarchies and only one level of sub-tasks. This means that you cannot map a work breakdown structure or a work breakdown structure. There are also missing views for scheduling (no Gantt) and for resource planning. There is no concept of “project types” e.g. for hardware and software sub-projects in an embedded system. In some cases, there are offers from other manufacturers who try to supplement missing functionality with plug-ins.

Cloud and on premises possible

Jira is offered both as a cloud solution and as an on-premises solution. The provider does not commit itself to the server location and only promises to support its customers in being GDPR compliant.

Jira is based on Java and JavaScript technology and supports all important database systems. Installation is relatively easy on both Windows servers and Linux servers.

4. Monday

The solution with the best marketing

"I want to hug the people who made this up," says Monday about Monday. Monday also says about Mondaythat it offers a similar range of functions as Wrike. Monday also makes other promising statements. So I have mine Monday looked at without having smoked anything beforehand.

Nice (and) colorful

The user interface of Monday is clearly laid out and makes extensive use of bright colors. Instead of boring lists, there are many colorful tiles with symbols. Everything is generously dimensioned. For those who like things colorful, there is little better.

Where are the projects?

A Project management software without projects? Is the? The answer is: no! Monday organizes all tasks in “Views”, on which “Boards” are located. A number of board types are made available, such as a calendar view or a timeline. The columns of the boards can be configured in the table view. There are also templates for the boards. Does it all look a bit like Trello, surely they won't have copied there?

It never gets complex with Monday

With the simple approach of Monday becomes Project management never complex. The reason: The software simply does not support the processing of more complex tasks. Here is an excerpt from what doesn't work:

  • Boards only, none Projects or Sub-projects. From around 30 tasks per board, the overview suffers noticeably
  • No task hierarchy, so no work breakdown structure possible
  • Very simple access protection to either an entire line on the board, all content or read only
  • The possibilities for creating input forms are very limited ("We are on it ...")
  • The whole layout and design is overwhelming for projects with more than 5 people and a few hundred tasks

Toy or tool?

Everyone can only answer this question for themselves. Monday offers something of both, you can play with it and you can also work on manageable tasks with it. In advertising it will Monday depicted as an aircraft carrier; I had the impression that I had been on a coastal boat. Hats off to marketing!

Servers are in the USA

Monday is only offered as a cloud solution and operated on Amazon Web Services servers located in North Virginia in the USA. Monday ensures compliance with the relevant data protection standards, but is not GDPR-compliant.

5. MS Project project manager software

A tool for the project planner

MS Project is known to many as desktop software and has a bad rap. Above all, this is based on the fact that handling such a powerful tool requires in-depth knowledge of project management and the associated terminology. In addition, the extensive functionality of the software is presented to the user almost unfiltered and complete, which even experienced project managers find exhausting.

The desktop version of MS Project Project manager software is unsuitable for modern, team-based, collaborative project management. However, an MS Project Server is also offered, and for this, in turn, a web interface.

MS Project Server: Too complex for the team

In order to be able to involve the whole team in project management, project management software must be able to offer role-based, reduced views of the functionality. To do this, the software must also be able to access important Project management to support retroactive process elements (e.g. issue tracking, requirements management, continuous integration).

Unfortunately, this is exactly what MS Project does not offer. Even in the web version, the solution remains a tool for the project planner who has to try to adapt the plan to the harsh reality again and again through meetings and queries.

Installation and support

MS Project comes from the manufacturer without personally approachable support. The user can access a help center and help himself there with the help of search queries.

The installation of the Project management tools can only be carried out on Windows servers and requires in-depth system administrator knowledge. The software must be configured after installation in order to adapt it to your own processes.

6. OpenProject

The best open source project management software

If you're looking for free project management software, this is it OpenProjectpretty high on the list in terms of quality and scope. The project is one of the best solutions I've found. It has split off from the Redmine project and is being further developed independently of it. It offers a clear, tidy and modern interface.

Large range of functions

OpenProject works well for projects that have to do with software development. The system is fully configurable. Like Redmine, it offers so-called “modules” that can be activated on a project-by-project basis. Such modules exist with functions for tickets (issue tracking), time recording, news, documents, files, wiki, repository, forums, calendar and an interactive Gantt view.

Project and task hierarchies

OpenProject makes it possible to create project hierarchies and process hierarchies of any depth. Processes can be linked to one another, e.g. through predecessor-successor relationships. Expenses can be booked in a categorized manner.

No support for agile methods

To find out what OpenProject does not offer, I looked at the list of functions of the paid Enterprise version. It quickly becomes clear that it is in the free variant no agile board for scrum and Kanban there. Also lack of support For Single sign-on, Attribute highlighting, Full text search in attachments, a useful one Workflow system and unfortunately also such a rudimentary function as a Multi-Select-Custom Field. I've also no way found that Input forms free to design.

Good for classic PM and issue tracking

The free version is therefore particularly suitable for classic project management, task management and as an issue tracking tool in which no workflows are required and the number of attributes for tasks remains manageable.

OpenProject is supported by a company in Berlin and further developed together with an active developer community. The project has about 3100 stars on Github.

Installation and technology

The free Project management softwareOpenProject is written in Ruby on Rails and supports the Postgresql database system. I installed my test system on a Linux server, which was relatively easy with a Docker container. Installation on Windows servers is possible, but demanding.

Here you can download it for OpenProject.

7. ProjeQtOr

Versatile project management tool

ProjeQtOr is a very comprehensive software for general project management. The product covers many process areas, including Project planning, Resource management, Incident management, Requirements management and Test management.

When I had installed the project manager software and logged in, I was confronted with a wealth of controls and functions. Behind the preset configuration lies a certain development process that you first have to adapt to your own. The preset configuration is suitable for a system house that carries out software development projects for external customers.

Input masks and fields cannot be configured

If certain functions are not required, they cannot always be removed from the user interface. Also can no fields of their own and Input masks To be defined. If your own process fits the one shown in this project management tool, you should ProjeQtOr take a closer look. The installation and initial start-up on a Linux server takes about an hour.

Very complex user interface

Unfortunately, the many functions mean that the user interface very complex appears. The Gantt display available is not really interactive. The few Context menus and low drag and drop-Functionality make working with this project manager software difficult. The tool's workflow editor is tabular and not graphical. For agileProject management there is little support.

Installation and technology

It is not apparent that ProjeQtOr is supported directly by a company. Commercial support is available via a contact form on the website. The Sourceforge administrators are based near Toulouse in France. The project has been relatively constant since 2010.

ProjeQtOr is written in PHP and JavaScript and has about 400 downloads per week on Sourceforge.

Here you can download it for ProjeQtOr.

8. Redmine

Well-engineered, extensive project management tool

Honor where honor is due. Redmine has been serving the “free project management software” category since 2006. Redmine is a project management tool especially for software projects. The project manager software is very configurable. It offers so-called “modules” for tickets (issue tracking), time recording, news, documents, files, wiki, repository, forums, calendar and a non-interactive Gantt view.

So-called “trackers” can be set up in order to be able to deal with processes of different types separately from one another. Customer-specific fields can be created for projects, tasks, time entries and users. There are integrations with SVN and Git. Tasks can also be created by email.

Project and task hierarchies

Redmine supports project planning with project hierarchies and process hierarchies of any depth. Tasks can be linked to one another, e.g. through predecessor-successor relationships. There are simple, tabular workflows. Expenses can be booked in a categorized manner.

A couple of shortcomings

Redmine is a mature, high quality and configurable system suitable for different types of teams. If you look for deficits, you can no longer contemporary design the user interface, the Lack of drag and drop functionality, the rudimentary Gantt chart, missing Configuration option for Input forms and the only rudimentary workflow support lead into the field.

The most serious point, however, is likely to be the lack of support for agile methods be in the core system. If a team needs support for Scrum or Kanban, it can sometimes make do with plug-ins.

Installation and technology

The Redmine Project currently has a team of two active developers plus a large user community. The project manager software Redmine is based on the Ruby on Rails framework and supports a whole range of database systems. Due to the technology used, installation on Unix systems is easy, but it is a challenge on Windows systems. The project has about 3400 stars on Github.

Download for Redmine.

9. Trello

Well done task board but not a project management tool

Trellos simple and clear view is user friendly. The Kanban Board view can be created as a workflow or as a kind of “sticky note”. The simplicity of Trello is of course also due to the fact that no diversity of views available is.

A project or workflow can only be organized in the form of boards. Helpful views like a Gantt chart, one To do list or a Project structure tree absence. For those who want to visualize projects and thus create quick and intuitive access to complex project content, a pure Kanban board view is not enough.

Conditional data protection

Trello has - how Asana - one US server location, what a missing BDSG (new) conformity has the consequence. Anyone who values ​​data security and the protection of personal data must make a “compromise” at this point. His company data are stored in locations outside of Europe.

Online help, but no personal customer service

Users who would like to take advantage of personal service will be with Trello not found. However, there will be alternatives - such as YouTube tutorials and static texts - offered on the homepage. Although these do not replace personal contact persons, they give the user initial answers.

Not a tool for complex projects

Who his way of working with Trello would like to digitize professionally quickly reaches its limits. The very simple functions mean that complex projects and work processes can no longer be mapped. The comparison between Trello and Allegra provides more information on the features of Trello and also takes up the topic of “practical background”.

For one completely agile way of working Trello a very good solution. If you come from a more traditional environment, you will certainly be better off with a hybrid of classic and agile. Because a Gantt chart, a cross-project view, time recording & controlling and a few other features are available at Trello not found.

10. Wrike

Cloud solution with a wide range of functions

Wrike offers its project management software of the same name under different tariff models in which different amounts of functionality are offered. I tested the enterprise version because the free offers and the professional offer are functionally too limited.

Folders, projects and tasks

Wrike works with the terms “folder”, “projects” and “tasks”. Tasks can be nested as required. Projects and folders can also be structured hierarchically and combined in “Spaces”. Tasks can be provided with their own fields. It takes some time to get used to this modeling; after that it seems plausible.

All important views are there

Wrike offers a list view, a Kanban board view, a Gantt view, a calendar view and a table view of the tasks. A particular strength of Wrike is its workflow module. This can be used to automate a number of tasks.

No support for Scrum

For agile project management Wrike a kanban board. Unfortunately, there is no real support for Scrum; the concept of backlogs, epics, user stories and sprints is missing. This means that the software is mainly suitable for classic project management, but not for agile or hybrid project management.

GDPR compliant

The Californian provider operates European servers in Amsterdam and hosts the user data in the European economic area. Wrike is GDPR compliant. If you do not need agile project management and can cope with the prices, you will find in Wrike a mature, functionally rich solution for simple workflow management and classic project management.

11. ZenTao

Very nice for agile software projects

ZenTao is a project management software that is mainly suitable for teams that develop software in an agile manner. The free tool is particularly popular in China, where it is also being developed.

The user interface of the project manager software is clean and modern. The open source edition is functionally restricted, but offers teams all important performance features for all tasks in a Scrum development process. If you need Gantt charts, Excel import, integration with SVN / Git or your own report templates, you have to switch to a paid version. There is a Chinese and an English online help.

ZenTao does not support effort-based assignment and billing of processes; there is no support for accounts and cost centers.

Classic PM is only possible to a limited extent

The open source version of this project manager software has nocustomizableFields and Input masks. The roles cannot be assigned to a specific project, but always firmly assigned to a user. The authorizations are not configurable. The transaction types are fixed, you cannot create your own.

ZenTao allows to define repetitive tasks. There are no support for a task hierarchy; however, tasks can have child tasks. Projects cannot be divided hierarchically into sub-projects.

Installation and technology

ZenTao is an interesting solution if you are sure that the process depicted in the tool fits your own. The project management tool is written in PHP and JavaScript and has about 600 downloads per week on Sourceforge.

Which project management tools have I excluded?

Most of the offers on Github and Sourceforge to get project management software for free are out of the question for serious use. I used the following criteria to compile a list of the best deals:

  • The software has been updated within the last 12 months
  • The software has been around for more than 3 years
  • It can be seen who is supporting the further development of the software
  • It works as an on-premises solution Project management tool on Windows and Linux
  • In the open source area, the software can be used without any chargeable extensions
  • The software is web-based and can be used without browser plug-ins or special servers

The best project management software: a conclusion

It's amazing at first that we haven't found more than 4 usable open source products that are seriously considered to be Project management tool can be used. With the exception of two, all others offer chargeable extensions that turn the tools into complete solutions. It is also interesting that two tools emerged from the same code base.

The many (over 300) other solutions for Project manager software are either no longer maintained (e.g. dotProject,] ProjectOpen [, LibrePlan), can only be used for desktop use (e.g. ProjectLibre), are pseudo-free offers or are only suitable for very limited application scenarios. There are a number of free desktop tools that are not suitable for teams.

There is a wide range of solutions available in the commercial field, and here are a few of what I think are the best (if only the best in marketing). A few other interesting solutions are briefly mentioned here.

Master task

Meistertask is essentially a task management system and does not claim to be a complete project management tool.


Freedcamp is an interesting software for general useTask management andProject management in teams. Freedcamp attracts with a free entry-level variant, but only for the very simpleTask management good is. A realProject management software becomes Freedcamp only with the paid business and enterprise versions.


Of the simpleTask management to simpleProject management you can cover a lot with Clickup. With an interesting hierarchy concept fromWorkspacesSpaces andFolders can the system with thestructuring score points from projects, even if there is no real support for WBS and project structure. ClickUp is also one of the few project management tools that supports the Getting Things Done method.


Bitrix24 is a multifunctional web-based collaboration platform for communication, CRM, and support as wellTask management andProject management. The strength of Bitrix24 lies in its CRM module.


awork is simple software for general useTask management in teams. With awork, tasks can be structured, assigned and tracked. awork has functions for simple project management, but is not a real oneProject management tool.

Please use the comment function to draw my attention to errors or important products that are missing from the list.

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