Project scheduling can get tricky. As you manage competing deadlines and changing priorities, it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle.

To plan new projects and get them on the schedule, you need to see how everything fits together. If you don’t know the details about how your team uses their time, you don’t know what to move to make room for a new task.

But your strategy and planning is worthless if your team doesn’t know about it.

Each year, businesses lose millions because of poor communication. For small businesses, those losses add up to about $420,000 annually. Big companies with over 100,000 employees lose over $62 million because of their communication issues.

As deadlines shift and new work gets added to the to-do list, everyone on your team should know what they need to do. It’s frustrating for everyone when you find out you’ve been working on opposite priorities.

Thankfully, modern project scheduling software makes planning, scheduling, and communicating much easier.

Maybe you’re looking at project scheduling tools for the first time. Perhaps you have a tool that you’re ready to upgrade. Either way, this article can help.

Let’s go over:

  • Why project scheduling software is important
  • How to choose the right solution for your team
  • Our picks for the 11 best project scheduling software solutions in 2021

Already know what you’re looking for? Skip ahead to the number 1 project scheduling software.

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Benefits of project scheduling software

Project management software saves the average employee 498 hours per year.

Before you add any new software to your toolkit, decide if it’s worthwhile.

  • Does it save enough time that you can focus on more profitable work?
  • Does it allow your team to do their jobs more effectively?
  • Are the onboarding and training requirements reasonable compared to the benefits?

Project management software meets these criteria for most teams and companies.

Used wisely, it saves time and boosts productivity for you and your team. It’s easy to learn and you can onboard a small team in just a few days.

Here are some of the things you should expect when you use a good tool:

Meet deadlines consistently

47% of companies that use project management software say that it makes their project cost estimates more accurate.

When you have real data showing how long things take, your project estimates are more realistic. Deadlines are more achievable from the start.

If things get off track, you’ll spot the problem much sooner. You can offer help or adjust expectations before the team misses any important milestones.

Improve team collaboration

Email is outdated. It contributes to burnout, too — 83% of employees say they feel more burnt out because of their email volume.

It’s hard to organize and quickly gets out of control. Chat platforms like Slack have the same weakness.

That’s where your project scheduling software comes in. Your team can share files, work together on living documents, comment on tasks, and share status updates right from the software.

It doesn’t take any extra effort to stay organized because all of those conversations and updates are attached to the task. It’s easier for your team to work together.

Allocate resources more effectively

With the right tool, you have the data you need to answer questions like these:

  • Who has room for more projects or tasks?
  • Who is overloaded and at risk of burnout?
  • Which teams are ready for new projects?
  • Based on available resources, which new projects should you pursue?
  • Which tasks should be reassigned to keep projects moving?

The information is at your fingertips. Looking at the software is the most accurate way to find the best use of time and resources.

Delegate tasks more easily

How many times have you asked someone to lead a project, then realized a few weeks later that they never got started?

If you assign tasks from a centralized tool, that won’t happen anymore.

Each task includes details like the due date, the priority, and links to any related projects. This helps you clarify your expectations and communicate them clearly.

Stay on top of project budgets

Imagine your team just finished a difficult client project.

You’re relieved to finally be able to deliver — you desperately need to get paid. But when the payment comes in, you realize that you spent more to get the job done on time than you charged for the project. Instead of making a profit, this job cost you money.

Budget overruns can be devastating, especially for bootstrapped startups. You can’t afford to find out that you’re over budget when it’s too late to do anything about it.

Project planning software helps you stay on top of this in multiple ways:

  • You have better data to create more accurate project estimates from the start
  • You can track project expenses in real time
  • You can see a running total of hours worked by task or by project

Spot budget issues while you still have time to do something about it.

How to choose project scheduling software

To choose the best option for your team, consider each of these categories. They should all fit your unique needs.

Features

Separate features into two categories: must-haves and nice-to-haves. List out the features you need in both categories. Build your must-have list by considering your current process and the problems you need to solve.

You don’t have to be ultra-specific. For example, if you need to fix poor communication issues, you might include must-haves like these:

  • Clear due dates
  • Some kind of document storage
  • Easy communication organized by task

If you’re not sure what you need, look at the feature pages for a few of the programs on this list for ideas. That will give you a better idea of what kind of features are normally available.

Cost

A lot of good tools offer a feature-light free version. That’s an attractive price tag, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

However, remember that free tools are meant to be a starting point. You might struggle to get results when you don’t have a professional-level tool.

The wisest choice is to figure out how much a good solution would be worth to your business. If it saves hours, improves efficiency, and generates better results, you can put a dollar value on that.

Talk to your team about how much time they spend finding the right documents or tracking down what has already happened in a project. If you got all that time back, how much would it be worth?

For example, assume you have a team of 20 people. You expect that this software will save each of those people about 30 minutes each week. Over a month, that’s 2 hours saved per person, which means you’re getting about 40 more productive work hours each month. If your average hourly rate is $20 per hour, that means your software is worth roughly $800 per month.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should budget $800 per month. It’s just a benchmark to help you determine if your investment is likely to pay off.

As you evaluate your choices, consider whether you’ll get the value you need to generate the return you expect. Choosing a cheaper option might actually cost more money as your team wastes time trying to work around its limitations.

Customization

There’s no point in changing the way you work just to start using a new software solution.

You should be able to customize and adapt your scheduling tool to fit into your workflow.

Consider your business plans for the next 5 years. Do you expect your team to grow? Will you need more features to support a new line of business?

The right software works for your current needs and has the ability to grow with your business.

Ease of use

If you choose a solution your team members find difficult to use, you’ll need to spend time to train them on how to use it. Keep this in mind when choosing your project scheduling tool.

Sometimes, you really do need an enterprise-level tool with layers of complexity. If that’s the case for your business, make sure that you choose a tool that includes the complete onboarding experience for your team.

Most companies are better off with a simpler solution. Consider your most technologically challenged team members when you pick a new tool.

The 11 best project scheduling tools for 2021

With your must-have list in mind, here are the best tools you should consider.

1. Hubstaff Tasks

Hubstaff Tasks

Hubstaff Tasks is simple enough for your whole team to use without a difficult onboarding phase. It’s also powerful enough to organize your whole business.

Scheduling projects is easy and efficient because Hubstaff Tasks does a lot of the tedious work for you. You can focus on more important things while the software takes care of the basics.

Automated workflows handle task delegation for every project and team. Work moves to the next step with just one click. It automatically appears on the right person’s to-do list so nothing falls through the cracks.

Your team will appreciate the automated standups, too. Instead of eating up time every day for check-in meetings, each team member submits their update at the end of their day. It only takes a couple of minutes for everyone to stay in the loop.

The time tracking features are helpful to both you and your team members.

By tracking time by task, you create a log that shows how work hours are used. That information shows how long certain types of tasks take and give each team member an unbiased way to prove what they accomplished.

You can use that time tracking information to estimate project timelines more accurately. It’s also a valuable tool to help you keep each person’s workload realistic.

In fact, time tracking is the second most requested feature for project management software.

With multiple ways to view projects and a powerful reporting tool, you always know what’s going on in your team. For example, the timeline view shows you the progress of a specific project, and the sprint view tells you exactly what your team will work on this week.

The total visibility you get from Hubstaff Tasks enables you to make smarter business decisions.

Use that information to adjust priorities as needed. When you update the task or project, that update is automatically shared with the appropriate team members.

Hubstaff Tasks makes it easier for everyone on your team to get work done.

Organizing work into sprints means everyone works on the right tasks at the right times. If you need to shift your focus, simply update the sprint as needed.

hubstaff tasks sprint closeup view

On top of project scheduling, Hubstaff Tasks can help you do all of these things:

  • Improve your team’s communication
  • Manage project budgets
  • Maximize your entire team’s productivity

Pricing

Hubstaff Tasks is free for up to five users. Take as long as you want to get started and test it out for free.

When you’re ready to add more users or projects, the paid plan is just $5 per user per month.

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2. Airtable

Airtable

Are you a fan of spreadsheets and databases? You’ll probably like the Airtable interface.

You can use it for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Project planning and scheduling
  • Customer relationship management
  • Task management
  • Inventory management

In Airtable, projects are called bases. Each base can consist of multiple tables.

You can add more functionality to a base through blocks. These are plug-ins that enable you to use:

  • Time tracking
  • Translation
  • Maps and geocodes
  • SMS notifications

Airtable supports a number of different project views, including:

  • Calendar view
  • Gallery view
  • Kanban view

Users can easily switch between different views to find the one that works best for their needs.

There’s also a shared team calendar you can use to see team members’ tasks at a glance.

Airtable is available on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.

Pros:

  • A multitude of project views
  • The free plan will be enough for most users
  • Highly customizable

Cons:

  • Comments are the only option for team communication
  • Phone support only available to Enterprise users
  • Doesn’t support subtasks, subcategories, or task dependencies

Pricing

Airtable has a free plan that’s limited to 1,200 records per base. Paid plans include:

  • Plus ($12/user/month)
  • Pro ($24/user/month)
  • Enterprise (custom pricing)

3. ProjectManager.com

ProjectManager.com

ProjectManager.com was launched in 2008 and has been redesigned a few times since then. If you used to use it a few years ago, it’s worth checking it out again to see what’s new.

It has all the usual project scheduling features like Gantt charts and kanban cards. Standout features include customizable project dashboards and custom project reports.

It supports task dependencies, as well. This is important for teams that have extremely structured workflows.

There’s also a feature that allows you to add audio notes to tasks. This can be useful for sharing quick updates with team members. Often, it’s easier for people to explain their thoughts verbally instead of typing it out.

You can also use ProjectManager.com to track time and manage timesheets.

Pros:

  • Plenty of customer support options
  • Easy to use
  • Rich reporting features

Cons:

  • Credit card needed to start the free trial
  • Small file size limits make document sharing more difficult
  • Reports take a long time to generate

Pricing

ProjectManager.com offers a free 30-day trial you can use to test out the software. Plans include:

  • Personal ($15/user/month)
  • Team ($20/user/month)
  • Business ($25/user/month)

4. Monday.com

Monday.com@2x

Roy Man and Eran Zinman founded Dapulse in 2012. A few years later, Dapulse became Monday.com.

One of its standout features are customizable project boards. You can modify each board to better suit the needs of different teams and job functions. Like most project scheduling software, you can start with a workflow template to make this easier.

You can organize project boards into folders. It’s even possible to share boards with people outside of your organization.

There are plenty of board views in Monday.com. These include:

  • Table view
  • Calendar view
  • Map view
  • Kanban view
  • Chart view
  • Timeline view

The tool supports workflow automation and comes with pre-configured automations. You can use Monday.com to automate notifications, status changes, and repetitive tasks.

It’s also possible to set up custom automations.

Pros:

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Great customer support
  • The company puts a great emphasis on keeping users’ data secure

Cons:

  • No team chat
  • Limited reporting features
  • Limited support for task dependencies

Pricing

Monday.com’s plans include:

  • Basic ($10/user/month)
  • Standard ($12/user/month)
  • Pro ($20/user/month)
  • Enterprise (custom pricing)

5. Asana

Asana

Asana simplifies workload management by helping managers redistribute work using a drag-and-drop interface.

Like most good project management software, it supports Gantt charts, subtasks, and task dependencies.

Asana provides project managers with an easy way to manage team workload. You can use it to see what tasks team members are working on and gauge their capacity.

One cool feature allows you to mark tasks with an estimate of how much work they take. This allows you to manage workloads at a glance. You can immediately tell who has room for another task and who might have too much on their plate.

Asana comes with built-in templates for a variety of different projects, including:

  • Employee onboarding
  • Event planning
  • Product launches

It’s a popular software because the free version has a lot of great features. However, it’s a little difficult to use if you don’t have any project management experience.

Pros:

  • Feature-rich free version
  • A large number of integrations
  • Keyboard shortcuts speed up workflow

Cons:

  • Initial setup can be difficult
  • Lack of advanced reporting capabilities

Pricing

Asana has a free plan that’s limited to 15 users. Paid plans include:

  • Premium ($13.49/user/month)
  • Business ($24.99/user/month)
  • Enterprise (custom pricing)

6. Hive

Hive

Hive calls itself a productivity platform. However, its main features center on project scheduling and management.

It supports:

  • Multiple project views
  • Proofing and approval workflows
  • Workflow automation

Its main standout feature is called Hive Analytics. It uses machine learning to identify inefficiencies in your workflow. Then, it suggests changes you can implement to boost productivity.

You can also get real-time notifications that alert you about drops in team productivity.

Pros:

  • Advanced productivity analytics
  • Plenty of integrations

Cons:

  • No free plan
  • Limited mobile app functionality
  • Advanced features only available as paid add-ons

Pricing

Hive has two plans:

  • Basic ($16/user/month)
  • Enterprise (custom pricing)

The basic package can be expanded using the following add-ons:

  • Proofing and approvals ($4/user/month)
  • Resourcing ($4/user/month)
  • Timesheets ($4/user/month)
  • External users ($4/user/month)
  • Enterprise security ($4/user/month)
  • Analytics ($6/user/month)

7. Hub Planner

Hub Planner

Hub Planner allows managers to schedule projects and resources using a drag-and-drop interface. You can use it to utilize resources more effectively and avoid scheduling conflicts.

Team members can request vacation days through the app and see how much vacation time they have left. A manager can then approve or reject their request directly from the software.

You can also use Hub Planner to generate dynamic reports. It comes with lots of report templates to get you up and running quickly.

Hub Planner supports time tracking and automated timesheets. Time tracking is also available through the platform’s mobile app.

The solution also allows you to create custom fields for projects and resources. This enables you to adapt Hub Planner to your workflow.

Pros:

  • Generous 60-day trial period
  • Dynamic reports

Cons:

  • Formatting issues with exported reports
  • Somewhat outdated user interface

Pricing

Hub Planner offers a free 60-day trial. Paid plans include:

  • Plug & Play ($7/user/month)
  • Premium ($18/user/month)
  • Enterprise (custom pricing)

8. Paymo

Paymo

Paymo is a Romania-based resource management and time tracking solution.

You can use it to plan your team’s work and see everyone’s availability at a glance.

Paymo’s standout planning and scheduling features include:

  • Project templates
  • Milestones
  • Gantt charts

It supports automated time tracking and has both desktop and mobile apps. Use those time tracking insights to make informed decisions about new projects based on the way your team works.

You can also use Paymo to track expenses, create invoices, and accept online payments. It’s a good choice for people who do client work. You can gather data, make decisions, and manage your team and your clients all in one place.

It’s available in 20 different languages, which is a huge advantage for international teams. Each team member can interact with the software in their native language.

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface
  • Integrated invoicing and billing
  • Plenty of reporting options

Cons:

  • Fairly limited free plan
  • The interface isn’t as intuitive as some other tools
  • Invoicing features aren’t very flexible, so some teams may not be able to use this section of the software

Pricing

Paymo offers a free version for freelancers. Paid plans include:

  • Small Office ($11.95/user/month)
  • Business ($18.95/user/month)

9. FunctionFox

FunctionFox

FunctionFox’s homepage states that it’s “the leading choice for creative professionals.”

Though it focuses on creative work, all types of teams can use this solution.

It supports interactive Gantt charts and project calendar view. You can also use FunctionFox to see your team members’ availability. That’s a great feature if you struggle to manage your team’s workload effectively.

Other features include:

  • To-do lists with email alerts
  • Project expense tracking
  • Time tracking

FunctionFox offers 3 versions: Classic, Premier, and In-House. The Premier version is the best choice if you need a great tool to help with project scheduling.

Pros:

  • Highly customizable
  • Automated project budget alerts
  • Great customer support

Cons:

  • No support for subtasks or task dependencies
  • Lacks integrations
  • There’s no built-in accounting function which makes it harder to manage project budgets

Pricing

FunctionFox’s plans include:

  • Classic ($5/user/month)
  • Premier ($10/user/month)
  • In-House ($20/user/month)

10. MavenLink

Mavenlink

MavenLink is a larger scale platform that has resource management and project scheduling features. It’s a good choice if you already use a program to schedule projects and you’re ready to move to something more robust.

It has a drag-and-drop interface that’s fairly easy to use. The platform’s main dashboard is highly customizable. It allows you to see the status of all your projects at once.

There’s also an activity feed that allows you to see the exact work done on each specific project.

You’ll find tons of features like:

  • Project forecasting
  • Job costing
  • Expense tracking
  • Automated reports
  • Lots of built-in integrations

In addition to project management, MavenLink has tools for resource management, accounting, and business intelligence. You’ll get more out of it if you invest the time to learn how to use all of the different pieces.

Pros:

  • Packed with features
  • Supports real-time document collaboration

Cons:

  • Expensive for small teams
  • Mobile app limited in functionality
  • Lack of built-in chat
  • Can be too complex for some teams

Pricing

MavenLink provides each customer with custom pricing based on their specific needs. As an enterprise-focused tool, pricing is handled like most enterprise level tools.

11. Teamwork

Teamwork

Previously known as Teamwork Projects, Teamwork gives you a simple way to understand team members’ availability.

The project scheduling features are pretty standard and include recurring tasks, subtasks, and task dependencies. It supports Gantt charts, tasks lists, and kanban board views.

There’s a built-in messaging feature that allows your team to communicate one-on-one without leaving the software.

You can also configure email and SMS notifications for project updates.

Teamwork places a strong emphasis on making projects more manageable for the people on your team. It’s easy to see due dates and break tasks into simple steps.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Free plan available
  • iOS and Android apps for managing projects on the go
  • Plenty of integrations

Cons:

  • Workflow automation features not available in the free plan
  • No Gantt chart support on the mobile apps
  • It can be difficult to customize if you have bespoke business needs
  • Some users find the interface confusing

Pricing

Teamwork offers a free plan that’s limited to five team members and two projects. Paid plans include:

  • Pro ($12.5/user/month)
  • Premium ($22.5/user/month)
  • Enterprise (custom pricing)

Next Steps

Ready to choose a project scheduling software? Here’s what you should do now:

  1. Make your must-have and nice-to-have list
  2. Choose a tool to try. We recommend Hubstaff Tasks
  3. Check the features list for your tool of choice to make sure your must-haves are covered
  4. If available, start a free trial to test the software in your business
  5. If it works out, onboard your team! The tool’s customer support team will usually help with that

Have you tried any of the solutions on our list? Is there a solution you prefer? Let us know in the comments.