While Microsoft Project certainly has its uses, there are a few shortcomings that might prompt you to look elsewhere. Whether you’re looking for something a bit more tailored to your needs or easier to use, one of the Microsoft Project alternatives we’re about to explore should do the trick.
Why consider alternatives to MS Project?
MS Project is useful in a number of ways. However, Microsoft nudges you towards the rest of its 365 suite, which can be an inconvenience.
Microsoft’s project management software is also not AEC-specific. Construction professionals often want features (such as resource management) geared towards their day-to-day tasks.
As you’ll see in the following list, it’s actually quite easy to assemble your own little suite of various productivity apps once you know each program’s strengths and limitations. In fact, it’s rare that you’ll find a program offering everything you need for project management. With the following solutions, you’ll at least have some choice as to what programs you connect.
What to look for in a Microsoft Project alternative
Construction is, of course, very collaborative by nature. A project management program should be conducive to collaboration. Software that allows collaboration even outside of itself (aka has robust integrations) gets bonus points.
Project management software really doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Some of the best alternatives to Microsoft Project don’t even charge you extra fees for more users, saving fast-growing companies from the hassle of having to make constant upgrades.
We’ve done our best to choose alternatives to MS Project that construction firms would genuinely find useful to run alongside other programs. You should never feel like you’re settling with a program given how modular project management software can be; you just have to connect the right pieces of software together.
10 Microsoft Project alternatives
#1. Bridgit Bench
Pricing: Visit this page for details
If your impetus for reading about alternatives to Microsoft Project is to find something made specifically for the construction industry, Bridgit Bench is for you. It plays nicely with other industry-standard software (namely, Procore), offers an Open API, and comes with tools that simplify your workforce management and project scheduling flow.
The program’s user interface is also much more intuitive than that of Microsoft’s construction scheduling software, which can have high CPU usage.
Lastly, Bridgit doesn’t twist your arm into purchasing additional software to unlock Bridgit Bench’s full potential. Microsoft Project, on the other hand, works best when you have the full 365 suite and does not work on Mac OS X.
Pricing: Starts at $375/mo
Procore is a very viable Microsoft Project alternative for many reasons. Firstly, it offers a staggering number of integrations with everything from Zapier, to Outlook, and Bridgit Bench.
This far-reaching compatibility makes Procore a fantastic program to consider as the centerpiece of your entire software suite. The intuitiveness of those integrations will also make you very quickly forget that Procore doesn’t actually have scheduling and resource management functionality. Rather, its core features are bidding, budgeting, and — of course — project management.
Pricing: Starts at $24/mo per user
Workzone also offers a much simpler user experience than Microsoft’s construction scheduling software. The software is designed to help any company (not just construction firms) maximize its productivity. That generalized approach is definitely worth considering but Workzone still comes with enough features to be useful for construction professionals.
Perhaps Workzone’s strongest suit, however, is the company’s unparalleled onboarding and support process. It offers monthly productivity “coaching” that goes beyond merely showing you how to use its software.
Pricing: Starts at $6.25/mo per user
Among the biggest gripes many people have with Microsoft’s construction scheduling software is that collaboration becomes difficult when your team members aren’t all using the various programs in 365.
ActiveCollab is a great alternative to Microsoft Project if you’ve had that issue concerning teamwork with your other project management software before. It integrates with more than 750 applications, giving you the freedom to build a custom project management suite with ActiveCollab at the center.
Another great advantage of ActiveCollab is that it operates in the cloud but can also be set up on your company’s own server.
Pricing: Starts at $9.99/mo per user
LiquidPlanner is another great generalized (not specific to any one type of business) alternative to MS Project. Perhaps the software’s greatest asset is its predictive scheduling capability; as you adjust variables (i.e. delay a task or finish ahead of schedule), the software will adjust your estimated completion date to give you a clearer picture.
#6. Project Insight
Pricing: $35/mo per user at the enterprise level
Project Insight is still very good out of the box, however, with features such as time tracking and project budgeting. If you want something ready-made for the construction industry, you’d be better off with Bridgit. Otherwise, Project Insight is great.
#7. Merlin Project
If you don’t mind the Apple-only functionality, Merlin Project is a great alternative to MS Project. It works with iMac, iPad, and iPhone. ProjectWizards bills the program as a great solution for firms in construction and creative fields.
Merlin Project’s mind map feature is also very useful and unique among Microsoft Project alternatives. There’s also a nice Kanban board feature, which is quite helpful for organizing your ideas and tasks.
Basecamp is another general alternative to MS Project. Its pricing model (just a flat $99/mo) will come as a relief to companies frustrated with having to pay exorbitant per-user fees.
Basecamp combines many of the features you’d typically only get via a full suite of programs like Dropbox, Asana, and Slack. The program’s all-in-one nature has made it one of the most popular productivity tools in the entire world.
Construction professionals will still benefit from a more tailored program but Basecamp is worth considering for document and task management.
Pricing: Free option available
Monday.com really shines when it comes to managing your company’s marketing, IT, and sales departments. The program’s project management tool is great for general applications but, again, you’ll want something better if you’re looking to manage a construction project.
Monday.com is cheap enough that you should have no problem combining it with a program like Bridgit Bench. Features like automation (which is Zapier-like but much more intuitive) mean Monday.com will never seem redundant when used alongside a more focused management suite.
Pricing: Starts at $10.99/mo
Last but certainly not least, we have Asana, another one of the most popular alternatives to Microsoft Project for people in need of general project management software. You’ll still miss out on some construction-specific features like resource management. However, the paid version of Asana still offers a surprising number of useful features, including a Gantt chart view.
Once again, Asana is an ideal alternative to Microsoft Project for those who don’t mind doing the bulk of their construction-specific work in another application. Asana works very well for managing your sales and marketing flow.
Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.
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