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Are FREE Project Management Tools Really Free

Project management software helps teams organize, track, and execute work within a project. It improves decision-making and overall project productivity by making it easier to make informed decisions in the shortest amount of time because all of the important details are in one centralized place. It also helps to streamline work and enhance productivity by allowing businesses to reap higher profits by making optimal use of resources and delivering projects on time.

So, with so many tools available today, are the free software platforms really free? If they are, are they any good?

  • Freedcamp - Offering a wide range of features, including task management, time tracking, and team collaboration.

  • ClickUp - Delivering a modern and very customizable user interface that focuses on UX design.

  • Trello - Gives you a way to organize your projects with Kanban boards and allows up to 10 boards with unlimited users.

  • Airtable - Putting a spin on Excel with a spreadsheet-database hybrid feature, allowing for 'checkbox', 'phone number', 'drop-down list', and file attachments including images to be entered in cell fields while delivering a familiar spreadsheet-like interface.

  • Basecamp - Combining a real-time communication Chat platform to support group and private messaging, this interface provides To-do list, Reporting and Charts to keep your project moving forward.

  • Asana - Possibly the biggest name on this list, the interface provides a unique desktop option that gives you a HUB to organize your projects. With security features integrated with multiple big name SSO providers, you can safely manage projects while sharing guest accounts with clients.

If you are a project manager, chances are you have used some sort of software platform to better manage schedules, budgets and yes, stakeholders. When it really comes down to it, these tools should provide these essentials:

  1. Identifying and allocating resources across a project or portfolio

  2. Using multiple views to compare and edit data

  3. Generating reports, diagrams, charts, and more

  4. Planning, scheduling, tracking progress, maintaining documentation, managing the budget, allocating resources, and controlling risks and scope changes

When you consider using any of these software platforms with paid features, you should expect improved planning and scheduling, better collaboration, effective task management with individual or team assignment, easier file sharing with integration options and a more robust reporting dashboard.

The cost of project management software varies depending on the vendor and the scope of the package offered, ranging from around $5 per user on plans aimed at smaller businesses with fewer features up to around $25 per user on plans that can offer fully -fledged software for larger and enterprise-tier companies. The average monthly cost of project management software is $15 per user.

Outside of evaluating the paid features of this list, for a software platform to be considered a true FREE option, the essentials must be provided. These tools are not in any specific order, but I would like to hear from you about your experience with any of them.

Do they provide the essentials?

Are they truly free?

Are their any better "FREE" tools out there?

Do project managers need to pay for software features, or should we go back to using Microsoft Project/Planner?

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