Projects require lots of planning, organization, communication, and coordination between members. Popular online project management applications address the following functions in getting things done:
- Project planning
- Task management
- Document sharing
- Contact management
- Time tracking
- Communication tools
- Issue handling
After scanning the web in search of the more popular free web-based project management applications available, I gave them all a spin. I have compiled the list below along with a brief summary of their provided features for free accounts.
Basecamp – A premier project collaboration service that many top companies utilize. Features include the ability to create and manage projects, private or public to-do lists, milestones, messaging, upload and share files, time tracking, notifications, time reporting, assign administration rights to people, admin rights for projects, admin rights for to-do lists, RSS, whiteboards, chat, calendars, assign milestones, design templates, activity stream, corporate branding, assign deadlines, commenting, drag and drop interface, and message boards. Basecamp offers many other extras and 3rd party add-ons that integrate with its core service such as iPhone applications, billing and invoicing tools, planning tools, desktop widgets, and much more. Basecamp offers a free plan that permits limited access as well as a full-blown version of their award winning service in which you’ll be able to access everything for free for 30 days.
Central Desktop – This has to be one of my top picks with it’s straight forward layout and the various different workspace types such as project management, wikis, databases, project blogs, and user forums. The video tutorials make it easy to learn how to take full advantage of each tool and feature. Additional features include integrated instant messaging, who’s online, project updates and notifications, personnel and productivity reports, bookmarking and much more. The free plan includes 2 workspaces, up to 5 members, and 25 MB of storage space.
Wrike – A very flexible online project management interface that comes with a plethora of features that includes unlimited projects, file sharing (50 MB/user), Gantt charts, time tracking, revision history, import and export of excel files, templates, iCalendar integration, RSS, MS Project imports, task management, and much more. They also guarantee 99%+ uptime, free email support, every-hour backups, and SSL security. Wrike offers a 30-day free trial of their Enterprise, Premium, and Professional accounts.
Huddle – Combines online collaboration, project management and document sharing using social networking principles. It offers a Facebook App and their free plan will get you up to 3 workspaces, 1 GB of storage, and an unlimited number of users.
Comindwork – Also has lots of features: member management, invites, project blogs, wikis, milestones, time logging, file sharing, cases/issues, history, search, and reports. Under the free plan you can manage up to 5 active projects, assign up to 5 users per project, and use up to 5 GB of storage!
5pm – Includes projects/tasks tree, Gantt charts, deadline assignments, groups, private projects/tasks, notifications, client login, project and task sorting, file uploads and attachments, time tracking, time reports, RSS, corporate branding, iCal integration, email integration, 256-bit SSL data encryption, contacts import tool, API, drag-and-drop functionality, auto-archiving, reminders, and the ability to import data from Basecamp.
Nozbe – Well designed task manager with some project management features as well. Nozbe offers mobile access (m.nozbe.com) and integration with Jott, Twitter, Jabber, iPhone, iGoogle, NetVibes and Apple Dashboard too. Their free plan includes management for up to 5 projects and 1 MB of storage space.
LiquidPlanner – Has a plethora of features including project scheduling and analysis tools, task management, milestones, collaboration tools, personalized dashboards, resource scheduling, and more. Their 30-day free trial version lets you have up to 3 members, an unlimited number of projects, and 2 GB of storage space.
Zoho Projects – This too has a great set of useful tools and features such as an integrated timer, tasks, milestones, calendar, meetings, documents, time sheets, reports forums, and a user list. The free plan gets you 1 project and 10 MB of storage space.
ProWorKFlow- Delivers a plethora of features that include project categorization, project assignment, tasks, archivals, search, project analysis, project requests, task categories, time tracker, bookmarking, timelines, shared notes, reports, alerts (email, on-screen, RSS), task templates, timesheets, calendar, slide projects, stopwatch timer, client permissions, quotes, invoices, upload files and attachments, role permissions, color schemes, WYSIWYG editor, database backup tool, currency options, and much more.
AceProject – Features include projects, tasks, documents, calendar, statistics, forum, time reports, task reports, time approval, notes, and Gantt charts. The free version lets you have up to 5 members, 5 projects, and 25 MB of storage space.
Projectplace – Offers many features including management for documents, issues, meetings, tasks, users, activity reports, and a trial version for online meetings. With their free plan you get up to 3 users and less than 1 GB of storage.
GoPlan – Offers notes, blog, issue tracking, tasks, and file management. The free plan also allows up to 2 projects, 4 users per project, and 15 MB of storage space.
Project Desk – Has many features but the design is not as brilliant and as intuitive as other competitors. A free account allows you to manage 2 projects and 4 users with an allotment of 0 MB of storage space.
Sosius – Offers a great set of tools and features including a contacts and group manager, custom workspaces, file management, calendars & events, blogs, discussions, chat and instant messaging, RSS feeds, web databases, tasks, reminders, charts, task automation, and access and permissions assignment. The free account will give you unlimited workspaces, unlimited users, and 200 MB of storage space.
Joint Contact – Features include discussion topics, tasks, notes, email, iCalendar integration, contacts, search, workspaces, document and photo storage, document reviews, and Twitter integration. Their free account includes 2 workspaces, 2 users, and 1 MB of storage space.
GroupSwim – Offers groups, workspaces, discussion boards, file sharing, wikis, semantic search, tagging, collective intelligence tools, notifications, profiles, and much more Their free account includes unlimited workspaces, up to 3 users, and 500 MB of storage space.