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The Top 5 Project Scheduling Software Programs

written by: Thursday Bram • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 6/27/2011

This article lists the Top 5 software options on the market for tracking a project schedule. The pros and cons of each package are discussed to help you chose the right package to fit your needs.

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    When you’re planning a project schedule, it can be hard to find the perfect software for your project. There are certain features like the ability to display Gantt and PERT charts that are a must. Then there are pricing concerns — some software assumes a much larger budget than your project might have. You might also need to consider usability — will your team members have a steep learning curve with a particular piece of software? These five project scheduling software packages are our picks for the best options.

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    Microsoft Project

    Many project managers like Microsoft Project because it’s relatively easy to learn, as long as you’re already used to Windows and other Microsoft products. It is a pricier option ($599.95 for the Standard version and $999.95 for the Professional version), making it less ideal for managers who need project scheduling software that fits in a tight budget. Microsoft Project is highly integrated, allowing you to track a number of variables and produce Gantt charts as well as network diagrams.

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    ZOHO Projects

    There are several factors in ZOHO Projects’ favor. It’s a web-based application, meaning that you don’t have to install project management software on every computer you use. You can access your schedule from anywhere and, if you’re only working on one project, ZOHO Projects is free. ZOHO Projects can generate Gantt charts, but doesn’t offer PERT charts.

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    FastTrack Schedule 9

    This schedule software, available for both Mac and Windows, has an extremely effective set of resource management tools built in. As facets of a project change, FastTrack is easy to update. A license for FastTrack is significantly lower compared to one for Microsoft Project. For newer project managers, FastTrack offers an easy introduction to the software and a gentle learning curve. It’s also robust enough for any experienced project manager that wants to put it through its paces.

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    Primavera P6

    The Primavera name is well-known for their project management solutions. P6 is their answer to the project schedule software question. This software package is flexible and has the ability to handle everything from time sheets to resource management. However, P6 does have more extensive hardware requirements than some other project management applications. It is intended for use by larger organizations, and may not be ideal for managers working with smaller projects.

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    @task

    This wed-based project management option focuses on an easy-to-use interface. Just looking at @task's Gantt charts shows some impressive utilities. You can drag and drop information to avoid unnecessary typing, easily schedule individuals for specific tasks, and view real-time reports showing your project’s status. @task offers a variety of pricing plans depending on the number of users and the number of projects you need to manage.

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    Conclusion

    Each of these project schedule software options has different strengths, but they offer the best options for a variety of management needs. Additionally, most offer an online demo, allowing you to try it out before you buy it. Take a look at these options and you’ll find the right fit for your future projects.

    If you are looking for affordable project management software, Joe Taylor has composed a list of the Best Project Management Software Packages for under $100.

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    More Software Reviews

    On Bright Hub's Project Management channel, our authors have reviewed several software programs that may suit your unique project management needs. Here are just a few:

    To see a list of all active reviews, click here