When you’re planning a project, there’s so much to think about and remember. When are your key deadlines? When should different tasks take place? How long will each part take and what resources need to be available to work on them? Juggling so many variables at once, it’s easy for things to slip through the net. That’s why a decent project planner is essential for staying on top of things.
A familiar interface goes a very long way here. As a fundamental technology for managing time, calendars offer one of the most effective means for structuring and planning your projects. But with so many different calendar apps out there, which are best for managing project resources, assigning work and mapping timelines? To fast-track your search, here are our picks for the five best-in-class project planning calendar tools.
Timely’s project planning capabilities allow you to map out all your planned work across teams and projects from one intelligent calendar view. The smart timeline is crystal clear, so you can effortlessly visualize your projects, coordinate colleague schedules and asign work in just a few clicks. To help you stay flexible as resource availability and plans change, planned work can be easily moved to another calendar day, edited or reassigned using simple click and drag. With one powerful calendar view, you can quickly gauge resource distribution and instantly see what everyone is working on – essential for ensuring people aren’t double booked.
Of all the free project planning calendar tools, Google Calendar is one of the most popular. When it comes to scheduling meetings and important project milestones, Google Calendar is a good option simply due to how easy it is to share calendars. You can underline the most vital project dates on people’s calendars and – just to be safe – play around with the customizable event notifications to ensure everyone gets a friendly prompt nearer the time. While it may lack the diverse project management features of bespoke project planning apps, it offers a powerful base for structuring and sharing big milestones.
If you’re looking for a free project planning calendar that has more features, check out Freedcamp, a super easy way to manage your calendar alongside tasks, milestones and deadlines. If you feel you’re juggling way too many balls, Freedcamp is a great way to centralize things: you can instantly get an overview of all work that’s due, set goals for specific dates, create events, and of course, schedule – all from one place. Depending on your aesthetic preferences, you can arrange your tasks in a to-do list or kanban board, and split your most crucial project dates (long-term and short-term) between the calendar or milestones – whichever is more helpful for planning.
4. Microsoft Excel
While not the easiest project calendar tool to use, or the most advanced, Excel’s prebuilt project timeline templates template is still used by countless project managers. While a bit too fiddly for working on large or complex projects, it offers a good base for mapping smaller projects. Project data will require manual input – or integrations with more sophisticated project tracking tools – but providing you’re adept at manipulating formulas and creating smart rules, as a free tool it’s not to be sniffed at. In the right hands, Excel project management can be powerful.
Primarily a tool for managing project resources, Hubplanner offers a clean calendar structure for booking people for different project work. You effectively see everyone’s schedule in a block view for simple allocation – quickly identifuing the right person for a particular piece of work. It’s build in “Heat Map” also allows you to identify gaps in your schedule, and within the main scheduler you can plan budgets, set rates and calculate project spend. A powerful package!