Easy to use Project Planning Software

Our senior staff is looking for an easy to use Project Planning program that is cloud based.
They’ve asked me to look into Wrike, but that seems a bit overkill…and more than I’d like to spend per month
if something else is out there.

Any recommendations?

Terry Schordock
Bay Presbyterian Church
Bay Village, Ohio

We use Basecamp. It doesn’t have charts and things, but let’s you organize, message, attach files and assign todos.

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We use Trello (www.trello.com), and find it helpful for all of the various types of projects we track. It’s cloud-based, has apps for all mobile devices, and is free! And it’s very intuitive.

Podio and Zoho are both good solutions. They are both relational databases so you can get the full picture of what is happening pretty easily.

We use Asana, overall I’ve liked it.
UpClick is a new one that I think I’d give a shot if I were starting over.

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Microsoft added Planner to Office 365. https://products.office.com/en-us/business/task-management-software and I believe there are apps for mobile devices.

Also, here’s an article about how you can use Outlook for Project Management:

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Microsoft added Planner to Office 365. https://products.office.com/en-us/business/task-management-software and there are apps for mobile devices.

Also, here’s an article about how you can use Outlook for Project Management:

We use Basecamp and Planner for projects we collaborate on.

Internally my team used Pivotal Tracker for a while (they have free nonprofit licenses that churches qualify for) which was great, but we have since found for IT projects using sticky notes and magnets works better for us.

Since we’re going full O365, we are trying to use Planner, but there are still a few oddities as they roll planner into Teams (i.e. Plans in teams don’t show up in planner’s web app or mobile app, because Teams can have multiple plans per group, but planner can only have one plan per group). That alone is frustrating because that means you have to use Teams on a computer to manage projects.

You can still view tasks assigned to you across all plans/teams in the mobile app and web app though.

I mention so much about Planner because the O365 ecosystem is pretty great and I imagine they’ll sort this out fairly soon, and having everything in one place without asking staff to set up another username/password sounds pretty nice.

Until then, I’d vote for Basecamp or Trello.

Once you start looking into gantt charts and critical path analysis you probably also need to start looking into hiring a dedicated project manager. I’ve found the simpler the system, the more likely it is to be adopted.

Terry, in my experience a lot depends on the capabilities of the people who are going to be using the program. If the team geeks out on things like GANTT charts and critical path analysis and wants to go deep into their project planning that leads to one type of solution. If you’ve got a group whose eyes roll when they see a GANTT chart and wonder why we can’t just do this with a list, well then that takes you to a very different solution. I am of course, painting the extremes. There are many points in between and other considerations that should be evaluated.

For example, if a project is complex and the cost to not meeting its objectives is high and the team is not well versed in project planning/management, then the answer is probably a pretty capable project management program and training for the staff so that they learn to use it.

Mark Simmons
Christ Community Church
Milpitas, CA

P.S. Loved seeing where you are. My family has deep roots in the Cleveland area. Mom and dad grew up in Berea. I have many relatives in the area. My great grandfather Hawthorne built most of those grand old homes in Shaker Heights.

Here is another vote for Trello. The more we use it, the more we like it. Even though we use it as a team, we don’t find a need to upgrade to the Pro version so we are using it at no cost. It’s beauty is that it is so versatile, that it can be used many different ways. I even use it to manage my tasks now.

Thanks, Nick…

It looks like Trello does not allow you to assign tasks to specific
people. Am I missing something?

Terry Schordock
Property & Systems Director
440-871-3822, Ext. 169

Terry, we assign tasks all the time. In a Card, there is an option to add a member, you can select any member of that board and assign the tasks to them. My boss depends quite heavily on that feature :slight_smile:

We use Asana (free tier) over here as well. That being said, is your senior staff going to get everyone on board? We have had mixed results with multiple solutions simply because there is no single source of truth. The best project planning software is the one that everyone on the project is willing to use. That being said, maybe it won’t be as expensive as you think if only a few people on your senior staff actually use it…

We’ve started using SmartSheet. It may be overkill for what you want, but it allows each ministry and department to really manage projects differently. Lots of great third party integrations (connects right into skype for business). Form input for creating items in projects (example: Hardware request forms). We’re loving it so far.

Hi Terry!

It does, by assigning members to a project. That happens at the project level, rather than at the task-within-the-project level. For task-level assignments, we just add the person’s name to the beginning of that task (i.e. “Nick: update file”).


Hi Terry! We use Asana however the cost is getting high, around $600/month. We have started converting to TeamGantt which is free for churches. It allows us to plan projects via list view or Gantt view, assign tasks and maintain accountability. It also sends daily updates of status and due dates. Hope that helps!


Trello has come out on top…now I need to get up to speed. Any suggestions for fast-track training or tutorials?


Hi, Jill…

How are you getting TeamGantt for free? I contacted them and they said they do not have a discount for non-profits.


Hi Terry!
We never did any training… found it to be that intuitive!

Wow, Nick…you were right! Easy to learn, easy to use. I even found a plug-in to allow me to do a “grid” view of my lists rather than all straight across the top of the page.
Now…to just figure out how to minimize expense…

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