Project Management Tools for Distributed Teams With Free Plans and Trials

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Project Management Tools for Distributed Teams With Free Plans and Trials

Managing a team—near or far—can become an arduous task without the right tools. Here's a starter list of some software with free trials to get you started.

· Agile Zone ·
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Working on a software development project isn’t easy. There are a lot of involved people, resources, and a plethora of other project related details. Each task can be a real challenge to anyone from a team. But a project manager as a coordinator faces challenges of different natures on a regular basis. And one of the most significant points to deal with for him or her is to organize the way a team works on a project.

There are two scenarios of working with a team. If every team member works in the same building, or let’s say, under the same roof, you have a co-located team. If someone works not in your office space but remotely, even in a different time zone far from you, you have a distributed team.

Regardless of locations, it is not easy to establish a sound software development project process. Yet, it seems that managing a co-located team is a little bit easier. In this case, you can assign tasks, share spontaneous ideas, and control processes even during a coffee break.

Does it mean that managing distributed teams is much more difficult? Yes, in some way it is. Fortunately, there are project management tools that help to be on the same page of a project even if you are countries and oceans away. Unfortunately, there are so many of them with different functionality and performance capacities so it is easy to get lost.

I narrow a long list to 5 tools with free plans and trials to save your time. In the article, you will find only project management tools. If you need some other software, please, refer to this article.

1. JIRA Software (Cloud)

Best for: Bug and issue tracking and organizing sprints.

As they state on their site, JIRA is number 1 software development tool used by Agile teams. Actually, there is nothing false in this statement. You probably know it for yourself.

In the cloud version, developers are able to plan, track, and release software anytime from one place. Users can also create real-time reports based on visual data. Thus, a manager and a team can be sure that their project has a complete coverage from the start and till the end. In general, no serious development team can do without this all-in-one solution.

What’s special about the tool?

JIRA Software has hundreds of add-ons on Atlassian Marketplace. Users can organize all their work in one tool, choosing apps they need for better performance. Also, a great variety of other popular tools have integration with JIRA.

At the same time, you will need much time to explore it. This is definitely a significant drawback.


There is a free 7-day trial. It costs $10 per month for teams up to 10 users. For Growing teams, it starts from $7 per user per month (up to 100 users).

2. Trello

Best for: Kanban boards.

This simple and intuitive, yet powerful tool gives users a visual way to collaborate on projects. It deploys a popular Kanban approach. It means that here you deal with boards that are actual projects and cards that represent tasks.

The tool is very simple, indeed. Users have all boards and all cards right in front of them. At the same time, it is possible to limit the number of tasks for any given stage. Trello allows keeping track of project progress and following deadlines. These are basic but significant features needed for work with distributed teams. Also, collaboration in the tool allows commenting on tasks and attaching files.

What’s special about the tool?

As I’ve said, Trello is simple, easy to understand, and powerful tool. It is popular among small startups as well as huge companies like Pixar, Google, and National Geographic.

The app offers rich integration options and lots of power-ups to get most for your distributed teams.


There is a free plan. Paid plans start from $9.99 per user/month.

3. GanttPRO

Best for: Gantt charts.

Based on a Gantt chart approach, GanttPRO allows working with tasks right on a timeline. This is what makes differences with other above-described tools where users have cards. Once you create a task and set start/end dates for it, it gets a clear visualization as a horizontal bar along a timeline.

All the team members have immediate access to their projects and tasks from any place. The tool has intuitive UX/UI design. Even if you are new to a Gantt chart, it won’t take much time from you to become an advanced user.

At the moment, the tool has integration only with Cloud version of JIRA Software.

What’s special about the tool?

Collaboration makes GanttPRO stand out from other competitors. Users can comment on tasks and attach files to them. Real-time notifications keep team members updated about any changes. History of changes allows you to browse the whole project and, if necessary, restore any needed version of a chart.

In GanttPRO, there are plenty of ready-made templates designed for a variety of professional spheres.


There is a free 14-day trial with all the features open. The tool offers dynamic pricing plans.

4. Asana

Best for: for complex workflows even in large teams.

This is one of the most popular project and tasks management tools that you can find on the market. Users organize their work in it in minutes and follow all the progress with great visualization.

Collaboration is vital when working with distributed teams. Asana makes collaboration and communication go smoothly, with significant facilitation. In general, teams organize their work in a common way. They can create workspaces with multiple if needed, projects. The latter, in their turn, can include multiple tasks.

What’s special about the tool?

There are more than 100 integrations with this software. Also, focus mode features looks solid. It offers possibilities for users to create custom fields and track only relevant and important tasks. Thus, teams do not get lost in an endless chain of upcoming tasks.


There is a free plan that allows up to 15 team members and unlimited tasks and projects. Paid versions start from $9.99 per user per month if billed annually.

5. Mavenlink

Best for: Project management, resource planning, time tracking, and billing.

As you see, the tool has a few spheres of application, not only project management. It also offers resource planning, collaboration, and financial tools. This powerful software allows distributed teams to work with tasks and their dependencies in real-time. Also, users keep track of time frames and see where troubles can occur.

As Mavenlink is rich in features, for small teams it may be too overloaded, thus, difficult to work in. But big teams with multiple projects and resources will benefit from using this powerful tool.

What’s special about the tool?

A manager can follow the whole lifecycle of a project. Mavenlink serves well for collaboration, team management, time and budget tracking, invoicing and reporting.

The tool has powerful searching possibilities. Once you put data, you’ll never lose it. You won’t need to waste your time searching for required information in a variety of comments and attachments.

Mavenlink has integrations with a lot of other popular tools.


There is a 10-day free trial. Team plans start from $19 per 5 users per month.

distributed teams, project management, team productivity

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