A project can consist of multiple steps that need to be completed within specific time frames to meet a deadline. Project management involves assigning tasks to employees, estimating task duration, allocating resources and counting costs to meet a specific goal. Completing any project involves planning, taking action and keeping track of progress. This is where a free project management application can help you plan and execute a project successfully. Desktop applications are downloaded and installed on your personal computer while web-based project management freeware are hosted on a server and you need internet access to use it. Here are 10 of the best project management applications that you can try out for free.

1. GanttProject

It is released under a General Public License. It is free to download and use. It is based on the Java platform which gives it the ability to work on the Linux, Mac OS X and Windows operating systems. It features a Gantt chart, work breakdown structure, task hierarchy, resource chart and reports that can be created in various file formats.

2. jxProject

You can use a free version which displays advertisements or you can buy the commercial version if you really dislike the advertisements. It can be installed and used on operating systems such as Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. It has all the usual features you need to manage a project.

3. OpenProj

This program is similar to Microsoft Project, but it is open source freeware. It uses the Java platform so it is compatible with Linux, Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. Features include the generation of Gantt, PERT, WBS, RBS and cost charts. OpenProj also has the ability to open Microsoft Office Project files.

4. Open Workbench

This application runs on the Microsoft Windows computer desktop. It is mostly open source and is released under a Mozilla Public License. Features include auto schedule, work breakdown structure and assigning task resources.

5. Calligra Plan

This application is recommended for medium to large projects which require multiple resource management. It works on the Unix and Windows operating systems and is released under a General Public License. Project schedules can be adapted if setbacks occur or if the project is moving along faster than expected. Tasks can be added or removed when necessary. Resources and costs can be assigned to tasks with work, resource and cost breakdown structures.

6. Gantter.com

This is a web-based application, but it has quick loading times. It is not a versatile as other programs, yet it offers a good introduction to the use of project management applications. You can use it to learn the basics of planning and managing a project.

7. netOffice

It is released under the GPL license and it is open source as well. You can use it for your business purposes free of charge. This application is adequate for beginners and small businesses.

8. Project Engine

Download, install and run this program for free on your personal computer. Create tasks and time schedules for multiple team members. It has online capabilities and team members with internet access can view task lists to see what needs to be done. They can even gain access by using cellular phones with internet connectivity.

9. ProjectPier

This is a PHP application that is open source freeware. It is installed and hosted on your own server and it helps you to manage teams, tasks and projects. It is similar to other groupware  programs with the exception that it is free to use for communication and collaboration between team members.

10. dotProject

This is another web-based tool that is freeware. You only need to provide the hosting and install it on a server. Manage project tasks, budgets, employees and clients with this decent management application.

You can experiment with a few of these programs to see which one works the best for you and your project. These applications are free to use so try them out before buying a professional project management tool. Many of these free project management applications are almost as good as software you pay for, so you might save money by using one of the programs from this list.