At the most fundamental, effective project management is about getting work done at the right time and in the right way. If you wish to prepare for the future, you need to shift from the best practices to the next practices – In the sense, you need to develop the potential to continually innovate, evolve and work without any wastage of time, resource and money. Employing proven project management software systems can lead to greater organizational success.
Why do you need Open Source Project Management Software?
Open source project management software, which allows the free modification and redistribution of the software code with minimal restrictions, is becoming increasingly popular among small- and mid-size businesses. In contrast, closed source systems, which restrict independent software vendors from making customizations or redistributing the software code, are still the dominant form of project management software.
By way of example, below are some reasons why businesses are attracted towards open source:
Cost savings: The primary advantage of open source is that it is less expensive than the alternative due to its freely available and customizable featuresmaking it a no-cost, or nearly no-cost alternative
Potential for dynamic development: This refers to companies that understand that open source is an operating philosophy where users can participate in the software development process and work together to optimize the software. This results in systems that are “always on”, offering new features, improving existing features and resolving issues at a rapid rate
Reduced user overhead: This refers to the maintenance costs of a large centralized software suite that companies have traditionally paid for to ensure their administrative systems operate efficiently. The use of custom software built by a centralized development team is costly and requires constant upkeep. Furthermore, because this system was designed to work alone, the third-party products and services that are needed to connect the different systems together are costly to implement as well
In comparison, open source software offers the ability to develop the core features and then integrate ancillary systems from different sources at a much lower cost. This often works out to be half the price of the alternative, and offers a much more flexible solution than proprietary systems
Easily customizable for all types of companies: The total cost of ownership for an open source solution is much less than commercially available systems because it can be easily modified to fit the specific needs of a company, whereas commercial solutions are designed to work for all types of companies
Reasons to choose open source systems for your Project Management Software
Open source software is high in demand because it can be installed without the need for a formal software license. This is helpful for many small business and non-profit organizations where one may not be able to afford the large fees for licensed software
Open source systems are not tied to hardware which makes them easy to install and reconfigure for other operations.
Compared to software applications that are closed, open source software offers more control to companies who wish to make changes to the software themselves. Of course this may mean higher overhead, but it can be a better option for companies that want to control their own software
Open source systems are also highly autonomous and customizable. The information they contain is highly protected and secured by encryption, and the software itself is highly scalable for a large number of users
Open source data can be stored in a single location, which makes it very easy to manage and limit the potential for errors. Furthermore, other programs can be set up to work with open source software, but doing so with closed source can be error-prone
Is It Hard to use Open Source Project Management Software?
Many managers are skeptical of open source solutions, but it’s quite the opposite. Open source solutions are highly flexible since they can be modified to meet the needs of a variety of companies. Because they encourage user feedback, documentation and support is usually readily available. Companies can also work as a community to create new and exciting solutions
There are many different types of open source projects. While some are free for commercial use, others require a license. Some require users to make a donation to their project while others rely on sponsors to make money. In order to be able to use these programs, users must first register on their website. This helps to determine what features the program is currently capable of. Some features of a program include the following:
- Calendar and scheduling functionality
- Some kind of file management system
- Bug tracking
There are often support forums to help users with their new projects. Users can also add their own features after which the code is re-integrated into the main project
How to pick the right Open Source Project Management Software for your needs?
If you are considering adopting new open source project management features, there are several things to consider before you decide how to proceed. Customer reviews are a good place to start to provide you with information regarding the pros and cons of different open source products. Since most of these systems are constantly changing, it is important to see how a particular system has evolved over the years.
Also note that business projects need to be kept within a budget. The business leaders may not want to spend too much money on project management software but they still need to maintain good project control. For businesses that value efficiency and effectiveness over cost, businesses might be better-off selecting a commercial project management system that come with an annual licensing fee. For companies that don’t want to commit to a solution that requires an overall investment, open source project management software is the best route. No-cost open source solutions do exist, but you often have to use some sort of code in exchange, or take code from one of their components to create your own solution.
One benefit of open source is that you are able to install your software directly from their website. You will typically receive an installation file in an archive format. You can then unzip the file to install the software on your own computer. Open source project management options can be run on both Mac OS and Windows operating systems. Some programs will also let you download a software trial version to experiment with the software and test if it meets your requirements. It is important to note that the project management software that is offered for free is likely just a limited version of one of the commercial systems.
In addition to free solutions, there are also a number of open source options for companies that want to keep their software costs low. The benefit lies in the fact that the community of open source solution providers offer a way to ‘spin off’ your own project management software product from an existing open source project. If you wish to do this, you will need to find an active open source project that is close to what you need and then you can create your own version from that. One of the key points to remember is that open source project management software can be customized to suit the needs of your company. These solutions are highly scalable and can support as many users as needed.
In order to use open source project management software, make sure you are committed to maintaining the software. You will have to keep the software up to date and you need to upgrade your version when it is required. You can either work with an organization that supports the open source project, or you can do all of the maintenance yourself, including bug fixing. You will also need to communicate with the team in order to ensure that new features are coded for you.
There are many reasons why open source software is a good option for your business. It is specifically designed to be as flexible as possible to suit your business needs. However, keep in mind that if you plan on using the software for free you need to be clearly open to receiving feature requests and bug fixes from the community, in addition to potentially writing your own code to support the software’s functionality. For many, this is a better option compared to using a proprietary system that is not scheduled to have new features added for a while.
How to use the software once it is installed?
To use the open source project management software in your organization, you will first need to install it on your own computer. You can do this by downloading a free version of the software and installing it on your computer from the open source project’s website.
When you install the software, there will always be installation instructions and a user guide. It is important for you to read these guides to ensure that the software works optimally. You may need to create a profile to help with tasks like syncing data files in existing systems.
Do I need to pay software licenses?
The majority of open source project management tools are completely free to use, but there are often features that require payment. The costs are often low, or are just a one-time registration fee required from the user.
In fact, some open source projects will only ask you to pay money if you want to contribute to the project, or if you use some kind of professional support. Some open source projects might offer support plans that cost a few hundred dollars per month.
It is important to remember that this does not include the cost of the open source project software itself.
Advantages of open source project management tools
Open source project management tools may have several benefits for your organization, including the following:
Reduced costs – since cost is a main factor in a projects success, this is a huge benefit for open source options since they are free
– since cost is a main factor in a projects success, this is a huge benefit for open source options since they are free Customization – one of the main benefits of open source products is that they can be customized to suit one’s needs. Specific add-ons and feature can be added after the software is initially installed, and this reduces costs later in the project
– one of the main benefits of open source products is that they can be customized to suit one’s needs. Specific add-ons and feature can be added after the software is initially installed, and this reduces costs later in the project Flexibility – if you are interested in adding features, you can do so with open source project management tools since they allow you to modify the software as you see fit. This is called the software being ‘open source’
– if you are interested in adding features, you can do so with open source project management tools since they allow you to modify the software as you see fit. This is called the software being ‘open source’ Online software updates – open source project management tools are typically updated online, and you will need to make sure you keep your software up to date in order to maintain security holes and prevent data integration problems
– open source project management tools are typically updated online, and you will need to make sure you keep your software up to date in order to maintain security holes and prevent data integration problems Open and transparent – for those companies who want to know exactly what is going on with their open source software, open source project management tools are completely transparent since the code is online and it is easy to access
Drawbacks of open source project management tools
One of the primary disadvantages of open source project management systems is the lack of warranty, particularly if you are interested in taking advantage of professional support from an external organization. Since the code is open, it is not always the best option for extreme security concerns.
Companies that are interested in more advanced features or certain add-ons may be disappointed with existing open source project management systems. Since the source code is open, there is no guarantee that future upgrades to the existing system will conform to the particular requirements of the company’s situation.
Many companies may also find that ad-hoc user reporting is somewhat lacking since the entire user interface of open source project management software is built on the software used for the project and not on a separate ‘dashboard’ or reporting app.
Finally, the project community is not always the most active or engaged, and in many cases there is a certain ‘hacker’ mentality that can be disruptive to the typical business environment.
Is open source project management software the right option for your business?
When it comes to productivity, if your business is seeking to save on project management software costs, or you just want increased customization options, open source project management software may be right for your business.
You can get more flexible features from open source software, and as a result, you pay much lower fees when you use these options in your company.
On the other hand if you are looking for a more robust project management system, with excellent integration capabilities, money-back guarantee, and additional technical support options, you may want to look at some of the other commercial options. Case Study: Overcoming obstacles to free project management software
Elliot Stern, Director of Operations at Site5 provided the following feedback on the free project management software he used:
“A company the size of ours, with employees from all over the world, needed a project management system that could handle our specific demands. We went through 3 different project management systems before we found the one that worked for us.
Before we chose Trello, we started out with Basecamp. We had a Basecamp account, but were having constant problems with sync issues. This is when we decided to look into something new. We heard about Trello through a friend, and so we figured we would give it a try.
We eventually decided to use Trello as our new project management system. It was very easy and flexible. We simply set up our board, dragged the tasks in the box, named the boxes, and added details. However, we did find it easier to use the browser version rather than the desktop version. This was mostly because it was too difficult to do certain tasks, like adding descriptions.
But, overall, we found that Trello was really easy to use and very flexible for our business.”