This article is going to introduce you to the best available open-source project management software. Before we look at those details, let us take a look at the reasons why a Project Manager should choose to use a Project Management software (let it be open source or a paid version, based on the Organizational structure and requirements).
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Need for an effective Project Management Software:
Organizations always continuously strive towards working on accomplishing tasks, most of the times these tasks spanning across multiple teams and multiple locations. There are always more than just a bunch of people try to accomplish the project deliverables and when the counts (teams, or resources) go beyond the benchmarks then their project management tasks will span across multiple project managers. Tracking these tasks, resources, and deliverables on different software and different project managers can often become very unmanageable. This section of the article provides a list of the points that need to be tracked using any of the project management software across the organization, in a unanimous way:
- Planning made easy
- Efficient task management
- Team workflow being seamless
- Proper sharing of resources
- Precise project tracking
- To imbibe best habits in using resources efficiently
Top 10 Open Source Project Management Softwares:
Whether you are a full-time project manager or a part-time project manager, you are always taking part in Project Management activities. Considering that fact, it is very important for you to keep track of the team, tasks and a clear goal of the end date (with all changes to tasks individually or as a whole) always. This task gets very hectic if you don’t follow a specific way of tracking it manually or to choose a tool to do the same for you. Since that we are at the right point to get our hands dirty with the available options (open source), let us get down to business.
The very first choice and the best of the rest of the software which provides the basic open-source Project Management is Bitrix24. It is entirely free for an unlimited number of users/resources. There is a limit on the storage of 5GB per month though, it can be extended for an additional cost.
- Provides an effective way of maintaining task templates with subtasks and checklist
- Provides Gantt charts, layered task options, time management and time tracking, resource workload planning
- Provides group chat, instant messenger, and video-conferencing capabilities
- Provides a 5GB storage to share documents, contacts, etc.
- Estimation and actual efforts can be tracked well with software
- Not many disadvantages to this tool other than a limited storage capability of 5GB
- Needs more efforts on its CRM capabilities but is very good if you are relying only on the Project Management capabilities of the software.
[Related Page: Scrum vs Agile in Detail]
FreedCamp is almost the first on the list along with Bitrix24 but has a small lacking in the project management capabilities as provided by the software earlier. Nevertheless, if your requirements meet with this one, it is viable to option to choose this over Bitrix24 safely. Having said that, let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of this software usage as such:
- Unlimited users and projects for usage
- Unlimited storage
- Pretty smooth design
- A good count of functions made available
- Better choices for communication
- Tasks for a resource to choose
- More control to administrators on permissions to different sets of users
- Optimized site for mobile usage, iOS app made available
- Missed features like Gantt charts, task dependencies, and recurring tasks
- Learning curve – takes a little time on the site navigation
OrangeScrum is one of the best free project management tools for IT teams. The on-premise version is absolutely free for usage but the cloud version costs little over 10$ a month (but the support for the same is not one of the best). It provides the groundwork for any of the agile software development projects and also supports resource management effectively.
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- Completely customizable
- If you are little technical, then you can make it whatever you want it to be
- Gantt charts, task status groups
- Provides integration with Google Drive, Dropbox even on the on-premise version
- You will not be able to make the complete use of this tool if you are not a techie yourself
- Support for this tool mostly relies on the forum
Asana is one of the best project management tools available for up to 15 users (on the free version). It has an active forum with an overall score of 4.5 on 5 maintaining it pretty well. One of the best features of this tool is the design by Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook.
- Best known for its intuitive task management feature provides real-time interaction
- Visualization of goals for the resources
- Time tracking and proper task priority assignments
- Provided an Android app for usage recently
- Doesn’t provide offline usage
- Not many features made available as against its peers above
- Frustrating conversations for lacking basic customer service at times
Wrike is also the best open-source software choice, which offers its free services for a maximum of 5 users and with a limited storage space of 2GB. It provides loads of integrations as like Google drive, Baux, iCal and etc.
- Best for very small team’s collaboration
- Provision to set privacy settings on unlimited projects and to interact with real-time activity streams
- Offers Task management and provides extended storage options through integrations
- Doesn’t provide support to Gantt charts on the free version, time tracking and real-time reports
- Doesn’t provide a full set of features of Project Management on the free version
This tool kicks off the second half of the open-source projects that can be used. Provides support for native iPhone and iPad applications. Provides integration options such as Dropbox, GitHub, Zendesk, Google drive.
- Offers time tracking, task tracking, collaboration within users
- There is no storage limit and hence free to use on file-sharing feature
- Project board is very much suitable for any Agile methodologies
- Provides task relationships, tasks from emails and Facebook-like features for team cohesion
- A very new tool in the market, hence not all features are completely implemented
- Doesn’t provide Gantt charts
This is the next open-source tool that has all similar features and complexity to Microsoft Project. This tool provides Gantt and PERT charts in HTML and PDF formats, also provides scheduling and time management features in the tool itself.
- Ability to create a structured schedule for any project
- Provides task assignment, milestone implementation
- Provides a feature for Project Managers to identify problem areas for improvement points
- Not recommended if you are not well aware of Project Management software
- Support is only by its own forum
8. Zoho projects:
Zoho projects provide a feature to have as many users as required but with limited storage of 10MB, though there are not any features unavailable for free usage. Extended storage is upgradable at an additional cost.
- Has an intuitive layout as like Facebook
- Best features for Waterfall followers, as like Gantt charts and milestone completions
- Provides timesheets and reporting feature
- The biggest disadvantage is the document storage capacity of 10MB, after upgrade to mere 5GB
- On the open-source version, it can be used only for one project
From the list of all open-source software, 2-Plan Project Management software stands out unique because of its 3 free features – Desktop, Web-based and Scrum-based task management boards for any number of projects.
- The desktop version itself provides graphical WBS, project milestones, top-down and bottom-up planning.
- Easier coordination with off-site teams with time tracking tasks
- Extensive sets of manuals for setup
- An open-source version of the tool can be limiting on the number of features for full Project Management tasks
- Team size limited to 3 resources and 2 Taskboards on a free version
One of the best open-source project management tools which focus only on the Agile way of development. The open-source version is limited to only one private project (unlimited public projects) and limited to 4 resources to collaborate. There are no limitations on the usage of the Open-source version of the tool.
- Available for an Agile way of software development (Kanban, Scrum)
- Provisions backlogs, user stories
- Sleek, customizable
- It provides video-conferencing and a built-in wiki.
- One private project
- Limited to only four resources to collaborate
- No support for Gantt charts
In this article, we have tried to understand the need for a project management software firstly and how effective a project manager becomes if there is a unanimous tool being used within an organization.
To provide a brief gist use either Bitrix24 or FreedCamp as your first choice for Project Management if you’re free to choose the tool for your Organization. You can use Tiaga if you are limited to an agile way of development or Wrike for smaller teams to collaborate without compromising on the Project Management tool features as compared with the other tools as such.