This article is going to introduce you to the best available open source project management softwares. 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).
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
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 sub tasks 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 on 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.
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
Pretty smooth design
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.
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 a best open source software choice, which offers its free services for a maximum of 5 users and with a limited storage space of 2GB. 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 free version, time tracking and real time reports
Doesn’t provide 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 into 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
Zoho projects provides a feature to have as many users as required but with a 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
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.
Desktop version itself provides graphical WBS, project milestones, top-down and bottom-up planning.
Easier coordination with off-site teams with time tracking on tasks
Extensive sets of manuals for setup
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 free version
One of the best open source project management tools which focuses only on Agile way of development. Open source version is limited to only one private project (unlimited public projects) and limited to 4 resources to collaborate. There is no limitations on the usage on the Open source version of the tool.
Available for Agile way of software development (Kanban, Scrum)
Provisions backlogs, user stories
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 of 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.
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