Friday, March 18, 2011

8 Open Source Project Management Tools

Project development stagesImage via WikipediaOne of the consequences of a depressed economy in a college work environment is the pursuit of and reliance on more grants. And multiple grants means that project management is all the more important. I will be looking at open source project management tools over this weekend and I am specifically looking for scalable software that can be used by a worker in a one-person department or a small group, and eventually be able to grow with the department or the college. The criteria that I am using right now for reviewing project management software is that it has to be open source, user friendly, and scalable. We are not interested in anything that is supposedly "free" but handled by a commercial company. Our experience is that when we use free tools, they go away when the company is sold or folds. That is the inherent instability and unreliability of commercial software in this economy. Who thought we would be looking to open source for stability? Project management will help us keep track of projects, assist in reporting out to grants, and help manage multiple due dates and time lines.

Collabtive is web-based project management software. The project was started in November 2007. It is Open Source software and provides an alternative to proprietary tools like Basecamp. Collabtive is written in PHP and JavaScript. Collabtive is intended for small to medium-sized businesses and freelancers. We offer commercial services for installation and customization of Collabtive. It can also be installed on an internal server as well as in the cloud. All major browsers like Internet Explorer (7/8), Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome are supported. Collabtive is developed by a team of professional volunteers. Everyone involved is a pro in their respective areas, providing high quality contributions to the project.

"dotProject is a volunteer supported Project Management application. There is no "company" behind this project, it is managed, maintained, developed and supported by a volunteer group and by the users themselves."

Project Management LifecycleImage by Ivan Walsh via FlickrGanntProject
"GanttProject is a cross-platform desktop tool for project scheduling and management. It runs on Windows, Linux and MacOSX, it is free and its code is open source."

Project HQ
Project HQ is a collaborative open source project management tool, similar to Basecamp and activeCollab. Project HQ is built on open source technologies like Python, Pylons and SQLAlchemy and is fully database independent. Project HQ uses a structured workflow to assist you in managing your projects."

"Projectivity is an Open Source Enterprise Management Platform combining unique tools for:

  • Portfolio Management
  • Project Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Collaboration   
The Projectivity Platform makes the implementation and running of an Enterprise Management Application an easy task. Projectivity is what you decide it to be and can fulfil your specific needs."
Projectory is an open source, platform-independent, web-enabled project management tool designed to track software projects through all phases of development. Where traditional project management software is primarily useful only for planning and reporting purposes, Projectory lets you track actual development effort expended by teams or individuals across multiple projects and activities. It's easy to configure for small or large software development groups, and its streamlined user interface."

"ProjectPier is a Free, Open-Source, PHP application for managing tasks, projects and teams through an intuitive web interface. It must be downloaded and installed on your own web server. ProjectPier will help your organization communicate, collaborate and get things done Its function is similar to commercial groupware/project management products, but allows the freedom and scalability of self-hosting. Even better, it will always be free."

"TaskJuggler is a modern and powerful, Free and Open Source Software project management tool. Its new approach to project planing and tracking is more flexible and superior to the commonly used Gantt chart editing tools. It has already been successfully used in many projects and scales easily to projects with hundreds of resources and thousands of tasks."

If you are using project management as a consultant (single user) or as a small dept., we would love to hear back from you with your suggestions. Thanks!
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  1. Are the folks at your institution prepared to do time tracking, or already seriously doing it? I went through this process a few years back, and all of the business-oriented solutions really required time tracking on the part of individual workers or the whole thing seemed to fall apart.

    We didn't have the management push to require FT staff to track time spent on projects (*sigh*), so I opted for a more task-oriented system for managing our software projects (Trac -

  2. Very informative blog post. May be we use these project management tools for our welfare, causes or for our business.

  3. I have been using DotProject for a few years now and it is nice, but doesn't completely suit our needs. I am now looking at SmartSheets. It isn't open source, but I really do like the forms and communication features.

  4. Hi Andy

    You should take a look at ProjeLead. It a very simple pm software that also offers collaboration features (document management, newsgroups, notifications, timesheets, calendar, gantt, etc...)

    The open source version is pretty rich and more than enough for a standard needs.


    Good luck!

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  6. Thanks for sharing this interesting and informative post. These Project Management tools are very useful and helps business to reach its desired success.It helps to allocate and manage project resources, roles, and responsibilities and limit the rights to access projects to required persons only. Keep posting similar article. I like to read them.