This article was updated on October 18, 2022.
If you ask project managers what they dream of, they will most likely answer that they would like to get some sleep and that the product management process proceeds calmly and smoothly. So that the entire path from concept to release was without shifts in deadlines, changes in the scope of work, etc. But it always exists only in theory, but in reality, you need to be ready for anything. And experience, knowledge, and management skills do not always save in any situation. Therefore, it is so important to use universal and specialized project management tools and services that greatly facilitate PM tasks.
How do you choose the tools that are really worth it? Let's imagine a working toolbox. Now we will open it and pull out the most tested and versatile, which are suitable for both a beginner and a professional. Plus, they're open-source!
But before starting, we need to define what project management software is and why you need them.
What is a project management tool?
A project management tool is designed specially to help improve your team’s productivity and ensure projects are delivered on time with quality. Some of the common deals of a project manager include:
- Project planning
- Scheduling tasks
- Reporting and analytics
- Adding resources and work artifacts
- Tracking progress
- Creating roadmaps
- Bug tracking
Project managers who need process efficiency, namely, to make the product quality and competitive, then they can turn to open-source project management tools.
What are the benefits of using open-source software?
Open-source software has some advantages over proprietary software. First, it is usually free to use. This can save organizations a significant amount of money, especially if they need to use multiple licenses for different employees. Second, open-source software is typically more customizable than proprietary software. This means that organizations can tailor the software to fit their specific needs better. Finally, open-source software often has a large and active community of users who can provide support and advice when needed.
The drawbacks of using open-source software
While open-source software has many advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. First, open-source software can be more difficult to use than proprietary software because it is often less user-friendly. This can be a problem for organizations that do not have the resources or expertise to configure and troubleshoot the software properly. Second, open-source software may not be as reliable as proprietary software because it is not subject to the same quality control standards. This means that there is a greater chance that bugs and security vulnerabilities will go unnoticed in open-source software. Finally, open-source software may not receive as much support from its developers as proprietary software because the developers are not motivated by profits.
How to choose the right open-source management software for your project?
Consider your project’s requirements.
When considering which open-source project management software to use for your project, the first step is to take a close look at your project’s specific requirements. What features does your project need? What kind of budget do you have? How complex is your project?
There are a number of different factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right software for your project. But by assessing your project’s specific needs, you can narrow down the field and choose the best option for your particular case.
Compare different open-source planning software options.
Once you know what you need from your planning software, you can start comparing different options. There are some ways to compare software, but one helpful method is to create a table on Capterra or G2 that lists each piece of software along with its key features or use. This can help you quickly identify which software has the features you need and which doesn’t.
Another important factor to consider is price. Some open-source planning software is completely free, while others charge a fee for certain features or levels of support. Be sure to factor in price when making your comparisons so that you can choose the most affordable option for your project.
Choose the right software for your project.
After comparing different options and narrowing down the field, it’s time to make a decision and choose the right open-source project management tool for your project. Once again, take a close look at your specific requirements and make sure that the software you select meets all of them. If possible, try out different pieces of software before making a final decision so that you can get a feel for how they work and whether they fit well with your workflow.
Self-hosted project management tools
One final point to consider is whether you want to use a self-hosted or cloud-based project management tool. Self-hosted tools are installed on your server, which gives you more control over security and privacy. However, they can be more expensive and complex to set up and maintain. Cloud-based tools are hosted by the vendor and typically require a monthly subscription fee. They’re often easier to use and don’t require as much technical knowledge to set up, but you may have less control over your data.
What to look for in an online project management tool?
We can easily compose a list of six features of project management tools that are essential to use.
1. Kanban board
A kanban board is a visual representation of a project, and it's very helpful in project management. It is composed of a simple board and card system with individual tasks, so everyone in the team visualizes all of the activities happening in the project.
Kanban has been widely used in various sectors for the last couple of decades. This board can be created in various physical and digital spaces.
2. Task management
A project consists of multiple tasks that must be completed in order to reach a single goal. Each task is assigned to a specific person or group of people on the project team. The more complex and voluminous the project, the more tasks and stages are needed. It is like a staircase where you cannot go upstairs without taking a step up a step.
This is why task planning is so important. This is one of the key responsibilities of a project manager. And without auxiliary tools, it is quite difficult to establish processes and monitor their execution.
3. To-do lists
The old-school to-do list is a great tool to help keep track of all the tasks that your team needs to complete. Most effective if It can be stored in a central location so that everyone can easily access it.
A project management tool should have a to-do list that everyone can check in on. This will allow them to see what's been done and what's left to do.
4. Time tracker
Each aspect of a project takes time. And sometimes, it can be hard to know how much time each team member spent on a given task. It gets harder to track when you have a similar project coming up, and it’s not exactly clear how much time you should allot to each task. Having a good time tracker helps you keep track of all of your team’s time and helps you carefully plan ahead. In other words, it's like a chronicle. You record information and data that will help you in the future. And it also helps the team to stay focused and not stretch tasks over long periods.
A good project management tool with collaboration is also important for successful project completion. It should be synchronized with all work platforms. So team members can collaborate seamlessly and have real-time updates, channels of communication, notifications, and space to note work artifacts.
Projects are made of many moving parts. A good project management system provides features that help analyze the impact of various factors on a project. As a result, the project manager can keep track of all the changes in order to keep track of the overall schedule.
7. Detailed Reporting
Reports are often the best way to keep track of the projects' status. They provide a strategic overview of the team's performance and are usually compiled in a structured document. Usually, the project manager prepares reports by the end of two weeks or a month. And project management tool compiles all data about schedules, goals, team performance, resources, budget in one place. Sometimes software tools have standard reporting features, but mostly you can customize them to your project needs.
Now we can move on to the most important thing, to the reason why you opened this article. We present you a comprehensive list of top open-source project management tools.
Here you can find a short description, special features, and official websites. You can easily find a solution fit for your work.
The best open-source project management tools
OpenProject is an open-source project management tool that gives you complete control over your data and its storage. It's also a hybrid cloud-based system that works seamlessly across various platforms. It's built to be an efficient and effective tool that will allow you to work more efficiently.
Its features have a modern UI that enables users to organize and visualize their work, allowing them to share plans and goals with their team members.
What are the features of OpenProject?
- Project planning and scheduling;
- Task management;
- Team collaboration;
- Product roadmap and release planning;
- Agile and Scrum;
- Accessibility mode;
- Bug tracking;
- Time tracking, cost reporting, and budgeting.
With the help of an open-source project management tool called Orangescrum, you can easily create and manage complex projects and get your teams on track to finish them on time. It helps you plan and execute all of your strategies efficiently. Scrum and Kanban for real-time task management are included in this project management software, which is available in the cloud, self-hosted cloud, and open-source editions. Use task reminders, configurable task status, bug and problem tracking, and document management to improve your workflow.
What are the features of Orangescrum?
- Task management;
- Reports & analytics;
- Project planning;
- Visual representation;
- Dropbox + Google Drive integrations;
- Gantt charts;
- An interactive summary of projects;
- Real-time updates.
ProjectLibre is the open-source and the most popular alternative to Microsoft Project. Gantt charts, network diagrams, earned-value costing, multi-project resource histograms, and work-breakdown structures are some of the key features of the platform. It is cloud-based that allows teams to collaborate and manage all the projects in one space. The software is easy to use and user-friendly.
What are the features of ProjectLibre?
- Task management;
- Budget management;
- Project management;
- Milestone tracking;
- Resource management;
- Cost-to-Completion tracking;
- Customizable templates;
- Gantt/Timeline view.
Taiga is an open-source project and portfolio management tool that features a variety of features such as planning, tracking, and reporting. It works seamlessly with various other tools, such as Slack. Also, it has fully-customized Kanban boards. With Taiga, you can easily monitor and manage the status of the project, as well as the resources needed to complete it. It has an easy-to-use interface that will help improve the way you work and deliver projects.
What are the features of Taiga?
- Kanban board;
- Progress tracking;
- Project planning;
- Release planning;
- Request management;
- Sprint planning;
- Backlog management;
- Collaboration tools;
- Dependency tracking;
- Iteration management;
- KPI monitoring;
- Milestone tracking.
Leantime is an open-source project management tool that perfectly suits small businesses and start-ups. That's because Leantime is based on the fundamentals of lean, agile, and design thinking. It provides multiple features to implement projects from idea creation to its realization. Here you can find the Kanban board, timesheet and calendar, timesheet management, project dashboards, reports, and integration with Slack.
What are the features of Leantime?
- Agile Methodologies
- Kanban Board
- Time & Expense Tracking
- Collaboration Tools
- Gantt/Timeline View
- Idea Management
- Milestone Tracking
- Client Portal
- Portfolio Management
Open-source planning software is a great option if you're looking for a project management tool to help with your next project. A good project management tool simplifies the tasks involved in planning, managing, and monitoring projects. It lets everyone know who is working on what and when, and it provides a transparent record of all project activities.
Getting the right project management software can be challenging, especially if you only learn how to use it. It's important to consider the type of work that you want to do and how many people are involved in the organization when choosing a tool for your team.
With the help of a project management tool, team managers and business owners can deliver projects on time and within budget.