How to Start Project Management Practice with Open Source Software?

How to Start Project Management Practice with Open Source Software

Setting up a Project Management Office has become one of the top priorities for companies in 2020.

Necessity to innovate and deliver almost at a reckless speed has become the norm. No one is exempted from it. Be it enterprises or the ones that are just setting shop. The ability to meet customer demands is the key to survival.

The mad rush that would ensue to stay ahead of the competition will require a lot of planning and organization to not lose sight of the end-goal.

This is where having a robust PMO becomes a critical success factor. And having a well-rounded project management software is the first step.

Choosing just any available project management and collaboration tool wouldn’t do. It has to be a highly conscious decision keeping in mind

  • License costs
  • Cost of ownership
  • Adoption & learning curve involved
  • Capabilities’ flexibility for alignment with your business
  • Support & upgrades

Whether you are starting up or an established market player you surely cannot afford to spend time and money without an acceptable ROI.

Open Source Project Management software present a great low cost &convenient alternative.

Primarily for quite a few reasons:

  • They are free with no license costs. The costs are only that of hosting.
  • You can start small and scale as needed.
  • Associated costs are only that of hosting.
  • Freedom to tailor it to your specific business needs.
  • Total ownership of the code, your improvements and data.

Well, let us dig a little deeper and take a quick look into the practical implications involved with implementation of open source software (OSS) like Orangescrum.

Based on our experience with our customers, a typical implementation flow is as follows.

Step1: Google Search for an open source project management tool.

Get going with a simple search for open source project management tools. You can’t help but find Orangescrum in the top 5 rankings of your search results including references to various blogs.

Pick the one that makes sense to you and get going.

For e.g. Orangescrum is a highly popular open source project & task management tool with a high ranking on the google search results.

“And over a 1,000,000 downloads are a testimony to that.”

Our customers download the free version to get going with their project management needs. There are a host of help documents, FAQs and installation guides for platforms of your choice for a very smooth installation & setup.

And, if by any chance they still encounter issues and need help, they can always rely on our “strong support suite” for prompt and successful resolution.

Step2: Explore the tool and perform fit-gap analysis

Once you have installed the chosen tool, start with a small group of users from your team.

Run a couple of quick projects with tasks, assign them to the team and see how things work.

You may have some specific requirements around task management. E.g.

  • Estimated hours
  • Start date and End date
  • Assign To
  • Attachments
  • Title and description

And before that you may also need to break your project into manageable modules (milestones). So go ahead and bring one of your project plans alive in the tool.

“Check for the auto-notifications, email alerts, available filters and task progress reports to assess how supportive the tool is of your project flow.”

Let the team members play around with the tool. Even better if they want to get their hands dirty with the code. Tailor the theme, look and feel to your company colours and preference.

This will give you a good idea of the tool’s capability, the code standard and security.

Now remember, don’t be greedy. You are using an open source software and it may not offer the whole range of enterprise ready features in the free version.

This takes us to the next step.

Step3: Look for available features & add-ons

As the evaluation and trial progresses, you are bound to come across specific requirements in terms of:

  • Time tracking, timesheets
  • Resource Management (allocation, utilization, availability)
  • Desktop notifications, in-app chat, custom reminders & alerts
  • Extensive KPI & project metric reports, portfolio dashboards
  • Task automation, custom task status, workflows
  • Document mgmt., bug tracking
  • Custom built features or add-ons

It is important that when you choose an open source project collaboration tool, do research on its inbuilt and future capabilities and feature offerings.

Because investing efforts and time into building a software from scratch isn’t wise and will lead to loss of the planned competitive edge & cost savings. Remember it is not your forte either.

It also takes the focusaway from your primary business.

So what do you do?

Step4: Review support, implement and scale at will

First turn to the available features (paid or via community) of your chosen software. Test them out and see how they meet your requirements.

Request a demo of the full featured version. Explore a possibility of a free trial on the cloud or on premise if possible.

Test their support. Look for available documentation, videos and user manuals.

Ask to run your specific use cases through the tool. See how adaptable the extended features are with your processes.

Do focus on the ease of use and associated learning curve.

You stand to gain the most as there is no vendor lock-in and helping you win is also in the best interest of the vendor.

Conclusion

Open source software work out as a fine investment because of the facts that

  • The base with key features are free and act as a good starting point.
  • You avoid upfront investment in case your team isn’t ready for a tool yet.
  • Absolute freedom to try multiple tools until you find the right fit.
  • Your tech team are well supported by a strong community of open source developers if & when needed.
  • You can easily get quite a few features as contributions from a global talent pool.
  • Data privacy, security and ownership is entirely in your control.
  • The costs if any are usually one time and hence no vendor lock-in.

You have all the freedom, capability and the support you need to make your teams productive & enable end to end collaboration on a single platform.

Minimum distractions, more outcomes for your business.

So what’s your story with the adoption of any open source project management tool lately?

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