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Managing a project of any type is not an easy task. It involves resources planning, task assignment, following schedules and assuring everyone sticks to the deadline. Remote work became much more interesting after the COVID-19 crisis, which made it hard for project managers to coordinate and manage team members all over the world.

This is why project management tools are essential in 2021.

Several open source project management tools have matured enough to be able to compete with proprietary software. Being fully customizable and supported by the community is an important feature in open source PM tools since every project is unique in its core, and both the projects manager and his tools should be as adaptive as possible to avoid failure.

Today, we’ll check some of the best open source project management programs in the market.

Open Source project Management Tools

1. Leantime

Open Source project management 21 July 31, 2021

Leantime is a complete web-based open source project management tool. It is not just a tool that follows the Lean methodology as the name suggests, but it has a lot of other agile features included in it as well.

Built with PHP, Leantime is not only stable but also has intuitive interfaces. It is also often updated by developers, thus it is always up-to-date with new features.

Leantime is released under the GPL-2.0 License.

Features

  • Arguably beautiful user interface.
  • Includes research manager and idea manager services.
  • Provides roadmap feature assisted with Gantt charts to manage milestones effectively.
  • Employs smart algorithms to adjust task priorities according to the deadline.
  • Supports linear and non-linear design thinking in making projects.
  • Can be integrated with Slack and Mattermost easily.
  • Provides client management features.
  • Ideal for startup teams and companies who work according to agile (and Lean) methodology.
  • Supports two-factor authentication.
  • Supports English, Spanish, Dutch and Russian languages.

Installation

The official documentation provides steps for installing Leantime for production and development environments. Leantime is nothing more than a PHP script (Along with some npm/Javascript dependencies), and hence, configuring PHP and MySQL databases would be enough to run it on any server.

Alternatively, a Docker image exists for development environments.

Check our Leantime review for more information about this software.

2. OpenProject

Open Source project management 23 July 31, 2021

OpenProject is a web-based open source project management tool that combines agile and scrum functionalities. Its stunning dashboard allows project managers to monitor progress in each task with ease along with Gantt charts and many other useful diagrams for project development.

OpenProject uses the concept of workers. The first type of workers is web workers which handle HTTP requests, whereas the second type is the backend workers which do offload tasks. There are 4 web workers by default accompanied by a single backend worker. If you have a big team you might need to increase this number, but be sure to have enough CPU power available for them to do their job.

OpenProject is built with Ruby on Rails, which gives a great performance, along with the handsome Angular to give it the good looks, there is no doubt that it is one of the best open source project management tools out there.

OpenProject is available under the GNU General Public Licence v3.

Features

  • Very modern and simple to use user interfaces.
  • Time tracking functions for tasks and users.
  • Numerous agile features such as sprints prioritizing and task tracking.
  • Issue and bug tracking.
  • Scrum backlogs management with task boards.
  • Compatible with GDPR standard by design.
  • Great reporting tools for time schedules, costs, and budgeting.

Installation

OpenProject is available for you to install in three ways:

  1. The first one is using the DEB/RPM packages which is the most common method.
  2. The second method is by using Docker to install it, but this is mainly done in development environments.
  3. The final method to install OpenProject is to use the Univention Corporate Server (UCS), where OpenProject comes in its software center.

Further information about installation can be found on the official website.

3. ProjectLibre

Open Source project management 25 July 31, 2021

No one can deny that MS Project is a great project management tool, but it isn’t free nor open source. With ProjectLibre, you get almost the exact same features but basically for free, thanks for it being open source. ProjectLibre markets itself as the “#1 Microsoft Project alternative”.

It is a strong competitor to the other management tools in this list, with 5,200,000 downloads from over 200 countries around the world.

ProjectLibre is built with Java with good design, so you can count on it to handle work pressure. It is released under the CPAL licence and available for installation on Windows, Linux and, Mac.

Features

  • Complete MS Project compatibility, making the migration process to this software much easier.
  • PERT Charts for a better representation of a project timeline.
  • Earned value costing support.
  • WBS/RBS diagrams to help the project manager better understand the project structure.
  • Used by major brands such as Cisco, AMD, IBM, and others.
  • Available on Windows, Linux, and macOS, thanks for being built by Java.
  • Supports around 20 display languages.

Installation

ProjectLibre can be installed directly from SourceForge according to your operating system. The installation process is very straightforward and doesn’t require any special directions.

You’ll just need Java to be installed of course, before you can use it.

4. Zentao

Open Source project management 27 July 31, 2021

A promising innovative open source project management tool. Zentao gives you control of your data and provides many useful APIs that help developers customize the system based on their needs, you can think of it as an API-driven system.

The open source version of Zentao lacks many great features when compared to the paid version but if you have a good development team, then you can build the system according to your requirements.

Zentao is built with PHP, so installing it will not trouble you at all.

Zentao is available under LGPL license, and can be installed on Windows, macOS and Linux.

Features

  • Project tracking in more than a single view.
  • Kanban/Agile support is available.
  • Provides document and feedback management.
  • Provides Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) critical functions.
  • Projects and milestones management.
  • Supports product release management.
  • Bug tracking and test case management.
  • The open-source version has limited Git/SVN Support.

Installation

The official website provides instructions for installing the application on the three major operating system. There are also instructions for upgrading your system if you are not a first-time user.

Like any other PHP script such as WordPress, MySQL and PHP is all what you need to deploy it.

5. MyCollab

Open Source project management 29 July 31, 2021

For medium and small businesses, MyCollab is a just-enough open source project management tool. It comes in the form of premium and open source versions, where the open source version lacks many features in the premium plan. Hence, you can either go for their premium plan or just use the open source version as it is (or develop it by yourself, if you want.

Being built with Java makes MyCollab available on any operating system that runs a JVM.

It is available under AGPL 3 License.

Features

  • Agile-driven project management features by default.
  • Providing tasks and dependency management.
  • Roadmap management along with Issue tracking and management.
  • A solid reporting tool.
  • People and permission management.
  • Activity stream and audit logging.
  • A stunning Kanban dashboard.

Installation

Mycollab can be easily installed as it only requires MySQL along with the binaries that can be downloaded from the official git repository.

Details about the installation can be found here.

Conclusion

There are many open source management tools that a project manager can choose from. Most of them are rich of features and can be used directly with any project, or even customized to meet the special cases whenever needed.

Open source tools are no longer “secondary” tools that are only used when no budget is available to purchase premium ones, instead, they are taking over the entire proprietary software market, and becoming the default mainstream option, thanks for being full of features and and being high-quality as we have seen in this list article.

See other open source tools, such as open source EMR software or open source VPN software.

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