Open Source Project Management software



  • I'm looking for any reccomendations or hear about experiences on some opensource Project Management Software..  something similar to basecamp, but it needs to be opensource, and best if it is LAMP based, or something that can be setup on a shared hosting enviroment. 

    I see there are lots of options like dotproject, achievo,  activcollab, etc.. but I want to avoid the oscommerce trauma I have from my childhood, so I thought I'd ask around first.

    FWIW, this will be implemented on an advertising company with about 40 employees, with only one web developer whom only knows PHP-javascript, and will be responsible for the system, and does not want this adventure to become a nightmare. 



  • My experience with open source project management software has been largely negative, whether as a standalone application or as a web app.  I always end up using Microsoft Project because there is simply nothing else that can compete with it.  I say this having written a few web-based MS Project clones myself.  If you want something like Basecamp there are probably a few PHP clones of it out there, but IMHO Basecamp is one of the worst pieces of software I have ever used.  I don't know if you've used it extensively, but an Excel spreadsheet is a better project management solution than Basecamp.  On the other hand, if you really are looking for something like Basecamp, why not just pay to have 37 Signals host it for you?  IIRC, it's not that expensive and it's pretty easy to get up and running.



  • Standalone open source PM software includes:

    GanttProject

    Open Workbench

    Personally, I prefer GanttProject for its ease of use; Open Workbenchs seems a bit oversized for my needs.



  • The company i work for uses and develops Achievo, which is a open source web based project management system.

    http://www.achievo.org/



  •  Isn't Tinderbox from Mozilla something like that?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I always end up using Microsoft Project because there is simply nothing else that can compete with it.
     

    That reminds me a story I've heard from Joel Spolsky a couple of months ago:

    In the middle-90's at the Office development team at Microsoft, the management dared to start asking developers questions like "'what do you think guys, when will be you ready with the next release?" and the answer was the usual "It's done when it's done."

    Management: "You see guys, the marketing people really need to know when are we going to ship and stuff"
    Dev. Team: "Oh, but we can't estimate it, it's way too complicated"
    Management: "Don't you guys have a project management tool... Like Microsoft Project?"

    So the Office development team put the project into Microsoft Project. When they printed it, it was something like 300 pages long and it estimated that it's going to take 30,000 years to complete.

    That's how the Microsoft Office Team got a special permission to not use Microsoft Project.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    My experience with open source project management software has been largely negative, whether as a standalone application or as a web app.  I always end up using Microsoft Project because there is simply nothing else that can compete with it.  I say this having written a few web-based MS Project clones myself.  If you want something like Basecamp there are probably a few PHP clones of it out there, but IMHO Basecamp is one of the worst pieces of software I have ever used.  I don't know if you've used it extensively, but an Excel spreadsheet is a better project management solution than Basecamp.  On the other hand, if you really are looking for something like Basecamp, why not just pay to have 37 Signals host it for you?  IIRC, it's not that expensive and it's pretty easy to get up and running.

     

    No Microsoft Project. Half the stations here are Mac (is there a mac version?), and there is no network admin, so there is no network. They haven't even setup a decent Work group with the Windows machines.. There is a lot of people running around with Pendrives, there is not even a file server or anything like that. Backups? Well I do burn my DVD's once a week, and most of my stuff is on the webserver anyway, but I heard designers have actually cried when their harddrive failed.  Yes, is that bad.. and I don't want or need that hassle. I'm a web developer. I'm already going out of my way explaining people how to burn DVD's or how to use WinZip, and telling that I do websites and have no clue as how to repair a monitor. 

    Also If the bosses are too cheap to pay $200 bucks on basecamps (That answers your last questions), I don't think they'll pay for MS Project license. 

    One of the managers saw this sceneario and thought it was not right, and asked me what I thought could help. I had actually worked with Basecamp in my former job, and I thought it worked pretty good for our small team. It did have a few issues, but it helped keeping stuff organized, which is basically what I was asked for.

    Manager: "How do we organize this mess?"

    Me: "mmm.. I know a couple of.."

    Manager Interrupting: "No budget, only resource is man hours." 

    So here I am. 

     



  • @fatdog said:

    Manager Interrupting: "No budget, only resource is man hours." 

    So here I am. 

     

    If you're going for a "best of the sidebar" feature, you're posting in the wrong forum :)

    When you mentioned project management, the V-Model tools came to mind.. "The V-model is used to regulate the software development process within
    the German federal administration. Nowadays it is still the standard
    for German federal administration and defence projects, as well as software developers within in the region."

    The tools are open source and cross platform (java), but I don't know which parts are available in english. I also don't think these tools will help you do what you want (wiki/bugtracker), as it's meant to define a software development process / customize the V-Model software engineering process to fit a project / company.

    As far as bug trackers go, I like the software used by the ruby community: http://redmine.ruby-lang.org/ -- I haven't used it as a developer though.

    I do know the TWiki system, which is an excellent (perl and flat-file based) Wiki with a very nice issue tracker included. http://twiki.org/ and http://develop.twiki.org/~twiki4/cgi-bin/view/Bugs/WebHome

    I'm pretty sure you can set up your own instance of sourceforge.net, berlios.de or tigris.org (which apparently runs software called collab.net which has a product called sourceforge which has an enterprice version which is free for 15 users. you try to make sense of that.) Doesn't  apache.org roll their own portal too? (Yes, they do, and they use three bug trackers, two of which they maintain. http://www.apache.org/dev/services.html )

    Lastly, you can go through this list of issue trackers and see if any one of them makes you happy :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_issue_tracking_systems



  • @fatdog said:

    Manager Interrupting: "No budget, only resource is man hours."

    Well, the solution is obvious.  Go out and buy World of Warcraft with your own money and set up a subscription.  Then spend your days gold pharming and reselling the gold for real life money.  Not only will you recoup initial costs, but you will make enough extra money to purchase a subscription to Basecamp.  Then you can use Basecamp to organize your coworkers into pharming teams, allowing the company to actually turn a profit.



  • ammoQ:
    Thanks for the suggestions, but no standalone, it has to be installed on the webserver (shared hosting).

    morb:
    I don't think your suggestions is productive enough, I've never played WOW, but my guess is that it will take too long to collect all that gold, besides it's boring. With Pokerstars and online blackjack I get to double the income every couple of hands, I will have a lot of fun at work, and after a few satellite tournaments I'd be able to spend my next vacations on Vegas playing the WPT.

     



  • @fatdog said:

    ammoQ:
    Thanks for the suggestions, but no standalone, it has to be installed on the webserver (shared hosting).
     

    The webserver that has no networking?



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @fatdog said:

    ammoQ:
    Thanks for the suggestions, but no standalone, it has to be installed on the webserver (shared hosting).
     

    The webserver that has no networking?

    Shared hosting implies they are using some Internet-based hosting service.  I still don't understand how the users can access the Internet but don't have a network, though. 



  •  @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    The webserver that has no networking?

    Sorry If I wasn't clear enough, I've been told I tend to fall into a comma when I write stuff.

    By webserver I mean a shared hosting plan were they (we) host the company website.

    See, the plan is: Install the opensource on the shared hosting, do a tryout for a small project with a small team, for a small time. If managements feels it's going to work, they will try to apply it to the whole company, then we get to ask for a fucking decent network. 

    If the plan fails, all that would have been lost was my time.

     

     



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Shared hosting implies they are using some Internet-based hosting service.  I still don't understand how the users can access the Internet but don't have a network, though. 

     

    No one knows how to set it up. Network drives, workgroups? That's rocket science around here. I tell you there are no backup system, or any kind of procedure for anything. Everything is email based, and sent through attachments or pendrives.  They don't know you can connect one computer to another. Of course when I mention it was possible I was told "really? But how about the Macs?"...  

    Of course I'm not allowed to touch or configure any PC (not that I want to get into that). I also want to stay in my comfort zone. And I'm sure that any change in the way people do things around here should be sugarcoated with facebook flavour, or it's going to fail.  



  • @fatdog said:

    Sorry If I wasn't clear enough, I've been told I tend to fall into a comma when I write stuff.

    The Button is awarded to posts that drip with delicious irony.



  • @fatdog said:

    No one knows how to set it up. Network drives, workgroups? That's rocket science around here. I tell you there are no backup system, or any kind of procedure for anything. Everything is email based, and sent through attachments or pendrives.  They don't know you can connect one computer to another. Of course when I mention it was possible I was told "really? But how about the Macs?"...  

    Of course I'm not allowed to touch or configure any PC (not that I want to get into that). I also want to stay in my comfort zone. And I'm sure that any change in the way people do things around here should be sugarcoated with facebook flavour, or it's going to fail.

    Okay, so you have a network, just not any network services or resources, right?  Otherwise each computer would have its own DSL line or something stupid like that. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Okay, so you have a network, just not any network services or resources, right?  Otherwise each computer would have its own DSL line or something stupid like that. 

     

    Yes there is a network, with that thing with all the cables coming in and out and the blinking lights that let people connect to facebook and youtube.



  • @fatdog said:

    See, the plan is: Install the opensource on the shared hosting, do a tryout for a small project with a small team, for a small time. If managements feels it's going to work, they will try to apply it to the whole company, then we get to ask for a fucking decent network. 

    If the plan fails, all that would have been lost was my time. 

     

    To be honest this sounds like absolutely nothing will work.  Every project management system will need to have time invested in it, and for the first few projects (especially small ones) it will feel like added bagage. Project management systems aren't meant to be used on one small project. They are meant to be used on a lot of projects, preferably large enough that you need a project management system to get a insight into what the status is and whats going wrong.

    Take one of the key features of most project management systems. Time tracking. There are roughly two basic ways to do that, either its free form or its pre-configured per project. 

    The free form version is easiest for the project manager, the developers can freely define what they have been doing on what project and how long they have been doing that. However taking someone who has never had to do time tracking, this will quite often result in him being really accurate about what he has done in the first weeks but will slowely disolve into "i worked 8 hours on project X". Which is pretty much useless.

    The fixed form version is a lot more work for the project manager, because he will need to define the sub-tasks for a given project so that developers can book their hours on it. Given a average project manager who has never done this however, he will probebly begin with too specific tasks/modules. Resulting in developers bugging him because the thing they did wasn't pre-defined and now they can't book their hours. Then the project manager will create a "other tasks" category and low and behold at the end of the month 80% of all hours where in that category. Which is pretty much useless.

    The above is not to demonstrate or imply that time tracking is broken, but to show that project management systems shouldn't just be thrown into a small project to see how they fair. Using such a system requires you to invest time into it, to find the perfect balance that works for your specific company, and hopefully this initial investment will eventually result in having a better insight into your projects.

    Now having said that, i would suggest basecamp for you. Normally i would recommend achievo, like i did above, but achievo is much too advanced for what you are describing. If your interested you can of course take a look at the demo

     

     



  •  @stratos said:

    ...

    Well, as I said if it doesn't work, then all that will be lost will be my time. Of course I think you are reading this with a developer perspective in a developement enviroment, and are probably thinking of a more complicated scenario. This is small Ad Agency, and even all of Basecamp features will be overkill for what we might try to implement around here. That's why I mentioned it in my OP. 

    Anyway I have already tried dotproject, PHPprojekt, and Project-Pier.  I've decided to go with Project-Pier. It's shorter in features, but for me thats a good thing, and has exactly what I need .

    The whole package seems well planed and organized. At a first glance it is no way near the nightmare mess of OScommerce. In about half an hour I was able to install and change the whole look and feel completely without any hassles. And I think our facebookers could learn it pretty fast.

    I'll go try this move. In the worst case, it might result in a Sidebar post about dumb users or dumber management. 



  • Not exactly sure if this will satisfy your needs, but Trac works as a all-in-one web-based interface to your bug-tracker, source control, some light project planning, and a wiki-based project page.


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