What is Open Source Project Management?

Open source project management is a class of computer software used by information technology professionals. Open source programs provide access to the source code for free. These products are developed through a collaborative process with programmers and developers able to contribute and correct the actual product. Project management software includes a standard set of features, such as resource allocation, time line planning, and milestone identification.

When using an open source project management tool, there are three items that must be considered: security, access to data, and functionality. Open source programs allow anyone access to the source code. A skilled programmer can modify the code to meet specific user needs. If this type of software is used for a professional project, then steps must be taken to restrict access by people with malicious intentions. Most organizations overcome this challenge with the installation of a firewall or user accounts.

Access to data is an important consideration when looking at open source solutions. Ideally, the software product is downloaded and installed on a local machine or computer. The data entered is maintained on the local computer and is only accessible through the software after providing the appropriate security information. If the data is stored on a remote server or service, access to it can be lost or restricted if the firm stops operating or doesn’t receive payment as required.

The functionality provided with an open source project management system is often very comparable to the private market products. Take the time to identity what features you are most likely to use, and explore them in detail. Many software tools appear to meet user needs at a superficial level but are unable to complete detailed tasks as expected.

Another consideration is the usability of both the program itself and the software code. The program must be easy for all the users to understand and should come with well-written documentation. Step-by-step instructions, mini-movies, online demonstrations, and a support system are very important with software products.

Look at the language the software code is written in. Determine if this is a well-known language or one only found in a specific location. The more popular the language, the less expensive the resources are to modify and support it. In addition, these resources will be more readily available and accessible. Take the time to review all these items when looking at using an open source project management tool.