10 Free Tools For Effective Project Management
Project management is the process by which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such that the agreed benefits are realised. Projects are unique, transient endeavours undertaken to achieve a desired outcome. Projects bring about change and project management is recognised as the most efficient way of managing such change. It includes the techniques & tools used to describe, control & deliver a series of activities with given deliverables, timeframes & budgets.
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With increased demand of project management in all areas in general and software industry in particular, need for better tools to manage softwares effectively is also increasing.
A good and effective project management should be fast and robust and should contain features like:
- Cost Control
- Budget Management
- Resource Allocation
In this article, we will specifically discuss 10 tools that are free and you can choose among them as your project management tool.
OpenProj is a free, open source desktop alternative to Microsoft Project. The OpenProj solution is ideal for desktop project management and is available on Linux, Unix, Mac or Windows. OpenProj is a complete desktop replacement of Microsoft Project and even opens existing native Project files. OpenProj shares the most advanced scheduling engine in the industry with Projects On Demand. The OpenProj solution has Gantt Charts, Network Diagrams (PERT Charts), WBS and RBS charts, Earned Value costing and more.
dotProject is a web-based, multi-user, multi-language Project Management application. It is an open-source software and free for any uses and is maintained by an open community of volunteer programmers. Key features include:
- Projects and Tasks
- Companies, Departments and Contacts
- ToDo lists
- Resource Allocation
- Gantt Charts
GanttProject is a free and easy to use Gantt chart based project scheduling and management tool. Major features include Task hierarchy and dependencies, Gantt chart, Resource load chart, Generation of PERT chart, PDF and HTML reports, MS Project import/export and WebDAV based groupwork management.
PHProjekt is a free open source modular application for the coordination of group activities and to share informations and document via the web.
Components of PHProjekt include Group Calendar, Project Management, Time Card System, File Management, Contact Manager, Mail Client and many other.
ConsultComm is a small, lightweight, platform-independent program written in Java that allows anyone managing multiple projects, clients or tasks to effectively keep track of exactly how long they’ve worked on each project. Key features include:
- Easily integrated into your existing time management or billing system; JDBC support is included so you can instantly upload all your times and projects into most JDBC and ODBC compliant databases
- Platform-independent, so you can unify all your OS X, Windows, Linux and Solaris workstations with a single application
- Released as open source, so you don’t have to worry about vendor lock-in or customization problems.
- Quickly extensible by utilizing plugins created using the standard JavaBeans framework. Users and other developers can easily create their own plugins to quickly add custom functionality to ConsultComm
- Customizeable to uniquely fit your own personal style preferences
TaskJuggler is a modern and powerful, Open Source project management tool. Its new approach to project planing and tracking is more flexible and superior to the commonly used Gantt chart editing tools. It has already been successfully used in many projects and scales easily to projects with hundreds of resources and thousands of tasks.
TaskJuggler is project management software for serious project managers. It covers the complete spectrum of project management tasks from the first idea to the completion of the project. It assists you during project scoping, resource assignment, cost and revenue planing, risk and communication management.
TaskJuggler provides an optimizing scheduler that computes your project time lines and resource assignments based on the project outline and the constraints that you have provided. The built-in resource balancer and consistency checker offload you from having to worry about irrelevant details and ring the alarm if the project gets out of hand. The flexible “as many details as necessary”-approach allows you to still plan your project as you go, making it also ideal for new management strategies such as Extreme Programming and Agile Project Management.
Collabtive is a modern Web application that allows teams to collaborate on projects, manage tasks, milestones, and files, and send instant messages to each other. It is multilanguage capable, supporting more than 20 languages. Collabtive integrates with other webservices via an XML API. It also provides importing functionality for data from other applications.
It is a complete online solution focused on improving productivity, collaboration, communication and management of your teams. Key features include:
- Mange tasks, documents, contacts, e-mail, calendar
- Manage project progress, track time, and bill your customers.
- Access all information from a single and elegant dashboard.
- Communicate with co-workers, clients and vendors.
ProjectPier is a Free, Open-Source, self-hosted PHP application for managing tasks, projects and teams through an intuitive web interface. ProjectPier will help your organization communicate, collaborate and get things done. Its function is similar to commercial groupware/project management products, but allows the freedom and scalability of self-hosting.
Redmine is a flexible open source project management web application. Written using Ruby on Rails framework, it is cross-platform and cross-database. Key features include:
- Multiple projects support
- Flexible role based access control
- Flexible issue tracking system
- Gantt chart and calendar
- News, documents & files management
- Feeds & email notifications
- Per project wiki
- Per project forums
- Time tracking
- Custom fields for issues, time-entries, projects and users
- SCM integration (SVN, CVS, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar and Darcs)
- Issue creation via email
- Multiple LDAP authentication support
- User self-registration support
- Multilanguage support
- Multiple databases support
Project Management is one of the most important processes in designing and development of any project and selection of project management tool is sometimes critical. It entirely depends on your requirements as to whether you want to go for a web-based solution or a desktop one. Hence you need to consider the tool that is providing enough functionalities to cater your needs of project management.
Guest post by Muhammad Usama Alam, who is a software engineer and web developer with over 8 years of experience in designing and developing business solutions for enterprise. You can follow him on twitter.