Redmine is a web application for project management, developed in the open-source model and distributed freely. Our team has been using it as our primary project management tool for almost a year.
Every company or team which works in the so-called “projectized model” needs robust tools to manage projects. This is especially important in the web/mobile development field, where projects are developed and deployed fast, often as early “betas”.
In our company, the search for a decent project management system was a tough quest. In general, our expectations of such a tool were pretty standard, but we also had a couple specific requirements that we considered vital, and expected the solution to conform to our practices, and not the other way around.
There are probably hundreds of project management tools on the market, web applications or desktop programs, commercial or free, provided in the SaaS model or installed on your server – the list goes on. Being the proponents of free and open-source software, we targeted our search at such solutions – however, this didn’t make it any easier, as there are still dozens of these.
We tried out more than ten different solutions – some of them got disqualified quickly after a preliminary examination, some made it to round two, which was actually using the thing for a few days or weeks. At that point, the best contestants were dotProject and ProjectPier, each of which withstood a few weeks of usage. In the end, however, we found too many things we didn’t like in these tools, and we abandoned them as well.
Finally, we got our hands on Redmine, an application built on the well-known Ruby on Rails framework. What got us immediately interested was its configurability and extensibility, manifested in the overall organization of projects and subprojects, the user permissions system, and a great deal of additional features available as plugins.
Thanks to this flexible design, coupled with the richness of features that Redmine offers, we got a tool that meets a vast majority of our requirements.
Speaking of the richness of features, we found the following most useful:
- Flexible organization of projects – Redmine allows you to create a hierarchy of projects/subprojects and to archive closed projects
- Granular access control – Users can be assigned different roles and permissions for each project that they participate in
- Ability to easily define new issue trackers (such as tasks or bugs) and issue statuses
- Ability to create discussion boards for each project
- Time tracking
- Revision control systems integration (including Subversion and Git)
- LDAP authentication
- Configurable E-mail notifications
- Multiple language versions (especially important for us, since we have both Polish and English-speaking clients)
Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are certain things that Redmine can’t do for us. Still, it’s hands down the best project management tool that we’ve worked with.
If, like us a year ago, you’re looking for a good project management application, we frankly suggest you try Redmine.