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  • Project management needs efficient strategies for every process, from project planning and implementation to its final delivery. Project management software plays an instrumental role in organizing and handling different aspects of a project at each step in its lifecycle.

    The overall process is not a piece of cake; it requires effort from every single member of the team to work efficiently and produce a quality project in time. For this, project managers and leaders spend lots of effort coordinating everything.

    Even one single misinformation or mistake can lead the entire team to suffer the consequences of quality and turnaround times, let alone the business image and company culture.

    Using a project management tool can save you from these risks and inefficiencies and ensure you complete your project on time with client satisfaction.

    Let’s discuss what these tools are and how they can help you.

    What is Project Management Software?

    Project management software is a tool that helps in project planning, resource allocation, scheduling tasks, and enhances coordination between team members. It also enables project managers, users, and stakeholders to manage budgeting and cost, documentation, quality management, and proper administration.

    A project management tool is designed specially to help improve your team’s productivity and ensure projects are delivered on time with quality. Some of the common features of project management software include:

    • Project planning
    • Scheduling tasks
    • Allocating resources
    • Tracking progress
    • Creating roadmaps
    • Bug tracking
    • Budgeting
    • Ensuring security and data privacy
    • Release planning
    • Reporting and analytics

    Why do you need project management software?

    Organizations with numerous projects and big teams can face challenges to accomplish their projects. Many tasks need your attention, such as ideation, planning, implementation, and delivery. And each step is crucial to deliver a quality project and make your clients happy to drive your business.

    Doing everything manually consumes a lot of time, money, and labor. You may also run into the risk of missing deadlines or compromising quality due to ineffective project management.

    Project management software helps to streamline the overall process of completing a project. It enables you to optimize each step so you can deliver projects on time without compromising the quality. It enhances the bond with your customers and builds trust, and helps maintain a solid brand image.

    Here are some of the benefits of using a project management tool:

    Streamlines workflow

    By using a project management tool, you can streamline your workflow across the entire project lifecycle. It will save you from doing manual, repetitive tasks that are annoying and time-intensive. Instead, the tool can automate various processes.

    You can assign tasks easily, schedule tasks effectively, monitor the implementation, track progress, integrate other tools you already use, and leverage other features to complete your projects successfully in shorter turnaround times with top-notch quality.

    Centralizes all information in the tool

    When the actual work starts on a project, there’s a likelihood of misinformation or mismanagement. As a result, employees might feel overwhelmed by the workload, the number of files, and the goals of completing the project seem very distant.

    But using an efficient project management tool with a centralized dashboard, every team member can be on the same page by sharing information via the tool. This way, your team works without interruptions, confusion, or burn-out.

    Promotes smooth communication flow

    Communication gaps can result in project inefficiencies. It may create misinformation or disputes, and no one wants that in the middle of work (or at any time either). Exchanging information through emails is slow, and sometimes you won’t even get answers when you need them urgently.

    A project management tool helps promote communication flow within your team by allowing them to comment on the project directly, have healthy discussions, and provide feedback quickly while ensuring data security.

    Enhances team transparency

    Maintaining transparency within your team builds trust and opens the door to better collaboration. If tasks, processes, and progress are not clearly visible to all, it leads to doubts and overhead due to tracking processes at each step.

    With a project management tool by your side, you can enable greater transparency, and everyone involved in the project will be aware of the project’s status and processes. It will help them understand their next steps and organize tasks effectively.

    Increases cost-efficiency

    Manual and repetitive processes consume not only time but also effort and cost. When you use a single software to plan and organize tasks, collaborate with people, and progress with centralized insights, it will save your money and time.

    Benefits of self-hosted project management tools 👍

    If you start your hunt for the best project management software, you will get many options. At this time, shortlist software based on your team size, budget, and requirements. Here, you can go for self-hosted or SaaS-based project management software.

    The benefits associated with the former are that source code is available free to use by all, and you can also modify and redistribute it based on your needs. Open-source and free project management tools allow manipulating the code to optimize the software by adding more features, removing bugs, etc.

    So, here are some of the free and open-source project management tools you can consider.

    OpenProject

    OpenProject is an agile, efficient, classic, and hybrid open-source project management software. You will have access to secure your privacy with the highest standards in privacy and data security. Installing it in your infrastructure helps you get complete control and data ownership.

    Using the tool will give you insights into all your data and its storage without any external influence. It will also allow your team to work more productive, more pleasant, and simpler way. In addition, your team will be able to track their work to get better results while organizing tasks quickly and distributing tasks to anyone within the team.

    OpenProject has everything in a single place so that you can communicate better. Optimize the creativity and experience of the teammates via shared timelines to visualize and create project plans.

    Analyze the detailed activities to develop a plan and let everyone know how to proceed and when to deliver the project by understanding the scope. Agile teams will also measure, learn, and build to deliver faster and better work with every iteration.

    OpenProject provides necessary tools to get methodologies like Kanban and Scrum and agile product development. It is a big community for developers, open-source enthusiasts, businesses, etc., where they can find the perfect setup to choose between premises and flexible hosting options.

    The enterprise on-premises provides premium, professional support, and security features for the self-hosted OpenProject. According to your number of users, calculate your price. Choose the support options and subscription period to get your application starting at $405/year for 5 users.

    Focalboard

    Are you searching for an alternative to Notion, Asana, and Trello?

    Well, you can go for Focalboard, which is an open-source and self-hosted project management software. It helps to organize, manage, track, and define work across your teams by using the Kanban board view. It has two editions:

    • Focalboard Personal Desktop: It is a desktop app for personal and to-do projects. It is a single-tenant that runs on a local server to get optimal performance and speed.
    • Focalboard Personal Server: It is a self-hosted server to help collaborate better with your team.

    Click over “add new boards” to pick project tasks from the different templates.

    Change the created date, priority, sort settings, filter settings, and group by settings according to your preference. You can also drag cards from one column to another to change the group property. In addition, edit the cards whenever you want to know the set of properties and content and the list of comments.

    Table views help you view the cards in a single place to hover over the title to open one. Furthermore, every board has card templates and board templates to customize each board as per your team. Get a Personal Desktop on your Mac and Windows or Personal Server on Ubuntu.

    Restya

    Get the open-source project management platform of Restya to manage tasks, chat, to-dos, etc.  Restya is a Trello-like kanban board that will offer advanced category Extend Restyaboard and countless options such as scripts, user styles, widgets, integrations, etc.

    They have the MyRestyaboards app that is compatible with iPadOS and iOS operating systems. It tracks numerous Restya Boards, and you can import existing boards easily from Asana, which is used in project and work management.

    It’s a cloud-based project management solution where you can also import your work instantly from Kantree, a flexible management tool that helps organize, collaborate projects, manage, and plan. Furthermore, you can easily transfer boards from Pipefy, Taiga, Taskwarrior, Trello, and Wekan to Restya Board.

    A separate board manages every project, and you can create numerous boards and manage them simultaneously. Use existing templates for instant and quick launches, and duplicate a single board multiple times with different names. In addition, the keyboard shortcut keys let you perform some actions like deletion and addition of members, open cards, voting, etc.

    Create one digital platform with classified projects and descriptions. In this digital platform, you will get an interactive interface, better organization visibility, and the option to edit, add a member, remove a member, change permissions, sort, and delete.

    View simple boards or apply filters to see a list of boards and set its visibility to public or private. You can also see the cards in grid format or a list view. Restya provides you with a calendar view along with color variations to make it distinct and highlighted.

    Additional features you will have are Gantt view, report view, member invitation, list view of members, editing visibility mode, changing the background, modifying textures and patterns, custom background option, automatic subscription, productivity beats, and much more.

    ERPNext

    Upgrade your daily working style through an open-source project management software ERPNext. It allows you to organize your task, schedule, plan, and analyze the projects by collaborating with your team to accelerate the work.

    ERPNext can keep track of your project deadlines with a clear view of the plan. You can manage everything from a single workspace and simplify the projects by discovering a task-driven approach.

    ERPNext offers easy collaboration by allowing you to split the project into bite-sized tasks and assign them to your teammates. You will also get access to the progress of your project and its efficiency via priorities and clear scope, milestones, and estimated timelines.

    Moreover, ERPNext lets you share and upload multimedia files like images, documents, and videos. Achieve smooth communication with everyone with the help of auto-replies to incoming emails.

    Get current and accurate insights anytime you need to stay on top of expenses and budgets, plan better for every project and see how the budget has been spent. It also allows you to build software for open-source projects.

    Taskcafe

    Taskcafe is an open-source project management tool that helps manage different tasks via a Kanban board interface by setting due dates and adding checklists and labels. Once you get inside the “My Tasks” view, you will see each assigned task.

    You will also get options like personal projects, task comments, task activities, etc. If you are searching for an alternative to NextCloud, Trello, etc., you can have Taskcafe that will fit your workflow and help you manage every project easily. It is in the alpha development stage and has many useful and unique features.

    Orangescrum

    Get a scalable and secure open-source project management tool – Orangescrum to manage agile and simple projects for your teams. It helps you make strategies, plan it well, execute your plan, and allow your team to finish within the deadline to complete a project successfully.

    Orangescrum helps you plan everything strategically to achieve higher efficiency and have optimal results. Apart from creating project plans, you can also monitor and deliver them seamlessly. It also helps in real-time collaboration and minimum resource utilization when you are assigning roles to your teammates.

    Orangescrum integrates your workflow with visual project planning to increase the success rates. Get insights into portfolio performance and initiatives through real-time data in your dashboards. Furthermore, you can manage financial activities and budgets by monitoring project expenses and resource costs to achieve higher profit margins.

    Secure your data with role-based access control (RBAC) and Single Sign-On. You can also download Orangescrum on Android or iOS devices to manage the same work being outside. In addition, centralize your project information to access easily from anywhere.

    If you are a startup and want to keep track of the work, choose the startup plan at just $9/month for 10 users and avail benefits like unlimited tasks, projects, Gantt chart, status, task reminder, 5 GB storage, and 5 guest users.

    Taiga

    Deliver your project as promised within budget with Taiga – a project management tool having rich features and simplicity with its intuitive interface for multi-functional agile teams. It lets you collaborate with your team to define deliverables and utilize their knowledge.

    Start aligning tasks and prioritize the deliverables to allow each member for timely completion. As communication is a significant point in every management, Taiga helps you interact with your teammates quickly to share task progress. In addition, let your teammates view the ongoing activities and check the completed tasks.

    With Taiga, you can enable better transparency with your team on the current status and resource allocation and better understand the effort required to complete the project. It has an easy-to-use interface to help improve the way of working and performing tasks.

    You can change the workflows and add more features without any complex setup in between the project. Taiga also offers reliability, independence, adaptability, flexibility, security, performance, and stability to help you deliver excellent projects.

    Sign up for free to get up to 5 private projects, unlimited public projects, and up to 300MB storage. If you want to have more benefits, go with the $5/user/month plan.

    Twake

    Twake is an open digital workplace that allows you to improve your organizational productivity. It will help you communicate with your team seamlessly, invite external users, share files, collaborate on documents, and start a video meeting.

    Twake gives you the freedom to manage the whole project, create new tasks, move each task as per their progress, assign work along with deadlines to your teammates. Its drag and drop file manager allows you to access your stored and shared documents easily.

    You can manage labels and versions effortlessly and edit your files as well. When necessary, create new team events, attach video links for conference meetings, configure notifications for the members, attach relevant tasks and files, and set deadlines.

    Moreover, install the application you require in your workflow seamlessly with Twake. Every application is independent of files, calendars, and discussions. You can work with the same document in any format such as Google Doc, Libre Office, MS Office, etc.

    Twake’s database is encrypted, and hence, your files are secure. Additionally, you have the power to decide who can access the files. All your data and files are securely stored in France. It complies with GDPR and allows secure transfers via HTTPS/SSL encryption.

    Start using this project management platform for free with limited features or advance plans to avail more.

    Wekan

    Another free and open-source project management software in this list is Wekan with the kanban board. Kanban board is an unbeatable tool that keeps your work organized, such as maintaining a to-do list, working in a team, planning holidays, and viewing the project’s current status.

    Wekan helps you enhance productivity by freeing time to focus on the items that matter the most. It has a one-click installation option on your computer or server. Wekan is used across many countries and is available in 63 different languages.

    This tool has a real-time user interface that allows you to manage everything. In addition, it also supports various platforms. For having Wekan on your computer, you need basic requirements.

    It would help if you had 64bit Linux Snap or Sandstorm/Windows/Mac, CPUs where MongoDB and Node.js exist, 1GB minimum RAM free for Wekan, system server with 4GB RAM, and enough disk space.

    ProjectLibre

    If you are searching for a tool to solve your management work, ProjectLibre is an excellent option!

    It is an open-source alternative for Microsoft Project, and supports Mac, Windows, and Linux, and can open MS Project files. It also provides multi-project management options for teams.

    ProjectLibre can be translated into 29 languages, and you can switch the language from the drop-down menu. It offers features and benefits like Gantt charts, PERT charts, network diagrams, RBS/WBS charts, earned value costing, resource histograms, etc.

    Leantime

    As the name suggests, Leantime offers “lean” project management that innovators and startups would love. It is designed to work flawlessly from project ideation to final delivery. This open-source tool is written in PHP and JavaScript and uses the MySQL database.

    Its feature list includes kanban boards for task management, calendar and table views, Gantt charts for milestone management, and Lean Canvas for research boards. In addition, it offers timesheet management, project dashboards, retrospectives, reports, two-factor authentication, and multiple user roles.

    You can integrate Leantime with Slack, Zulip, and Mattermost; and export tasks, milestones, and timesheets to CSV. It uses a local file system or AWS S3 for file storage, and this tool is available in English, Russian, Spanish, and Dutch.

    Conclusion 👩‍🏫

    Project management software helps you accelerate your workflow, promote better communication, save time and money. I hope the above discussed open-source and free project management tools help you achieve these benefits to complete each project successfully.

    Alternatively, if you are not ready for self-hosted implementation yet, you can try managed project management solutions such as Monday.com