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"Redmine is a flexible project management web application. Written using Ruby on Rails framework, it is cross-platform and cross-database. Redmine is open source and released under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2 (GPL)."

  1. Is it sufficient for what project managers need? It has issues and tasks, start and end dates, assignees. It can do GANTT charts. But I don't know what other Microsoft Project-like features "real" project managers use.
  2. If so, did you need to add plug-ins to use it? If so, which?
  3. If not, what is it lacking?

I am approaching this as a technical lead of a ~3 person project who has to do some scheduling and status tracking, not as a full project manager.

EDIT 2/16/11: We are already using Redmine, so I'm interested in that solution in particular.

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3 Answers 3

Who cares what "real" project managers use, a good one would make a project work with any kind of tool. For a 3 person team Redmine is everything you need, especially considering you're not going to go overboard on project processes and "full-on" management. Besides, I've seen a lot of really expensive software that really makes your job harder, and lots of free software that works beautifully. Redmine falls into the latter category.

I find that projects need a bug tracker that you can use for a lot more than bugs, practically being a dynamic list of stuff for people to do. Scheduling becomes more a list of how much stuff is done and how much is yet to do. You can figure out rough timescales from that without having to micromanage estimates for every task. Alternatively, a bug tracker such as FogBugz has features for assisting in calculating timescales from past history.

The backlog plugin offers some Agile features so that might be useful to you to help control throughput of tasks to devs.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Redmine doesn’t (at least without a plugin, at least as far as I saw):

  • Seem to be the right place to develop a schedule (major). For example, I don’t see how to allow for holidays in the Gantt. The Better Gantt Charts Plugin at least allows for weekends.
  • Handle task dependency easily. I haven’t tried to do that at all (ease of use). Better Gantt Charts helps this, but it does have some bugs (as of Jan 23, 2013)
  • Report days or person-days behind/ahead of schedule (major).
  • Produce man-loading charts.
  • Show historical data, e.g. are we catching up or not, a burndown chart (major).
  • Allow for a baseline. This is similar to the historical data.
  • Show progress bars in increments less than 1 day (minor).
  • Automatically assign completion dates from start dates and estimated hours (ease of use).
  • In Gantt and roadmap show who is a assigned to a task/bug.
  • Show dates on Gantt, shows week number, day of week and month only. Need to hover to see date (minor).

Just the historical data and burndown chart issues are enough to think it isn't good for more than light project management.

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"it isn't good for more than light project management." - so it is good for light project management, which is what the question asked! –  gbjbaanb Apr 17 at 7:26
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@Brian-Carlton Your list is out of date. Many new plugins for new versions of Redmine has been developed which solve some/all of your problems. There are even more comprehensive stacks which cover more areas of software development. I would suggest you to check clinker. They have a complete ALM suit which includes Redmine, too. clinkerhq.com –  Enmos Proje Apr 17 at 10:17

For a small project it would be suitable. It does offer a complete work bench in that the project team has tasks, source code management and issue management.

There are of course a number of other online systems such as AgileZen, PivotalTracker, LiquidPlanner which offer PM tools and incorporate the philosophies of Agile - Scrum and Kanban. These are more focused on the PM side of it.

It comes down to the ease of setup and the convenience so a complete package may be the way to go. Compared to getting all the parts of the system and doing the install.

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