March 08, 2005
'Extranet' planning/communication tools

I came aross BaseCamp today (more info here); an online planning / milestone / communication tool for projects across companies, teams etc: e.g. you can set up a software delivery project with contractor logins, client logins, admins etc; providing a communication channel (not unlike a blog, with comments, RSS feed etc), milestone tracking; task/to-do lists etc. Neato. It looks good, and it will certainly make you look good in the eyes of clients and partners e.g. if you're an independent project management consultant, a contractor working on many different projects etc. Unfortunately it's a paid, hosted service and it's not "up there" with Microsoft Project when it comes to setting up the planning; drawing up Gantt charts, tracking percentage progress, making progress notes on individual tasks etc. It also seems limited in its capabilities for exports (e.g. CSV files of taks/assignees/duration/status or MS Excel/Project planning exports/integration)

Inspired by the find, however, I tried to find open source alternatives; code that could be run as a locally hosted application (hence also possibly to set up as an intranet tool should a client require better privacy and data protection).

So far I've found Projectory - a slick-looking, actively developed open source tool by Corey Ehmke. Other tools on SourceForge: XPMT still in beta, Outreach Project Tool (demo), which has a Gantt charting plugin (bonus!). Simple Management Tools looks dead and dotProject hasn't updated on sourceforge for a while...

Does anyone have some advice for open source project management tools to take a look at? Desired features:

  • Project client, contributor (multi-company) logins / access control features
  • Easy organization of planned tasks, to-dos, allow progress tracking (hours spent, % complete, comments against tasks to be used for status reporting)
  • Gantt-charting
  • Hierarchy of users (project manager, team leads, developers, stakeholders (e.g. read-only access to status reports) etc
  • Wiki/forum-like functionality for collecting project documentation
  • Blog-like functionality for announcements (internal/external); possibly with RSS support
  • Configurable Data export functionality (for backups as well as imports to other tools / status reporting (e.g. extracting a list of current issues, status, updates to a CSV / Excel file would be a bonus))

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You might be interested in checking http://gforge.org

Posted by: dof on March 16, 2005 12:09 PM
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