Open Source Project Management with web2Project

It’s easy to overlook open-source projects when exploring project management tools. But an open-source tool like web2Project can be the easiest way to choose a tool that will continue to grow with your needs.web2Project allows you to look to the future of what your organization needs, while still being able to get to work today.

Setting web2Project Apart

Beyond being open source, web2Project is a robust project management tool that started life as a fork of dotProject in 2007. At that time, the dotProject team announced plans to rewrite the tool from the ground up. But several of the people who had worked on dotProject weren’t sure that starting over would be the best option. Keith Casey, now the lead developer of web2project, was among them, and had some key questions: “What happens to the thousands of installations and tens of thousands of users currently out there? And that’s not an exaggeration. I knew of three organizations using dotProject with more than 500 users each. All are on web2project now.”

Since then, web2Project has continued to grow. Casey describes the tool in two different ways. “For the project managers in the group, it’s closer to the PMBOK school of thought as opposed to the to-do list style of Basecamp. It has hours, rollup/dynamic tasks, dependencies, simple Risk Management, and even imports from Microsoft Project. For the geeks, it’s a PHP and MySQL-based system, fully compatible with both Apache and IIS out of the box. It integrates nicely with LDAP; publishes iCalendar for Thunderbird, Gmail, Outlook, and others; and implements a straightforward MVC model that allows custom module development.”

The web-based tool can handle projects with large teams, going beyond many of the web applications that are currently out there.

Why Open Source?

The benefit of using an open-source tool can be easily demonstrated with web2Project: There are many modules available, but writing your own is not out of the question for someone with experience working with PHP. The Module Builder Guide provides guidance for creating new modules and the web2Project leadership has ensured that the core system has built-in functions to make module writing easy and fast.

With web2Project, you also have the option of getting involved with the community and looking for help with the features your organization particularly needs. Casey notes, “I think the biggest benefit [of open-source products] is the ability to participate in the product development. If Microsoft Project only fits 60 percent of your needs now, it will support 60 percent today, tomorrow, or a month from now. Even if web2project only fits 50 percent of your needs now, tomorrow it could be 55 percent and next month 60 percent. The opportunity to give feedback and see ideas become features is unique and empowering.”

The Future of web2Project

Web2Project is dedicated to regular updates. There are already plans in place for some specific future features, according to Casey. “The big feature we’re missing is financials. Web2project collects the individual pieces of data but we don’t put it into a coherent picture that would be meaningful to a project manager. Towards that goal, we’re actively recruiting project managers and soliciting feedback, but we need more.”

Let us know what you think of web2project in the comments.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise

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