Open Source Project Management Software: What You Need to Know

Open source project management software is a great way to manage projects for free when self hosted or often at a lower cost than commercialized software.

In today’s fast-paced and collaborative work environment, project management has become crucial for organizations across various industries. Effective project management ensures streamlined workflows, efficient resource allocation, and successful project outcomes. To support these objectives, many businesses are turning to open source project management software because of how cost-effective it can be and because of how easily it is to customize.

This article will discuss what open source project management software is, the benefits it offers, and some popular open source options you can use. It will also provide some tips to help you get started using open source project management software. We will also explore the benefits and features of three popular open source project management tools: Leantime, OpenProject, Redmine.

What is Open Source Project Management Software?

Open-source project management software refers to software applications that are developed and distributed under an open-source license. Open-source licenses allow users to use, modify, and distribute the software’s source code — often with just the requirement to contribute back to the project. This means that the software can be customized and adapted to meet specific project management needs internally without any restrictions.

Open-source project management software typically provides a range of features and tools to help manage and organize projects. These can include task management, scheduling, resource allocation, collaboration tools, document sharing, reporting, project management dashboards and more. The software is often web-based, allowing teams to access and work on projects from anywhere with an internet connection.

One of the main advantages of open-source project management software is its flexibility and adaptability. Additionally, the open-source nature encourages collaboration and contributions from a global community, leading to continuous improvement and innovation of the software.

Open-source project management software can be a cost-effective solution as it eliminates the need for expensive commercial licenses. It also provides transparency, as the source code is available for review, ensuring security and data privacy. However, it’s important to note that while open-source software is often free to self host, there may be costs as some providers may offer additional paid offerings or support plans.

Benefits of Open Source Project Management Software

  • Cost-effectiveness: Open source project management software is free to use, which significantly reduces software expenses for organizations, particularly small businesses and startups.
  • Customizability: Open source software allows organizations to tailor the software to their specific needs by modifying the source code. This flexibility enables businesses to create a project management solution that aligns perfectly with their workflows. It is also often modular, so users can add or remove modules to customize features according to business requirements.
  • Community support: Open source projects often have active and dedicated communities that provide support, bug fixes, and regular updates. This ensures that the software remains up-to-date and secure — with ongoing improvements and new features driven by a passionate community of contributors.
  • Transparency and Security: With open source project management software, organizations have full visibility into the source code, ensuring transparency and reducing the risk of hidden vulnerabilities or backdoors. Additionally, the collaborative nature of open source projects encourages continuous security audits and prompt resolution of any identified issues.
  • Integration and Extensibility: Open source project management tools often offer seamless integration with other software development tools, such as version control systems, issue trackers, and collaboration platforms. This allows teams to create a cohesive ecosystem of tools that work together to enhance productivity and streamline workflows.
  • Scalability: Open source project management software is designed to accommodate projects of varying sizes and complexities. Whether you’re managing a small team or a large-scale enterprise project, open source tools can scale to meet your evolving needs without significant financial implications.
  • Community-driven Innovation: Open source projects thrive on innovation and collaboration. By leveraging the collective knowledge and expertise of the community, open source project management software continually evolves. New features can be more easily introduced along with integrations and best practices that cater to the changing needs of project teams.


Leantime is an open source project management software specifically designed using a hybrid approach to project management. It blends agile project management, design thinking and lean project management methodologies.

It focuses on simplicity and efficiency, offering a user-friendly interface and intuitive features. Leantime provides a clean project management dashboard that provides an overview of project progress, milestones, and upcoming tasks.

The Kanban board functionality in Leantime allows teams to visualize their workflows and manage tasks using a visual board. This feature is particularly useful for teams practicing agile methodologies or following a lean approach to project management. With the Kanban board, team members can easily track the status of tasks and identify potential bottlenecks.

Along with the Kanban board, Leantime incorporates additional task views; focusing on the ways that the human brain organizes information.

Leantime also includes project time tracking capabilities, enabling organizations to monitor project hours and analyze resource utilization. It additionally incorporates project scheduling software features, allowing teams to create project timelines and set deadlines for tasks. This helps in keeping the project on track and ensuring timely completion.

Leantime stands out among open source project management systems and even commercial systems due to the way it has prioritized the best practices of project management, made it something useable without PMP certifications, and still remained industry agnostic.


OpenProject is a feature-rich open source project management software that emphasizes collaboration, leaning more towards agile project management. It provides a project management dashboard that allows teams to plan, track, and collaborate on projects. One of its primary features is its ability to integrate traditional project management methodologies with agile practices; making it suitable for a wide range of projects incorporating agile practices.

With OpenProject, teams can create tasks, assign them to team members, and track progress in real time. The software also offers an issue tracking system, enabling teams to identify and resolve project roadblocks. OpenProject also provides Gantt charts and project timelines, helping project managers visualize project schedules and project dependencies.

OpenProject supports collaborative project management through its built-in communication tools. Team members can discuss project-related matters, share files, and provide feedback directly within the platform.


Redmine is an engineer focused open source project management software. It provides a comprehensive suite of tools to help teams collaborate on projects and track progress. It also offers a customizable dashboard, which allows users to quickly access the information they need. Additionally, it provides features such as issue tracking, time tracking, and Gantt charts.

One of the notable features of Redmine is its plugin ecosystem; allowing users to enhance the software’s functionality according to their specific requirements. From time tracking plugins to issue tracking enhancements, Redmine offers a wide array of extensions that cater to different project management needs.

Redmine also integrates well with other software development tools, such as version control systems like Git and Subversion.

Choosing the Right Open Source Project Management Software

While OpenProject, Redmine, and Leantime are excellent choices for open source project management, selecting the right software ultimately depends on your specific requirements and preferences. Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision:

  1. Project Complexity: Evaluate the complexity of your projects and determine whether the software supports the necessary features and methodologies. Consider aspects such as task management, issue tracking, time tracking, collaboration tools, and reporting capabilities.
  2. User Interface and Ease of Use: The user interface should be intuitive and user-friendly, enabling team members to quickly adapt to the software and navigate through its features effortlessly.
  3. Integration Options: Assess the integration capabilities of the software and ensure compatibility with your existing tools and workflows. Look for options to connect with version control systems, communication platforms, and other essential software used within your organization.
  4. Community Support and Documentation: Check the availability of community support, active forums, and documentation. A strong community presence ensures timely assistance and a wealth of resources to aid in the successful implementation and usage of the software.
  5. Long-term Maintenance and Updates: Evaluate the software’s maintenance strategy, frequency of updates, and responsiveness to security vulnerabilities. It’s important to select a project management tool that receives regular updates and actively addresses issues to guarantee a reliable and secure platform.


Open source project management software offers a compelling alternative to proprietary solutions; providing organizations with cost-effective, customizable, and collaborative tools to manage their projects effectively. OpenProject, Redmine, and Leantime are just a few examples of the diverse range of open source project management software available.

When choosing the right software for your organization, carefully consider the features, scalability, integration options, and community support offered by each tool. By selecting the most suitable open source project management software, you can streamline your workflows, enhance collaboration, track project progress, and ultimately achieve successful project outcomes.

Embrace the power of open source and take advantage of these unique project management software options to elevate your project management practices and drive your organization towards greater efficiency and success.

Gloria Folaron is the CEO and founder of Leantime. A Nurse first, she describes herself as an original non-project manager. Being diagnosed with ADHD later in life, she has hands on experience in navigating the world of project and product management and staying organized with ADHD.

astronaut riding on a dinosaur pointing to text that says welcome to the wonderful world of open source

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