By Joe Collins
At the first Insight project meeting it was clear we needed a collaborative project management system. The Insight Team has adopted Planio which is a hosted version of the open source project, Redmine.
Within the first couple of weeks of the project it was clear that we needed better systems for managing the project. The usual combination of Microsoft Excel and Project is fine for hierarchical and single organization projects, but inappropriate for a collaborative and multi organization project. We needed something which the entire team could use and which allowed us to audit changes and revisions to the project schedule.
The Technology Partner uses a Kanban for monitoring projects and task progress but this system contained commercially sensitive projects so it couldn’t be used by the entire team. So we sought out an alternative. We needed on online Kanban which allowed us to log time and keep a tight control over management tasks, but we didn’t want to pay a lot for it. Whilst the rise in popularity of Agile as a management process means there are a lot of online Kanbans available, few of them offer time logging and auditing as well. Redmine is an open source project management web application, which can provide a Kanban using plugins.
Initially we hosted our own version of Redmine. It was easy to set up but support and backup fell to the Technology partner and with a tight project schedule we didn’t want to give the Technology partner any extra tasks. Fortunately for a mere €9 per month Planio provide a hosted and supported version of Redmine. Planio is a German company based in Berlin, so the data is covered by tough German data protection laws and backed up with typical German efficiency. If ever we want to go back to hosting our own version of Redmine we can export the data from them.
Using Planio gives each of the project members a clear picture of their own tasks and schedule. It also allows the team to see how each other is progressing and has already allowed us to identify and head off, bottle necks and collisions.