Redmine as project and tasks management tool
When you look for a project management tool you usually come across Redmine. It’s a very versatile tool that lets you not only manage projects and collaborative tasks, but many other functionalities thanks to the ability to install plugins. This makes Redmine a very powerful system, a very attractive option for projects and tasks with more than two people involved. Despite not being the most known outside certain circles, every day more and more companies and professionals use it to manage the collaborative tasks in their projects.
Redmine in your server
To run the software it ought to be installed in a server (whether it’s local or remote). It has to be updated periodically, both core and plugins, to be improved constantly: sometimes to improve its internal performance, other times to fix errors or bugs, etc. Sometimes they release an update to adapt the program to new legislation such as when the new European regulation for data protection (GDPR) was put in place.
The only con that we may have, as profanes in this matter, is that its installation and configuration may be a little complicated. The learning curve is usually too big of an obstacle for any small or medium sized company to assume.
As we said, it is necessary to host the program in a server, that might be in your office or that might be in a data center. Doing this by yourself is a risky and complicated matter, with many technical parameters to take into consideration.
Also, doing it that way, you won’t have a reliable uptime as you would be using your normal internet connection that you may have in your office, with the bandwidth limits this has associated (a download and, especially, an upload speed that are very limited) and some connection instability. We all know how often our internet connections fail with no apparent reason, which would stop your business operations until reconnection.
Let’s see a practical example to ilustrate the concept…
Frank is the project leader of a small business that offer web apps development. He rescued the company from its disorganisation when, after months of problems, he decided to implement Redmine to manage various tasks.
The problems that were arising were intimately related to productivity. Jobs didn’t keep up with timing, often with mistakes, customers didn’t get followed up on, sales opportunities where missed, etcetera, losing some of their most important customers. This situation, maintained in time, was causing that the company to not reach its milestones and objetives, and was about to go into losses.
A few months before he already had tried to implement Redmine, as Frank had used it in his previous position in a different company. But the complexity of the installation process had become an issue that he couldn’t fix, so he desisted.
One day someone told him about the cloud-based solutions for Redmine. These are installed automatically or are installed for you, so the user doesn’t have to worry about anything else. Then, thanks to the previous experience he had, Frank was able to adapt the company’s processes and to implement them, training his staff by himself.
After only two weeks using Redmine Up Cloud he started noticing changes. Those changes could be observed in many aspects of the business. To start with, the delivery times shortened by 80% thanks to the improvement of communication and coordination. Nobody were behind anymore as all tasks were now managed and supervised live among all members of the team.
But this system has a small but very important handicap: most small businesses doesn’t have someone on the payroll trained on processes optimisation so they don’t understand exactly how to implement it.
To solve those real life problems that real life businesses have comes Redmine Cloud or Redmine as a Service.
The install is done in a hosting company specialized in Redmine and their team will sort all this for you. As it is hosted in a remote server, team members that want to use it only have to log into it through its interface on a web browser with an internet connection.
These companies also do consulting, analysing your company’s systems and processes, to find how the software can be implemented to your company’s own needs. They provide you with a step by step implantation project for your business’ needs.
This is a very important step and it’s precisely the step most companies would fail at, often causing unnecessary bottle necks and other issues.
They will then help you implement the tool’s use among your team members. This way they ensure you don’t run into problems when you start using it and that you make the most out of the software.
If this wasn’t enough they also provide training for your team to make sure your staff takes advantage of all the features in this powerful software, while they help to solve any question your team members may have. This way the transition is done as smoothly as possible, limiting the rise of issues related to poor (or inexistent) staff training.
To top it up they provide a high class support, which is put in place to cover all of your business’ needs. This is vital in todays business environment, changing rapidly from month to month.
Redmine Cloud Services Review
Nowadays there are different options in the market providing hosted Redmine services. Let’s see these options each one with its most basic version.
HostedRedmine.com. It’s a free alternative but with use restrictions. You may only create one project, public or private, hence it’s not very useful. It doesn’t include additional plugins to add functionalities to the core Redmine. We wouldn’t recommend it to any business for professional use.
Plan.io. For 19€/month you get 5Gb of storage, updates, 5 users, 3 projects and backups. It’s an economic option but a bit limited, although this is compensated by its other versions, which offer a lot more capacity in relation to number of users and projects for a very competitive monthly fee. Also we must point out that they offer great value with their blog, featuring a lot of related content to solve any questions you may have when it comes to planning and managing all your company’s tasks.
Alphanodes. It’s more expensive than the other options, 120€/month for its most basic version. On the other hand you do get a very powerful Redmine version and adds a series of very interesting functionalities (such as Reporting or Human Resources Management), with their own developed plugins. They also make daily backups and have a very experienced support team.
Another Germany based Redmine cloud service (as Plan.io and Alphanodes). Prices between Planio and Alphanodes: 99 €/month (or 999 €/year) No extra plugins installed, but compatible with Ahau Software’s Outlook Add-in for Redmine. Possible drawback: website and support service only available in German.
Redmine Up Cloud. It comes at a monthly price tag starting at 29€ and it is, without any doubt, the most complete solution.
One of its star functionality is its interface with Agile panels, Scrum and Kanban, which allows you to see all the tasks and projects as post-it notes that you can arrange around to your convenience, dragging and dropping, for instance to change its status from “in progress” to “finished”.
It also has the Helpdesk module, to turn any Redmine project into a full customer support by email, the same way you can do it with well known systems like Zendesk, Helpscout or Freshdesk.
It comes with more functionalities as well, like reports generation, customer relations manager (CRM), checklists and finance management. You don’t need to worry about installing or updating plugins since it comes with all these modules included.
They also offer a high quality customer service so you won’t be left with any doubts or, if an issue should arise, you’d be able to solve it in a timely manner. Daily backups are carried out, too, should you need to restore quickly the server if any problems happen.
EasyRedmine. There is one more option, although it’s not Redmine based as such, it’s the most complete service with hundreds of extra features. EasyRedmine is a service similar to Redmine Up but it’s based on a Redmine “fork”. This is a program made from a copy of the program (Redmine in this case) but with its code modified.
This renders any Redmine updates or plugins useless for this version, having to wait for EasyRedmine to release their own specific updates and plugins. They offer both the original service (that you ought to install in a server that you provide) and the cloud based service.
In short, Redmine is an open source platform that allows, as well as project and collaborative tasks management, functions like CRM, support desk and invoicing, among others; by installing the corresponding modules (plugins). This adds an excellent versatility and makes it a very powerful solution.
You can install it locally (which greatly limits its use) or on a remote server, although its installation is not easy for a profane in the matter, and it wouldn’t be easy to find affordable professionals to include in your company’s payroll.
To overcome this issue there’s cloud based services that facilitate the use of this tool to any company.
If you need a professional consulting services for businesses, process analysis, implantation, training and customer support, here you’ll find a solution that perfectly fits your business’ needs.