Project Management Tools: Jira, Redmine and Easy Redmine review
When it comes to supporting the team in coordinating tasks, long-term projects and goals, the use of project management software is obligatory. This is the only way to transparently map individual planning steps and tasks and organize projects without losing an overview of the respective status, counteract problems in time and ultimately also meet deadlines.
There are many project-management tools on the market. Some are free and offer useful features for time tracking, reporting and team coordination. Many of these tools are open source and have a community that administers, develops and supports them. Depending on the requirements and budget, however, it is advisable to choose a professional project management solution that can not only be adapted to your own needs and processes. It is also important to have reliable support that can be reached immediately in the event of questions and problems and can provide further assistance so that ongoing operations do not have to be interrupted for an indefinite period of time.
In addition, your own requirements should be compared with the features of the software, as not every solution is equally suitable for every industry.
- Should agile project management methods such as Scrum or Kanban be supported?
- On which devices and platforms will the software be used?
- Are in-house resources and skills available to set up and customize the solution?
- Do you need to migrate data from another tool?
- Are an appealing interface and intuitive operation important to you?
To help you find the right project management software, we have compared three popular tools: Jira, Redmine and Easy Redmine.
Jira software from Atlassian is certainly one of the most popular project management tools for agile software development. When you talk about “Jira”, it usually means Jira Software, although Atlassian offers other tools with Jira Align, Jira Work Management and Jira Service Management, which are suitable for various use cases and each have a different focus.
Focus on agile software development
With Jira software, there are no limits for agile teams. Whether Kanban boards or the planning of Scrum sprints - Jira offers all tools to support agile project management in software development. The high degree of individual configurability allows dashboards, workflows, but also individual fields to be customized and thus aligned with the respective requirements and needs. Features such as roadmaps and the various report types help with the targeted planning of sprints and upcoming tasks. In addition, further plugins and extensions or tools from the Atlassian stack such as Confluence and Bitbucket are available as integration in the Marketplace. A branch can be created from a Jira process or the issue key can be integrated into any commit or pull request in Bitbucket. This not only creates a link between the code and the ticket, but the development status can also be viewed in Jira. Basically, every step of a project can be tracked. Automation functions can be defined by the user and help to optimize the processes.
Extensive and complex, on-premises for large companies
Jira is a very comprehensive and powerful project management software. Of course, this does not only bring advantages. Especially inexperienced users find it very difficult to get started, as it is easy to get lost in the tool and its numerous functions. An intensive onboarding process is required when new employees join the project, which should not be underestimated. Ideally, in addition to an agile coach or a scrum master, there is also an Atlassian expert in the team to take over the administration of Jira and to keep an eye on the processes. Also, the migration from other project management systems to Jira is complex.
Atlassian offers Jira software in four different price models. In the cloud, up to 10 users can work with the tool free of charge, but they have to do without functions such as capacity planning and project archiving. These are only available in the premium model from $14.50 per user per month. Those who do not want to use the cloud offering must use the Jira Data Center variant, which is, however, designed for use by large companies. Prices start at $42,000 for up to 500 users.
Jira software offers numerous functions for agile project management and especially for teams in software development. With features such as roadmaps, Scrum and Kanban boards and the numerous customization options, tasks can be distributed and implemented efficiently. However, the high level of complexity of the software must be taken into account, which poses great challenges for inexperienced users in particular and makes a quick start difficult. The high costs of the data center variant can also be an exclusion criterion if use in the cloud is not possible for legal, business or security reasons.
Redmine is a flexible and free open-source web application written on the Ruby on Rails framework. It is available across platforms and databases and its user interface is translated into around 50 languages. Redmine can be flexibly provided and hosted, for example, on one’s own web server or externally as software-as-a-service.
Open Source, Community, but no Professional Support
It is easy to see that Redmine was created primarily for software development processes. For example, the installation of the tool requires experienced developers who are familiar with Debian, MySQL and Apache. Redmine also has a very simple and text-based structure, which is more or less appealing depending on the industry. The main features of the tool include an issue tracking system, a wiki and discussion forum, access to version management systems and repositories, but also multi-client capability and authorization systems. Redmine can be used, for example, for user and project management, for discussion forums, for ticket management, but also for document storage.
Since the software is open source and has a large community and user base, there are also many plugins and extensions available to add important features to Redmine. Themes can also be used to adapt the appearance to one’s own needs and preferences. This point in particular is one of the software’s greatest strengths: Redmine offers the user a lot of freedom and can also be used to administer project management outside of software development - provided one is capable of doing so oneself and has knowledge of the Ruby on Rails framework. If not, a professional must be hired to install, customize and administer the tool. Here, too, problems can arise. Nevertheless, even agile project management can be supported through the use of plug-ins and add-ons.
While professional software manufacturers offer customer support, with Redmine you have to rely on the help of the community, which helps you free of charge, but not in a binding and reliable way. In the worst case, a problem can last several days until a solution can be found. The tool also has weaknesses in terms of documentation. For example, the “Five-Step Getting Started” guide is incomplete and only mentions “TBD” (“to be defined”) for steps three to five. In addition, there are no mobile apps or widgets for automatic time recording.
Redmine shows its strengths above all when it is adapted to one’s own needs and processes. The prerequisite for this, however, is existing knowledge in the team, otherwise this must be acquired externally. In return the tool is free of charge. Especially in software development, Redmine can be a great added value for project management if it is used for issue tracking, bugs and the coordination of several projects. This does not exclude other sectors, but requires further adjustments, which can be made thanks to open source. However, Redmine cannot score in terms of interface and support, which can weigh heavily depending on where it is used.
Easy Redmine is an open source upgrade for Redmine and extends it with many important plugins and features for classic and agile project management. These include Gantt charts for visualizing project tasks, a fast project planner for ad-hoc projects, time tracking for manual and automatic time recording, but also various dashboards for displaying certain key figures. Agile tools such as Scrum and Kanban boards are also available, as well as a help desk for managing customer tickets.
Project, finance and resource management in one place
Easy Redmine can be used flexibly as a project management tool in software development. It also offers financial and resource management functions through modules, which can be used to coordinate personnel planning, travel expenses, attendances and project budgets. The B2B CRM tool helps with lead, account and partner management and is therefore also interesting for sales managers.
Easy Redmine is used by more than 3500 companies and over 300,000 users worldwide. The tool can be run both in the cloud and on-premises, i.e. on the company’s own server. There are also four price models for the cloud version of Easy Redmine, starting at 5.90€ (Essentials) per user per month. Users receive the full functionalities in the platform version for 23.90€ per month. An enterprise version with additional services and a server license are available on request. Easy Redmine is basically compatible with every Redmine version, which is why an upgrade is possible without any problems. It also offers various integrations and migration options from Microsoft Project and Excel, Jira or Asana.
As with other project management tools, inexperienced users must first find their way around, which requires a certain training period. Accordingly, training on the tool is recommended in order to use the full potential of the software. In addition, the graphical interface is very different from the Redmine interface. Those who have worked with Redmine for a long time will also have to adjust here.
Conclusion Easy Redmine
Easy Redmine is a practical upgrade to Redmine. It not only provides users with some important project management features, but also a modern interface that increases usability and user experience compared to Redmine. With its numerous functions, Easy Redmine combines agile project management, but also sales processes, finance and resource management in one tool. However, due to the abundance of possibilities, inexperienced users will initially need time to familiarize themselves and possibly also training.