If you have a strong technical team and run multiple projects simultaneously, open-source project management software may be the right fit for you. 

With technologies like no-code making software development and deployment easier, teams can save significant costs using open-source project management software integrated with relevant no-code tools necessary for their work. 

It is important to weigh the pros and cons of your options to select the right project management software type for your business. Before we delve into all you need to know about open-source project management software, let's run down a quick list of the five main types of project management software options available online.

  1. Open-source project management software: This type of project management software is free to download, alter, and redistribute under license.
  2. Freeware project management software: This software is free to download but not to alter or redistribute.
  3. Shareware project management software: Shareware software requires only a small fee for continued use.
  4. Freemium project management software: Freemium project management software allows the limited use of a proprietary project management software, in the form of reduced features and usage capacity.
  5. Project management software free trials: Project management software free trials provide all the benefits of a chosen premium software for a limited time.

Consider your team's needs, workflow requirements, and technical capacity before deciding whether open-source project management software is right for you. Gather suggestions and get input from team members to prioritize the most important features and factors in choosing the best project management software for your organization.

Thinking of choosing open-source project management software?

As you consider your options, you may find yourself leaning towards open-source project management software because of the obvious benefit of it being completely free.

However, before you jump into a full commitment, remember that with great generosity comes great responsibility. Open-source project management tools demand your attention as they do not belong to any one vendor or company that provides dedicated customer service and technical support to users. Instead, they are created and managed by growing volunteer developer communities that cannot be held accountable for bugs, crashes, or development issues with the software. 

With open-source project management software, you must provide your own support and administration. Ideally, you should have a reliable technical employee or team to manage the software, fix bugs and issues, and customize it to suit your organization's needs to reap the most benefits. 

The hidden cost of free open-source project management software

As we've established, open-source project management software is free to download but has hidden costs that can slow your team's progress and business operations if not taken care of in time. 

The most critical is sunk time cost. Every minute your team members spend tweaking, fixing, and looking for answers about the open-source project management software is a minute not spent on other revenue-generating tasks in your business. 

Your technical team may allot more time to customize, maintain, and solve any issues that come up with the software. This includes security challenges, upgrades, and functionalities

While you may save upfront costs by choosing free open-source project management software, you may spend more down the line to maintain and keep it solving your project management needs. 

Before you integrate open-source software into your business, take a moment to consider the following: 

  • Do you have strong technical support on demand? This may be your in-house development team or a professional service agency.
  • Do you need unique features and project management functionalities you can't find in proprietary project management software?
  • Does your IT and development team have enough time to maintain the project management software while keeping up with their primary tasks?

Open-source project management tools are free, accessible, and customizable, but they require labor-intensive customization and complex programming techniques. 

Pros and cons of open-source project management tools 

As you now know, open-source project management tools have benefits and disadvantages. 

To enjoy the benefits of open-source project management software like Project Open, Open Project, and Kanboard, you should have technical support in the form of an IT team or a person who has the competence to utilize developer communities and documents to fix problems. 

Below is a list of other pros and cons of open-source project management tools. 

Pros of open-source project management software

  1. Cost-effective: Most open-source software is free, making it a cost-effective choice. You may, however, choose to buy open-source software from reputable third-party vendors who may have developed and repackaged the software for less tech-savvy teams. Whether you get your software straight from the open-source or buy through a trusted vendor, the financial costs are likely to be minimal compared to other project management options.
  2. Customizable: Another significant benefit of open-source project management software is the ability for users to tweak and improve it to suit their team and business needs. There are many developer communities affiliated with open-source software, which provide support, resources, and solutions for bugs, malfunctions, and common software issues. A foundational idea of open-source software is that it's improved consistently over time as users and developer communities find flaws and add more functionalities. 

Cons of open-source project management software

  1. Orphaned technology: Since open source software is managed by a community of volunteer developers, there may be little accountability and consistency in growth and software updates. Open-source tools occasionally fall out of the market due to a lack of maintenance, which brings risks to software users. If you decide to commit to open-source software, keep in mind the possibility that the software you're building your team’s workflows and systems on may be abandoned by its developers and fall out of use someday. 
  2. Lack of user support: Open-source software is typically developed in a do-it-yourself environment. Users often have to find, manage, and solve problems themselves. You may use online developer forums like StackOverflow or find dedicated sites for help resources created by volunteer developers. If you face issues when using open-source project management software, be proactive in finding solutions to keep your work systems in place. 
  3. Security issues: Due to open-source software allowing anyone to update the code, users must take responsibility for their organizational security. Though the volunteer developer communities collaborate to ensure security and trust in the software, there's a high chance of being hacked or downloading malicious code when fixing bugs or upgrading the software. 

Wrike freemium as an alternative to open-source project management 

Wrike's freemium project management software provides an excellent alternative to open-source project management tools. 

It's completely free and allows unlimited users to be added to your workspace, enabling teams to grow and scale without thinking of increased costs for your project management software. 

Wrike Freemium brings organization and consistency to your teams, processes, and team collaboration workflows. Using Wrike helps leaders and project managers break down team silos, improve cross-functional collaboration, and increase visibility into different stages and levels of ongoing projects. 

Wrike's software provides a single source of truth, serving as a digital HQ for your organization. It is highly secure, interactive, and 100% cloud-based, meaning team members can connect and send in updates, regardless of their location. 

Wrike Freemium provides 2GB worth of free storage to all users. You can toggle between multiple views, allowing your teams to work in ways that feel most familiar and provide the most value in their workflow. 

When it comes to free project management software, Wrike goes the extra mile to enable internal and external collaborations for situations that require vendors, knowledge workers, and professional agencies. You can easily integrate your Wrike project management software with other work applications to create a seamless workflow. 

If you're considering going the open-source software route, especially with project management software, it’s worth taking time to try Wrike Freemium for your business before you commit. 

Weigh the benefits and hidden costs of open-source software before you dive in, and remember the Wrike Freemium, just like open-source, remains free forever, with valuable functionalities and functions added in reliable development phases over time. Get started with Wrike for free today.