USE CASE: Redmine for multi-project outsourcing company

Added by Michael Flyorko about 6 years ago

Hello all,

I'm PMO director in software development outsourcing fast-growing company.
Now I'm looking for a corporate project management information system (PMIS) and find Redmine very promising.

There are many use cases I would like to investigate in Redmine considering it for that role.

(1) clock-in/clock-out (sign-in/sign-out)
These operations are performed when employees start and finish their work days.
Thus, PMIS calculates actual spent time/effort and (optinally) checks that users do not exceed the calculated effort when they report/log their time to tasks. Users should not have a possibility to modify time reports for closed (past) periods. Mistakes in reports have to be corrected by special company staff (e.g., HR).

(2) project isolation and customization
Projects in PMIS should be fully isolated, i.e., one person can be a manager for one project set, supervisor for some other projects, and do not have any permissions to other projects. It seems that it's already supported. But I doubt a bit that Redmine provides really convenient and reliable tools for that. My current opinion is that Redmine is really good for managing several projects of one manager. Probably I'm wrong.
Per project customization means that projects can be accomplished due to different models and methodologies, e.g., fixed-price, time&material, dedicated team; also waterfall, UP-like, agile, SCRUM. The customization requires some changes in data models and business logic, installing some plugins etc. How can they co-exist together in one Redmine?

(3) company-wide resource management
In project-oriented companies human resources are allocated for projects for some period of time and should be returned in company pool. Often developers, testers etc. work on many opened projects at the same time. PMIS should provide some tool for short- and mid- terms resource planning. That is out of any project (or resource pool can be organized as an internal project). But anyway I want to see who will be available (have free time) in two-week or two-month prospective.

These are the main three I want to investigate in Redmine now. Others are related to business management (ERP-like system) but also very interesting for project management such as budget management (I saw such plugin in Redmine but don't know how it works and whether it provides all necessary functionalities), invoicing/billing, payroll/salary, holidays/vacations/sicknesses etc.

I paid attention to Redmine as it already has many excited features (not mentioned here) and is very close to what I'm looking for.
Definetelly we can contribute to Redmine if it suits our strategic expectations.

I'll appreciate if you share your thoughts and experience with Redmine regarding the aforementioned use cases.

With kind regards,
Michael

Replies (3)

RE: USE CASE: Redmine for multi-project outsourcing company - Added by Steve Shaffer about 6 years ago

Hi Michael,

I think you're on the right track here. I'm fairly new too, but my company's looking at tweaking Redmine for a few non-software-development-based applications, which require some of the more standard corporate features you mentioned.

I would say #1 is covered, except I haven't seen the locking on closed periods functionality anywhere. If you're looking for good time tracking, I'd also highly recommend toggl.com. I'd like to see toggl and Remine integrated someday, and there's some plugins out there for it. I don't believe toggl has the locking functionality either, but the pro version might; I'm not sure.

I think #2 is definitely covered (excepting some nuances). I believe toggl is actually one of the best (free) systems for managing multiple projects of multiple managers. If you setup the permisions, you should be able to allow a project manager to have ultimate control over his/her project without affecting other projects. There might be ways to make it more intuitive, but as I understand it, use of modules, trackers, etc can all be decided on a per-project basis, as can permissions. The nuance might be in having to load lots of plugins (perhaps with conflicts) into the same Redmine instance in order to then trim down which modules get used on which projects. In other words, if only one project wants some SCRUM plugin, you'd have to load it into the base and then just only use it on that one project. Maybe just spinning up a few different instances could help? I don't really know though; again I'm new.

#3 is something I'm also interested. I haven't seen much for MS Project-style resource planning, but it's definitely something I'm interested in. Let me know if you find anything.

Good luck!

RE: USE CASE: Redmine for multi-project outsourcing company - Added by Michael Flyorko about 6 years ago

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the reply and your ideas.
But I have a couple of concerns about that.

I believe toggl.com is good service. But for corporate usage I prefer keeping all commercial data "in-house".
Also I want to minimize number of installed (and integrated) systems. Otherwise it will be difficult in maintenance and update.

And now I'm looking also at OpenERP project. There is many good features for business governance as well as for project management (as for me not so good and flexible as Redmine). But there is a plugin (alpha-version module) that can integrate both systems. There are other ERP-like (and open-source) systems with PM features.

As migration the whole company (of course starting with small pilot projects) to such integrated environment isn't easy decision I am asking for real cases of businesses with 50+ employees, 10+ projects, and 5+ project managers.

I hope that will step Redmine level up.

Sincerely yours,
Michael

RE: USE CASE: Redmine for multi-project outsourcing company - Added by Steve Shaffer about 6 years ago

Thanks for pointing me to OpenERP. Looks very interesting, but not super customizable.

I don't have a case study for you (as I'm new to Redmine too) but I probably will in a month or so. My company is piloting using the system to manage some of our projects. We have around 30 employees, probably about 300 active projects, and do not deal with much software development (we're an engineering firm). So we're not an exact match to what you're looking at, but I think there will definitely be some areas where we're going to be pushing Redmine to its limits and probably having to tweak it to cope. And I intend on trying to collaborate / share those tweaks as much as possible.

- Steve

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