[clug] Open Source Project Management

Ian McLeod ianmcleod75 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 6 20:40:24 MDT 2009

Ben Nizette wrote: (does anyone know how to preserve headers in 
Thunderbird for replied dates)?
> Hi!

> I've been running a small business for the last few years and we use
> dotProject extensively.  I won't pretend it's perfect but it's certainly
> helped us a lot.  Our main problem is that somehow the interface just
> isn't all that intuitive.  I'm no good at GUIs so can't pinpoint it and
> after a few years am fairly used to it, but getting new employees to
> faithfully enter all their tasks and times tends to be a challenge
That sounds more like a change and cultural change than a technological 
change issue.  Does it add significant value to your business?  I'm very 
interested in this for very small, and very large programmes of work

Any standard issues / risks / strategies to watch out for?  I'm also 
interested in how to apply industry standard PM practices to an open 
source project - document structures, reporting, registers, etc.

My theory is that open source still consumes a scarce resource - being a 
volunteer developer - so should still report to the 'shareholders' being 
the OS community on how that resource is providing a return to the OS 
community - no different to standard PM practices - with some sort of 
business case, outcomes / outputs, requirements, scope management, etc.
> If you've got a server with a fantastico front end then setting up
> dotproject is as easy as ticking the box.  I have an off-site web
> hosting account with fantastico so I did that to demo the system then
> once I decided to go with it, deployed it on our internal server.
> Nothing really tripped me up there.
Is this expensive?  I am happy to learn how to run a server from home 
with a dynamic IP for now - although I really would like to know how to 
hook one up to work even if running from my desk on an old PC (anyone?) 
- the Windows centric IT guy may not freak out too much if he feel 
comfortable this won't be dumped on him to support unless the trial 
proves successful.
> We use openERP for all our inventory, production, sales, CRM, invoicing,
> POs etc etc.  It can do accounting too but it isn't on the list of
> ATO-approved software so we still do our accounting externally.  I can't
> recommend openERP enough, it works really very well.  OK so there are
> some rough edges around AU localisation but hey, it's open source so I
> should probably pull my finger out and fix them myself eh?
Possibly, although if it's not a core competency of your business then 
this is a business expense to invest this time in doing that.  This is 
the problem I see with open source - at least with commercial software 
you have one organisation to point at to say 'fix it' but open source 
relies on the charity of volunteers.  Either way, it sounds like it's 
not an issue, and complex tax legislation (especially at the rate Labor 
will run amok with it) may be best left to dedicated paid personnel to 
keep up with it (dedicated accounting software) it's not something you 
want to risk getting wrong.

Open ERP sounds very interesting, I would like to see it in operation.
>> open source insurance asset tracker to file away receipts and information on 
>> assets in case of disaster or theft - for personal and business use.
> I've been meaning to look in to document management systems like this as
> well.  Never got the time - let $LIST know if you find (or write)
> anything good!
I have not found anything out there except some orphaned (never started) 
project on Sourceforge mentioning 'insurance'.  I'm after an easy 
solution to scan and file receipts and asset information.  As with tax 
accounting software, depreciation and asset value tracking may need to 
be left to dedicated COTS products with dedicated full time support 
teams, however document management for presenting a thick file to an 
insurance assessor may be possible, with accounting software or an 
accountant to back up asset information if they need current depreciated 
or appreciated values.

What I want is just something basic at home - you buy some furniture or 
a TV or even a hard drive - you use invisible ink or the serial number 
or a pack of barcode numbers or whatever, scan it in, and a Python 
script or similar allows you to enter all the details and it gets filed 
away and backed up offsite to a Gmail Drive or whatever you want.

So you get home and some little b*((tard has ripped you off or you left 
the iron and your house burnt down - you have a nice neat database with 
receipts and information somewhere.

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