The specifics of working in software teams consist of limited resources and an always increasing list of tasks. Redmine, an issue tracker and project management tool, helps to develop software faster and with more control. Follow our guide to learn about its main benefits for software development teams .
1. Turn Redmine into an Agile project management tool
The first step is to extend Redmine with an Agile plugin that lets you implement the most effective techniques from Agile project management. These methodologies enable the software development team to deliver software projects that are closer to the client's objectives, faster and with better communication than in waterfall. To learn more about the waterfall and agile project management differences, check out our previous post.
With the Agile plugin, you can divide the project into smaller deliverable chunks and deliver a final product with more transparency and faster time to market. Each piece – usually a task is represented as a card on the Agile board. Cards can display a range of parameters, and boards can be fully customized for your team setting, each role, and person.
What's the real use of this? It's immediately visible what has to be done, when, and by whom. You can adjust the board to any methodology – Scrum, Kanban, or mixed. Using drag and drop makes it easy to assign a task to team members and move between statuses.
Board enables us to see progress on task realization, add comments, update statuses. In addition to the agile board, you can use a sprint planner, to divide the tasks into Sprints or versions. And once you start working on the project, you can use one of many Agile charts to track the progress of the work.
Teams that work on incoming tasks, such as customer support teams or marketing, can also become more Agile. By applying rules from Kanban methodology, they'll be able to focus on current tasks and protect themselves from being drowned in assignments.
2. Manage time tracking, resource management and reporting
Most of the software projects, Agile or not, are delivered with time and materials principals. If this applies to you as well, you have to keep track of every minute.
As a manager, you have to know how much time is spent on particular tasks, bugs, or features. You need to be able to bill clients accurately, but also to know your inside costs.
Redmine has a great time tracking module that provides you with timesheets and reports. For non-technical people, it might be hard to digest a raw table with numbers, but there's a quick fix for this.
By using a Reporter plugin, you can quickly generate a custom neat looking report showing progress on tasks and details. They can be combined from single or multiple tasks, and styled according to your needs. PDF reports can include how much time was recorded, how many changes there were in code, how many deployments have you done etc. – anything tracked in Redmine that your team is working on.
The best way to manage limited human resources is to upgrade Redmine with a plugin for resource management. With a resource planner, you can delegate the tasks onto people that are best suited for the job. What's more, you can see who's overloaded and who's free and just acting busy. You see a Gantt-ish like a chart with availability, time estimates, and reports. An excellent overview for the manager. For team members, the Resources plugin adds a personal widget where they see their tasks ad can manage them easily.
3. Integrate Redmine with code repository
One of the great Redmine built-in features is integration with GitHub and other code repositories. It allows the development team to tie code changes with a bug, features requests, and other issues. This helps to keep track of why the changes happened and where they originated. "Peter Gaarde from RSP Systems" connected Redmine with GitHub and is satisfied with the integration. In the case study, he said It helps his team to deliver the code changes faster and improve communication.
The process of integration with RedmineUP Cloud with GitHub or other source code repository is simple and can be finished in 10 minutes..
Another way you can significantly benefit from Redmine is to integrate with other external tools you might be using. You can connect them with Redmine via REST API. It can be used to plug tools for billing, communication, Q&A, knowledge base, external time trackers, or other web apps. With the possibilities of connection, it beats Jira and other commercial solutions.
4. Start Helpdesk in Redmine
Once the project goes to production, it's usually taken over by the Customer Success/Customer Support department.
You already know that it doesn't mean that the job is done. Sooner or later, a bug or request will emerge. As a developer, you cannot let the middle man disturb the communication. And this often happens, so please don't let them use emails. Emails get lost all the time. Wrong mailboxes, spam, and hard estimate if the email was actually received and read... it can be a mess.
Add Helpdesk plugin to Redmine to turn all emails from designated projects into support tickets and relate them with development tickets or bug requests. Connect your mailboxes, widget, or contact forms and keep all messages in one place.
You can keep the messages in basic Redmine, but with a rising number of requests, the daily routine gets hard to reply on time. Helpdesk plugin can ease the work with a set of features that let you automate the team's efforts and provide insights about the performance.
By using features such as email sorting rules, you can easily categorize messages to the right projects and people. Then use canned responses to reply faster on frequent questions. With automatic contact creation and history of correspondence in a minute, you know what's the current situation of the client. Read mark next to the sent message will tell you if the person opened it.
In one thread tickets are separated from internal comments. Thanks to this, your team can lead a discussion in one thread while involved clients will see only the messages intended for their eyes only. And you can always show them only public view panel and hide the details of the case. The Helpdesk plugin helps to keep the work according to SLA, by a set of metrics and reports.
Sometimes teams use different tools to deliver software and track issues with the production versions. But in the end, it makes coordinating changes hard and ineffective. Our client, SQL VIEW was in this situation, and they felt unproductive. Once they moved all communication into one channel – cloud-hosted Redmine, their productivity boosted.
5. Prepare estimates and invoices
When your teams start negotiations with new clients, you don't want to keep him waiting for a reply or estimation for the next big project.
By extending Redmine with Invoices plugin, you can bill the time entries and make the money flow. The module enables us to automatically translate the content of the invoice to different languages or markets. It let you with the template with one click to adjust it to specificities regulations (such as in Germany, Austria, or Russia).
This is especially convenient for software houses that provide time-based services for clients. You can also easily create Quotes or Estates for the projects to reply to all tenders, RFP, and other organizational requites.
Bonus – 6. How to make Redmine managed effectively?
Developers are one of the busiest teams. Other groups are admins and DevOps teams. The best way to free up some of your resources in these IT teams is to move in-house Redmine instances into Cloud hosting.
By choosing Redmine hosting over on-premise instance, you gain access to ready to use platform equipped with all plugins and always up-to-date. You don't need to worry about updates, security, migration, support.
With RedmineUP Cloud, you receive full services account with support, technical maintenance, and assistance of individual account manager. So additionally, your people don't need to manage tools, infrastructure, and administration. This approach lets you limit your total costs of ownership to a minimum, for less money than a day of work of your DevOps expert.
With one decision, you can boost the productivity and resource uses of your entire business. If īou want to take it for test-drive, you can create a free account in less than a minute and test the full fictional system for 15 days.
If you want to continue learning how to use Redmine for software development here, we described how we manage development projects using Redmine in another post.