For managing tasks and projects at IT Consultis, we use Redmine. And being as addicted as we are to it for managing our projects, we think it would be very helpful to share few tips on how to use Redmine effectively.
Written using the Ruby on Rails framework, Redmine is a powerful free open source, flexible web-based project management and bug-tracking tool developed by Jean-Philippe Lang.
This project management system includes a lot of great features such as issues management, time tracking and its own wiki. It even includes Gantt charts, a calendar, a roadmap, and other helpful features you can use to keep track of what's going on with your development projects.
How to Use It Effectively
Since Redmine is released under a GNU General Public License v2, you can modify and customize it according to your work/project environment. But if you are new to the game, you might need to spend a lot of time on the internet and other related forums researching how to use Redmine effectively.
Keep Calm! Here we give you the 10 ultimate Redmine tips in a nutshell to save you some valuable time:
1. Change The Template and Make it Look Cool
The default skin is boring—and it gets very boring when you use the default skin for a long time. Moreover, it is just an act of basic human psychology that we all expect changes. So of course, you should use a Redmine theme that reflects your spirit.
And if you want to be even more awesome, link your e-mail with Gravatar so Redmine can display your avatar all around its interface.
2. Power Charge with Some Plugins
The native features of Redmine work great for most of the users. However, you can supercharge it and modify its original behavior by installing some third party plugins. You should be wise choosing these 3rd party plugins from Redmine community though and always make sure to double check the plugin compatibility and read the documentation before you download.
If you want to have a look, here is the full list of available plugins from the Redmine community. If you are looking for something a bit more to the point, here are 5 Redmine Plugins that you might want to check out as well.
As usual—don't forget to backup before trying anything!
3. Right Click for Fast Editing
You can change any issue status, version or anything else just by right clicking on it in a list view. When right clicking, it will open a context menu with different options to update the issue. This context menu offers shortcuts to re-prioritize, quickly edit, reassign, copy, move or delete the issue. When working with the SCRUM method this is a good way to update issues without having to open all of them during a stand up meeting.
You can also perform bulk edit of issues by selecting multiple issues and then right-clicking on the selection.
4. Creating Multiple Project Sprint Using a Parent Project
One Redmine version can be used to create different sprints for your projects. The only problem is that it becomes difficult to deal with multiple projects at the same time.
The solution is to create a parent project that will contain all your projects. Sprints (aka version here) will be created and shared with all the sub-projects by activating the sharing option, which allows you to share the version with other projects, so that issues from these other projects can be assigned to the shared versions.
5. Get The Mobile App for an Easy Update on The Go!
Often on the road? You can access Redmine from your mobile too. Here is a selection of few Mobile Redmine apps that become handy when you are on the go. You can also download the Redmine App for iPhone here and the RedminePM for Android and iPhone.
6. Get The Desktop Client
Integrating Redmine to your PC/Mac is always a good idea for software aficionados like you. It makes time tracking and follow-up easier without having to look at the notifications all the time.
To do this, we recommend RMClient software, which works both on Windows and Mac. This is free for non-commercial use and 5USD/month for commercial use. It has a nice UX to help you understand the priorities on your different issues.
7. Automatic Environment Creation
This one is a bit more complex. You can improve your development flow by creating some scripts. Actually, it's a lot of scripts. Imagine you create your project on Redmine, you choose your distribution channel (Drupal, Magento or Wordpress) and from there a development environment is automatically created: SVN, local environment, staging environment, databases, htpasswd and even doing the initial commit on the SVN with the correct CMS distribution. This is cool to kick off the project in a more efficient way, but it definitely requires a lot of R&D to make it all work smoothly. Icing on the cake, all the information to connect to the different environments is added to the overview tab of the project.
Afterwards, we even have a Hudson working to push the last SVN revision on the staging.
8. Link to Git or SVN
After correctly setting up the database for your production environment, the next step is to link your commits with Redmine issue numbers. When it does so, it will automatically link the commits on the issue page, which works quite well. But note that you don't need a commit to have an issue reference.
You can refer to this article to see how to link the Redmine issue to SVN revision
Similarly, for every revision, it will be easy to see which commit has been made. The result is that you can see what exactly has been modified to resolve an issue.
9. Become systematic
If you have successfully accomplished all the tips mentioned above, congrats! Now you have a great - actually awesome - interest towards ‘Redmine’. The next best thing you should do is get systematic with the use of it and make sure every project/task that your team handling are done so effectively.
10. Create your own module
The game is not over yet! You might have noticed that there are tons of additional modules available that can be added to the system using Redmine plugins. Why don’t you try to create your own Redmine module? Buckle down, learn some Ruby and get to work!
We love Redmine!
Our team routinely deals with multi-lingual and complex projects and we find Redmine is highly efficient for managing our web based projects. Since it is open-source, we really enjoy customizing it for different projects.
But enough said, we highly recommend you to use Redmine if you are into multi-project management solutions. Also, feel free share your best tips for using Redmine effectively in the comments below.