Start-up Tools: Open Atrium

When it comes to small business project management, Basecamp by 37signals has been the king of the hill for some time. Now though, there is an exciting new player in the field: Open Atrium. It’s a Drupal based open source project management system somewhat like Basecamp, though with many more features.

Open Atrium is new on the scene, with beta 1 being released just 4 days ago – though it’s already rather polished and seems to work well. While there are some hiccups with the installer and a disappointing lack of documentation, it’s still very easy to install and takes only a few minutes to get running.

It has all the major features that you would expect, plus a few extras such as a twitter-like shoutbox system. Here are the highlights:

  • Blogging
  • Calendar
  • Dashboard
  • Document Storage
  • Task Management

Being open source and self-hosted adds some nice benefits; unlimited customization, full control of your data, and my favorite: can be installed on a non-public web server. Having you project management system sit behind a VPN is a great way to avoid data leaks and embarrassments.

I’m still debating which is best, Basecamp or Open Atrium – but if you want to save some money, Open Atrium is worth looking into.