Restyaboard is my new favorite free, open-source project management solution

Project management tools are tricky. First, developers tend to despise them when they perceive them as too bureaucratic and interfering with just getting work done. Managers tend to love their flashy dashboards and charts too much, substituting actual productivity with some easy to digest but ultimately meaningless metrics.

I’ve been struggling for 14 years to find a good project/task manager. My first experience was with Task Vision, a sample project made by Microsoft, an arcane tool. I then worked with Jira and Redmine and a bunch of others.

More recently, I wanted to find something more streamlined for our very small team, so I had to look at the various offerings. The main criteria were:

  1. something easy to use, preferably Kanban-style
  2. a streamlined interface, something that doesn’t get in the way it is preferably a joy to use.
  3. something free & open-source.

I tried a bunch of tools, from Trello and MeisterTask to Taiga and Open Project. Open Project seemed like a good match initially, except for some unknown reason Kanban boards are considered an Enterprise feature and it’s also a major resource hog.

I finally discovered Restya and it was love at first sight.

Restya Board

Unlike Trello and others, you can install Restya on your own server. I’m sick of using a dozen SaaS, where each one is unpredictable – price changes, a provider is acquired by another, a service is discontinued. Having the tool on your own infrastructure is so refreshing!

Installing Restya is quite easy. You just download a shell script and it takes care of the rest. As a bonus, it uses nginx natively, which was a nice surprise as we use it extensively. It also requires Postgresql and PHP 7.2, which is quite decent. Overall, it demands much less resources than Open Project or Orange Scrum.

The interface is intuitive. I can’t stress this enough – developers use a project manager to solve problems and improve productivity, so the interface better not stand in the way. Overall, I found Restya very intuitive and at least as easy to use as Trello and MeisterTask, while being more powerful.

Restya also has some paid plugins that I never had the chance to test, but some of them seem very useful, like the Zapier integration.

So if you’re looking for an open source project management solution that’s easy to install, feature-packed and with a clean interface, Restya just might be it.