A project management team holds an in person forum.
Image: pressmaster/Adobe Stock

When you think of project management, you may think of major platforms like Asana, Trello, ClickUp, monday.com, Notion and Confluence. You may also think of features like kanban, Gantt charts, Scrum, timelines, calendars, document management and tasks.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

There’s one feature that often gets overlooked, and it’s one that can have a very positive impact on how smoothly your project will go. That feature is forums. That’s right: forums.

Why you should be using OpenProject Forums

The open source OpenProject platform includes a Forums module that can be enabled and used on a per-project basis, but why would you need a forum associated with your project management efforts? Simple enough — communication. Many project management tools offer real-time communication tools like chat, DMs and Slack-like threaded collaboration, but a forum gives you the ability to break discussions into specific project-related topics and keep a history of the discussions. This allows team members to refer back to anything that was said about any given issue.

Forums are also a great way to keep team members interacting with and learning from one another. This is especially true with remote teams that don’t have the benefit of face-to-face communication. I’m going to show you how to enable the Forums module in OpenProject and then how to create your first one.

What you’ll need to use Forums in OpenProject

The only things you’ll need for this are a running instance of OpenProject and a user with admin privileges. That’s it: Let’s get to the forums.

How to enable the Forums module

Log in to your OpenProject instance and select the project you want to work with. Once in that project, click Project Settings from the left navigation (Figure A).

Figure A

The OpenProject left sidebar.
The OpenProject left sidebar.

In the Settings window, click Modules in the left navigation. On the Modules page, make sure to click the checkbox for Forums (Figure B) and then click Save.

Figure B

I've enabled every OpenProject model for testing purposes.
I’ve enabled every OpenProject model for testing purposes.

The Forums module is up and ready to use.

How to create your first forum

Exit the Project Settings page by clicking the left-pointing arrow at the top-left of the page. You should then see Forums listed in the left navigation. Click that entry. Then, on the resulting page (Figure C), click +Forum in the top-right corner.

Figure C

I've already created a test forum in OpenProject.
I’ve already created a test forum in OpenProject.

In the resulting window (Figure D), give the forum a name and an optional description. Click Create.

Figure D

Creating your first OpenProject forum.
Creating your first OpenProject forum.

This will take you back to the Forums listing page, where you can click your new forum and in the resulting page (Figure E) start creating messages.

Figure E

The new forum is ready to host all of the discussions relating to your project.
The new forum is ready to host all of the discussions relating to your project.

Decisions made simple

If you’re looking to add a level of collaborative discussion to OpenProject, the Forums module is the way to go. If you’re looking for a project management platform you can quickly deploy in-house, OpenProject is one of your best options.

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