A businessperson telling the news with a megaphone.
Image: ronstik/Adobe Stock

Your current project management tool may be very good at keeping your teams on track for a timely deployment. From kanban boards, Gantt charts, timelines and calendars, most features are quite obvious in how they keep things moving forward.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

That same platform may also have other features that aren’t quite so obvious as to how they help keep everything efficient. Although those extra platform perks might not be so cut and dry as to how they ease the workflow a bit, they do have a purpose.

What is OpenProject News, and why should you use it?

With OpenProject, an open source project management solution, there are a few such features, one of which is called News. This feature provides announcements, details, heads up, projections — any bit of information that could be helpful to your team.

You might easily have overlooked the feature. After all, why should you take the time to post a news item when there are more important things to take care of?

Well, that news item might give your team just the motivation they need to get to the other side of that sprint. Alternatively, perhaps there’s a very important announcement about the project that needs to be disseminated throughout the team and other stakeholders.

Let’s say you want to post a news item to inform your team that the deadline for the project has been extended because the client wants to add an extra feature to the software you’re building. That news will be cause for both celebration and frustration. Either way, you need to let your team know.

You could certainly send out an email or announce the news at a meeting, but why chance one of your team members missing it? This is especially important when you know every team member is in and out of OpenProject throughout the workday: That’s why we’re going the News route.

If that sounds like something you would like to incorporate into your workflow, OpenProject is ready for it. Let me show you how easy it is to post a news item for your team to consume.

What you’ll need to post a News item with OpenProject

The only thing you’ll need for this is a valid OpenProject account. This can be either a self-hosted instance, such as when you deploy OpenProject with Docker, or it can be a paid, hosted plan. Either way, that’s all you need. Let’s create all the news that’s fit to share.

How to post a News item with OpenProject

Log in to your OpenProject account. On the main page, you should see the News entry in the left navigation (Figure A).

Figure A

The OpenProject left sidebar is where you access most of the features.
The OpenProject left sidebar is where you access most of the features.

Click News. On the resulting page (Figure B), you’ll likely be shown that there are no current News items.

Figure B

Is no news really good news?
Is no news really good news?

Click the Add A News Item option. In the Add News window (Figure C), give the news item a title, summary and description.

Figure C

Adding a pre-built Macro to a News item.
Adding a pre-built Macro to a News item.

You can also format the description, add code snippets, tables, quotes and lists, and even take advantage of a few pre-built macros for its Table of Contents, Embed Work Package Table and Links to Child Pages.

To use the Macro feature, you must have already created Work Pages or pages to link. Other than that, adding a news item is quite straightforward.

Once you’ve created your news item, click Create to save the news, which will then appear in the News section of OpenProject, displaying the Title and Summary.

To read the body of the News item, team members must click on the title to expand it (Figure D).

Figure D

For each item you add, it will add another entry to the table of contents.
For each item you add, it will add another entry to the table of contents.

An easy way to keep your team apprised

Instead of sending out emails that can easily be missed, accidentally deleted or caught in spam filters, your best means of keeping your team apprised is to use the OpenProject News feature.

Do this regularly and make sure every member of the team knows to check for news daily. You might even consider adding a News widget to the Dashboard so every announcement is always front and center.

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