How to configure OpenProject before your teams start using it for project management

How to configure OpenProject before your teams start using it for project management

How to configure OpenProject before your teams start using it for project management

Now that OpenProject has been successfully implemented, there are a few steps you need to take before you unleash the project management tool on your teams. Jack Wallen walks you through these steps.

Young architects working on project in the office
Image: NDACREATIVY/Adobe Stock

If you’re looking for a new project management tool, you’d be remiss if you didn’t consider OpenProject, a location-agnostic team collaboration platform. OpenProject can be used to manage releases, tickets, hybrid projects, agile boards, and enterprise projects, and it includes Gantt charts, boards, members, news, calendars, backlogs, work packages, meetings, time, and costs.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Project Manager (TechRepublic Premium)

OpenProject can be deployed to your data center or a third-party cloud host and installed traditionally or deployed through a Docker container. Either way, you have a tool that is perfectly capable of meeting your project management needs.

Once it’s up and running, there are a few administrative tasks to perform before releasing it to your teams for use in project management. Let me guide you through those tasks.

What do you need to configure OpenProject

All you need to follow is a running instance of OpenProject.

Change the default administrator password

This should be done immediately as the default admin user password is also admin. To change the administrator password, log in to OpenProject and click the profile icon in the top right corner. In that pop-up menu, click My Account. In the resulting window, click Change Password in the left navigation (Image A).

Image A

The My Account settings page for OpenProject.

In the Change Password window (Figure B), type admin for Current Password and then type a stronger password for the administrators.

Figure B

Change the administrator password in OpenProject.

How to configure the hostname and sitename

Out of the box, you may see a hostname mismatch error. This can happen if you use an IP address to reach OpenProject, for example if it is deployed in your LAN, because OpenProject defaults the hostname to localhost:3000. We need to change that, as well as the site name.

To do this, click the profile drop-down list and select Administration. In the resulting window (Figure C), click System Settings.

Figure C

The OpenProject admin dashboard gives you plenty of options to experiment with.

On the General tab (Figure D), you want to rename the site in the Application title field and then change localhost:3000 to SERVER:3000 where SERVER is either the IP address or domain of the hosting server.

Figure D

Change the site title and hostname for OpenProject.

Scroll down and click Save.

Create users

Your project management tool is pretty useless without teammates to work with. Fortunately, OpenProject makes this a fairly simple task.

Go back to profile | Manage and click Users and Permissions. In the new window (Figure E), click + User in the top right corner.

Figure E

The User Management page in OpenProject.

Enter a first name, last name, and email address for the new user (Figure F). Click the checkbox if you want that user to serve as the site administrator.

Figure F

Create a new OpenProject user.

When you’re done, click Create to add the user, or click Create and Continue to save the user and immediately add another user. Since OpenProject does not allow users to set their own passwords when they first try to log in, you must set a password for them – make sure they change it as soon as they log in – or let the system generate a random password, that is emailed to the user.

To manage the user password, go back to Manage | Users & Permissions and click on the new user you just created. In the resulting window, you can create a new password or have the system send an email under the Authentication section (Figure G).

Figure G

Set a password for a new user in OpenProject.

Once that user logs in successfully, they are immediately prompted to change their password (figure H).

figure H

A new user is always warned to change their password.

How to Configure the SMTP Server

Finally, you also need to configure the SMTP server settings for OpenProject. To do this, go to Profile | Administration | Email | Email notifications. In this window, you first want to change the emission email address from [email protected] to the admin user for the site.

Then scroll down to the Configure your email provider section (Figure I) and configure the SMTP server you will use for OpenProject.

Figure I

Configure SMTP for OpenProject.

One thing to note is that OpenProject does not work well with the Gmail SMTP servers. So if you’re having trouble with Gmail, you should probably look elsewhere for an SMTP host for the OpenProject. When you’re done, click Save and then Send a test email to make sure everything works as expected.

At this point you are ready to proceed to the next steps with OpenProject. Enjoy this powerful new project management tool that will benefit your business and your projects.

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