– Thoughts on Strategy and Management

Essential small open source tools for managers

Keeping track of all tasks and projects can be difficult sometimes. However, this is an essential part of manager’s roles. That led us to the question, whether there are any small pieces of software which might help managers to keep track of all their duties. Well, in most cases you might use MS Outlook (or other types of groupware) but that is not the best solution for all situations. Of course you can spend extra money to buy several types of add-ins, but sometimes I don’t want to spend extra money to solve a specific problem.

So let’s have a look on my laptop screen which tools I use.

I have installed 5 small pieces of software which I found most helpful. Furthermore they are all free software. To be more specific, 4 are true open source programs and 1 is shareware but it works fine without registrations (there are no limitations within the unregistered version of the software). Let’s us start on the top of the left side.

Total Commander is an excellent file manager that has additional features like file compressing, ftp-server access and comparing folders. Some of you may remember the Norton Commander – and that is what “Total Commander” actually wants to be. Hence the second part of the name is commander. That piece of software is easy to use and helps you to organize all your files. The two window screen is most helpful. You can download the software on this website. TC is shareware and the programmer has been made releases in a constant way.

ToDoList is – as expressed by the name – a program to organize all your “to-do’s”. You can create and organize tasks and their subtasks, set priorities and structure your tasks by categories. There are dozens of flags to organize or to mark your tasks, and of course you can filter and group your tasks by those flags. You can download the software on this website. TDL is open source.



OpenProject is – as you can assume by its name – project management software. It has all what it takes to organize large projects and all essential features for organizing and monitoring project tasks (i.e. Gantt diagram, network plans, resource management) are in place. According to the website it has been downloaded over 1250000 times in over 142 countries. The only feature that does not work is the integrated pdf-file export, but you can easily work around by using a pdf-printer driver on your PC. You can download the software on this website. OP is open source.

Notepad ++ is a text editor. It has far more functions then the Window-system integrated text file editor. You can change the format/coding of text files. You can edit and manipulate different types of files, not matter it is a simple txt-file, C++, php, or an xml-file. You can work on several files at the same time, using the multi-view function. That is excellent software; I wonder that it is still open source software. You can download the software on this website.

Last but not least I use Free Mind. It’s easy-to-use software for mind mapping. You can do all the steps that you can do in mind mapping software, including exporting to html or xml. You can also copy and paste your mind maps to MS Word and Outlook. Open Mind is open source, too. You can download this software on this website.

Now it is up to you to manage you duties. There are excellent pieces of open source software available on the Internet, which can help you to become more productive.