I Grew My Open-Supply Software program Facet Challenge To $3K/Month [$0 Spent On

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Hey! Who’re you and what enterprise did you begin?

My identify is Dmitry Barashev and I’m the man who’s engaged on GanttProject, a well-liked free open-source challenge scheduling utility for desktop working techniques. GanttProject could also be regarded as a alternative for Microsoft Challenge for many who can’t afford to spend $1000 on a Gantt chart drawing software program. It’s utilized by small and medium-sized companies in development, mechanical engineering, media manufacturing, and different industries, in addition to at schools on challenge administration lessons.

GanttProject is free for any goal, nevertheless, there may be an choice to pay-what-you-want and, to my massive shock, fairly just a few individuals select this feature. This, together with just a few advert banners, generates about $3000-5000 month-to-month. Fairly removed from the Forbes checklist, however not unhealthy for a pet challenge.

What’s your backstory and the way did you give you the thought?

GanttProject was began within the early 2000s by Alexandre Thomas, a man from France, throughout his research on the College of Marne-la-Vallée. I joined just a few months later simply by coincidence.

We tried to make use of challenge administration software program (learn: Gantt charts) at my foremost job. Most of us labored on Home windows and used Microsoft Challenge, and I used to be the one one who labored on Linux. I looked for open-source Gantt chart drawing software program and located GanttProject. I wanted a command-line export, which was lacking. Nonetheless, the supply code was open, so I carried out it myself and despatched a patch to Alexandre (these days there have been no GitHub, no pull requests) and it was my first contribution.

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GanttProject model 1.+

A number of years later Alexandre principally misplaced curiosity in GanttProject. This occurs to virtually each open-source pet challenge with no massive firm behind. Nonetheless, I stayed and took over the management and administration.

In 2007 I began an experiment with Google adverts on the web site and it turned out to achieve success: the primary month with adverts generated about $6 (six {dollars})! I had already began working at Google in a software program engineer place by that second, and the revenue from adverts was fairly negligible. However engaged on GanttProject was enjoyable, and it’s nonetheless enjoyable at this time, 15 years later.

Take us via the method of revamping & designing the software program.

Challenge administration software program is kind of a longtime and conservative enterprise, and essentially the most requested or anticipated options are very well-known. If you’re similar to Microsoft Challenge, besides that you’re free, you rock. We didn’t attempt to copy all of the options of Microsoft Challenge or clone the look of Gnome Planner, an open-source PM instrument for Linux which was widespread at the moment, however the primary options of such functions are actually very comparable.

Have enjoyable and go forward!

It additionally was very straightforward to distribute. Within the 2000s there have been no self-contained utility bundles, no utility signing was required, there was only one vendor of Java Runtime and you may depend on Java being put in by default, sure, even on Mac OSX! So all you needed to do was to construct a JAR or ZIP file and publish it on SourceForge. It was straightforward and the price was zero.

We iterated shortly, revealed new variations almost each week, and fairly quickly GanttProject grew to become highly regarded.

Describe the method of getting the product out in the marketplace

The advantage of open-source pet tasks is that you haven’t any stakeholders or traders, who’re nervous about their ROI, technique, execution, traction, and all that enjoyable stuff. You may simply write code and construct an ideal product. Effectively, supplied that there’s somebody who pays you at your foremost job. We didn’t do something to draw prospects and have by no means spent a single greenback on paid site visitors.

We hosted a easy web site on SourceForge and mainly, that’s it. Nonetheless, GanttProject was product, and the selection of free alternate options to MS Challenge was not so massive at the moment, so new customers stored coming. The expansion has by no means been exponential — the dream of the trendy startup! — however it was regular for properly over a decade.

We had some adverts income (sarcastically, plainly one of many best-selling adverts was positioned by our business opponents), and at one second considered one of our customers gave us good recommendation to begin “promoting” GanttProject utilizing the pay-what-you-want mannequin. We added a “paid obtain” choice and the income turned out to be comparable with the adverts.

Since launch, what has labored to draw and retain prospects?

For my part, GanttProject prospects are very loyal. As soon as they determine that GanttProject matches their functions, they stick with us for a few years, and that’s for a purpose! GanttProject may be very dependable in relation to compatibility. We are able to learn our challenge recordsdata created years in the past, furthermore, we are able to import aged Microsoft Challenge paperwork which may’t be opened by the current variations of Microsoft Challenge itself! The person interface evolves slowly, and even within the newest GanttProject launch, it seems fairly just like the primary revealed model. Customers don’t want to vary their habits yearly and for my part, this can be a nice approach to retain them.

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GanttProject 3.2, work in progress as of Fall 2021

New prospects principally come from the online serps the place GanttProject seems on the primary web page, and typically as simply the primary outcome by the related queries like “free gantt chart”. Within the final years I’ve been utilizing a Fb web page for amassing likes and proposals, and websites like Capterra for the opinions and hope that it will increase the attention of the audience, nevertheless, I’m not certain that the impression of that’s vital.

GanttProject is desktop software program and thus, as soon as challenge managers set up it, they will hold utilizing it for a very long time with out getting again to our web site. To maintain them knowledgeable, there’s a easy information channel that’s constructed straight into GanttProject. It sends an HTTP request as soon as per day and reads an RSS feed from our weblog. The entries within the feed are tagged with labels and permit for exhibiting a notification to the customers of some particular model or all variations as much as the given one. This information channel may be very environment friendly for utilization analytics functions, as we’ve an estimate of how many individuals are utilizing GanttProject and what variations do they use. And naturally, once we launch a brand new model, we publish an announcement to the channel and see spike in all metrics.

How are you doing at this time and what does the longer term seem like?

At present many actions transfer to the cloud and challenge administration is not any exception. There’s a good selection of on-line PM instruments, and plenty of of them supply free utilization plans. GanttProject prospects nonetheless love full freedom and that no Web entry is required, however we really feel that the demand for collaboration options is fairly excessive. That’s why we began constructing a low-cost business product, GanttProject Cloud. It’s a challenge and collaboration server which supplies on-line challenge storage with entry permissions and model management, generates charts and reviews, and provides collaboration options to the desktop GanttProject. Prospects pay for the precise utilization, so it’s protected for his or her budgets to run tasks even with many collaborators who principally keep idle.

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GanttProject Cloud touchdown web page

GanttProject Cloud is on the beta testing stage. There are simply 2-3k month-to-month lively customers and just some paying prospects. Nonetheless, provided that we spent $0 on adverts or another form of promotion, this doesn’t seem like a failure.

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20x development in 8 months for the reason that second of public beta launch seems spectacular! Okay, it’s simply 2000 MAU vs 100MAU, not a giant deal really.

By beginning the enterprise, have you ever discovered something notably useful or advantageous?

I’m an engineer, not a businessman, and never even a product supervisor, and typically it was difficult for me to cease enthusiastic about code and swap to the person’s wants. It seems that customers don’t care an excessive amount of about your code structure, they simply want a instrument to get their job finished and wish new options to be added shortly. Lengthy pauses between the releases have at all times had a destructive impression, whereas quick and small iterations normally labored properly. On the optimistic facet, from the engineering perspective, you study to write down your code in order that you wouldn’t should spend weeks rewriting it afterward.

Additionally, buyer assist teaches me to be very affected person, forgiving, and kinda meticulous. The top-users usually aren’t very tech-savvy, and typically the method of getting the difficulty particulars from them is an extended and exhausting problem. I’m not superb at speaking with individuals from the surface of the software program engineering universe, however I truthfully do my finest.

What platform/instruments do you utilize for your enterprise?

We use Gumroad for simple pay-what-you-want funds. They’re cool they usually take away loads of paperwork trouble, specifically, all tax-related points are on them. Speaking in regards to the engineering stuff, GanttProject, similar to just about any open-source challenge, makes use of GitHub and we’re very proud of its companies. The servers are on Google Cloud Platform and it really works very properly.

We use the open-source discussion board software program known as Discourse for the assist portal and it’s simply superior.

Typically we rent engineers for some specific duties on Upwork or comparable platforms. That is helpful when you could have a well-scoped process that’s protected sufficient to be outsourced.

What have been essentially the most influential books, podcasts, or different sources?

GanttProject is a enjoyable pet challenge and naturally, essentially the most influential e book was Only for Enjoyable by Linus Torvalds, the founding father of the open-source Linux working system.

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Recommendation for different entrepreneurs who need to get began or are simply beginning out?

Have enjoyable and go forward!

The place can we go to study extra?


 

Dmitry Barashev
 
Founding father of GanttProject

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