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Open source product management software is a product lifecycle management tool that allows open access to the source code for developer improvement. The main function of this software is to keep accurate records of all product management processes throughout the various stages of a product's lifecycle. Product management software performs a variety of tracking tasks, including product planning, development, and marketing. As an open source software suite, the product management tool can be adapted to the product's specific needs and grow with changes in the company.
In the fields of manufacturing and marketing, being able to stay up to date with the various developments of a product throughout its lifecycle is very important. Open source product management software helps company think tanks assess the value of product development ideas, as well as helping design and development teams to track their work. Once the design phase is completed, product management software tracks the manufacturing process and inventory of the product. The open source product management software then assumes another role in monitoring the marketing and branding of the products and tracking profits and losses. In some cases, product management software may continue to track individual products even after the sale for warranty information and service records purposes.
The main advantage of open source software is the fact that it is user developed. This software is a in continuous state of change as users develop their own extensions and tweaks to the existing source code. While open source product management software can be, and usually is, a complete package, the ability to access the source code offers individuals with technical skills the opportunity to customize the software for their own needs.
To illustrate the benefit of open source product management software, consider a company that purchases a non-open-source, off the shelf product management suite. At the same time, a second company purchases an open source product management software package. A week later, both companies realize they need the software to also track the inventory-to-sales ratio of a product. The company using product management software without open source will likely be required to purchase a new software package. With the open source solution, the second company can put an in-house developer or a freelance coder to work creating an extension for the program, thus eliminating the additional expense and potential compatibility issues.