Dancing with Elephants or When Open Source Projects Collide

Patrick aka The Customer Service Fanatic emailed me the other day notifying me about a particular post in the SugarCRM forums. Although I have an account over there, I am rarely active prefering instead to dig through the dotProject forums and help wayward souls. But this topic immediately caught my interest…

Apparently, the SugarCRM crew is going to be implementing Project Management in the next release (3.0). They seem to still be in the early requirements stage, but this concerns me nonetheless. I responded describing the fact that there are many who are interested in integrating the two projects and that the SugarCRM crew may be the best off by lending support as opposed to subsuming functionality.

At the time of this writing, I'm not sure what is going to happen, but here are some plausible scenarios I see:

SugarCRM may begin implementing Project Management functionality. Since they have fulltime paid staff, they could probably do aspects of this quite quickly and therefore catch up in many areas of functionality which would threaten the dotProject community. The magnitude of this threat would depend on whether this Project Management module is in the free or Pro versions and what the complete functionality is.

Alternatively, the newest release of dotProject – due out any day now – may dwarf the SugarCRM implementation in terms of functionality and make the SugarCRM effort appear weak. In this case, it may be better for SugarCRM to focus on interoperability and realize that connecting themselves with an existing community can help their own efforts.

Regardless, there is a third player here that I haven't mentioned… vTiger. I've talked about them before and – for the record – I don't approve of what they've done, but this may serve as a huge opportunity for them to make nice with the Open Source community while undermining some of their biggest opposition.

Maybe another Project Management tool can exist in the same space, maybe not. It remains to be seen how the lines will be drawn and how the players will react.