Testimonial: Was hab' ich? and OpenProject

Healthcare NGO testimonial: Switching from Jira to OpenProject easily

Tiempo estimado de lectura: 8 minutos

We had a very good start with OpenProject. Both the technical migration from Jira and the change of processes for our employees worked very well.
Ansgar Jonietz, founder of ‘Was hab’ ich?’, Germany. Image credit: Amac Garbe / amacgarbe.de

Ansgar Jonietz, head of ‘Was hab’ ich?’

Since ‘Jira Server’ ended in March 2024, many customers were and still are looking for an alternative project management software. In contrast to Jira, OpenProject still gives its users the choice: Do you want to use the cloud version or host your data on your own servers? Ansgar Jonietz, founder of the German healthcare NGO ‘Was hab’ ich?’, faced the same challenge as many others and had to switch his organization’s project management from Jira to another tool. In an interview, he explains why he is satisfied with OpenProject and how the migration from Jira to OpenProject worked out for him and his employees.

Read in this testimonial article how exactly ‘Was hab’ ich?’ switched from Jira to OpenProject in January 2024, how their employees experienced this change and what features they mainly use.

About: Was hab’ ich? is a German NGO in the healthcare sector. The core idea of the organization is to translate medical terminology for patients into easily understandable German.

Was hab’ ich team The team of ‘Was hab’ ich?’. Image credit: Amac Garbe / amacgarbe.de

13 years of organizational improvement: moving from postcard-tasks to Jira and finally to OpenProject

The roots of ‘Was hab’ ich?” date back to 2011: Back then, IT specialist Ansgar Jonietz and two medical students built the online platform on which patients can still post medical findings that are incomprehensible to them and receive a free explanation. Although additional projects have been added today, the core idea of ‘Was hab’ ich?’ (German for “What (sickness) do I have?”) is still there: Translating medical jargon into easy-to-understand German so that everyone can understand what doctors are saying about them. Then as now, the translation is carried out by a team of volunteers - both doctors and medical students, who are trained accordingly beforehand.

Over the years, other projects have developed around this platform, all of which focus on good patient communication and achieve a social impact. In addition to the volunteers, ‘Was hab’ ich?’ now has fifteen permanent employees, including nine female doctors and two software developers. This team also helps to coordinate and train the medical volunteers.

Even in the small initial team, the three founders worked with agile methods, which they still use today. However, the communication channels were still very rudimentary at the beginning: There was a time, explains Ansgar Jonietz, when the team organized itself on paper with the help of printed postcards. However, they eventually had to abandon this method when the first employees started working remotely. Then they organized themselves using spreadsheets in Google Drive, which could also only be a temporary solution. After a while, they settled on the project management software Jira, which they worked with intensively for several years.

With the end of the ‘Jira Server’ option and their ‘End Of Life’ in March 2024, Ansgar Jonietz and team had to either migrate to Jira Cloud or look for a software alternative for project management in smaller teams. Switching to the cloud version of Jira was also an option for ‘Was hab’ ich?’, but for Ansgar Jonietz the high price on the one hand and “the risks that a cloud version entails” on the other were arguments against it.

Switching to OpenProject was ultimately the best solution for the organization, mainly for the following reasons:

  • In addition to the cloud version, OpenProject is and will remain available as an on-premise version
  • Special rates are available for NGOs and educational institutions for the Enterprise version
  • The familiar way of working with Jira was easily transferable to OpenProject

Ansgar Jonietz on the decision to switch from Jira to OpenProject on-premises: “It gives you a good feeling when you know that the data is still hosted by us and is absolutely secure.”

Migrating from Jira to OpenProject

“How did you eventually migrate your data from Jira to OpenProject?”, I asked Ansgar Jonietz in our interview. His response: “Overall, the migration went very well for us. We used OpenProject’s Excel Synchronization to transfer our data from Jira. This was an unfamiliar method for us at first, but it went smoothly and successfully.”

After importing the data, the work packages in OpenProject still contain the IDs from Jira so that employees can still trace them back to the originals.

However, moving from one project management system to another is not just a technical change: employees also have to get used to the new tool and possibly have to learn some new workflows. Again, I asked Ansgar Jonietz what feedback the team had on switching from Jira to OpenProject. Here is his response:

“Switching our workflows from Jira to OpenProject also worked very well. We only ever use some of the features - for us, working properly with the work packages, for example, is very important to ensure that we get the sprint planning right. And that worked very well after the migration. The employees also have a good overview of what is due for them and also the time recording works perfectly. Yes, there was only positive feedback from colleagues about the introduction of OpenProject.”

Thinking about switching from Jira (Confluence) to OpenProject? As described in this testimonial, a switch is perfectly possible both technically and in terms of workflows. Read more about migrating data from Jira to OpenProject in our documentation.

How ‘Was hab’ ich?’ works with OpenProject

As we have just heard, the organization works in an agile way, according to a kind of scrum with sprint planning and backlogs. The most frequently used features in OpenProject are for ’‚Was hab‘ ich?‘:

  • Paquetes de trabajo
  • Backlogs (currently used in the application); Trabajos pendientes
  • Seguimiento de Tiempo

Task management with work packages in particular impress with a wide range of configuration options and a very modern look and feel. Time tracking also works perfectly for ‘Was hab’ ich?’. On the one hand, this is helpful for internal employees to get an overview of the workload for individual projects and tasks. On the other hand, it is also useful for billing customers. The team distinguishes between the activities ‘work’ and ‘QA’, i.e. quality assurance. The latter is an important factor in the work of “Was hab’ ich?”, for example when medical articles are created by one doctor and reviewed by another.

There are three large projects at the organization’s instance, which are divided into subprojects: IT (subdivided into the projects Dev + DevOps), Operations and ‘Was hab’ ich?’ (subdivided into projects for individual customers). Two freelancers work for the organization in the DevOps team, who have also installed OpenProject, for example, and deal with very technical issues. Apart from that, the team currently consists of 15 permanent employees, nine of whom are doctors. Although they regularly work with digital processes, they are no technology experts and are happy to work with OpenProject, for example to set up medical articles and findings as work files and manage the process.

Here is an example how ‘Was hab’ ich?’ manages their software development and IT operations (DevOps) with OpenProject’s work packages:

Screenshot of a work package table in OpenProject, showing 8 topics in a DevOps project

Secure project management software for the healthcare sector

Handling sensitive data is a top priority for reliable companies. This is a particularly sensitive issue in the healthcare sector: Customers and patients rely on their data being treated confidentially. For ‘Was hab’ ich?’ GmbH, data protection is also an important concern. After all, one of the core tasks of the organization is to translate medical findings into understandable language. For this reason, we obviously cannot and do not want to show screenshots of how ‘Was hab’ ich?’ uses OpenProject for their customers in this testimonial article. For OpenProject, too, data protection has absolute priority. Many customers from the healthcare sector already trust the open source software OpenProject.

Ansgar Jonietz on data protection: “We don’t want to have to pay attention to whether a ticket contains personal data. With OpenProject on-premises, we have power over the system and can focus on our work.”

Thank you, Ansgar Jonietz and ‘Was hab’ ich?’, for your trust in OpenProject and for taking the time to present your project to our readers! We are pleased that you have chosen OpenProject as a reliable and trustworthy alternative to Jira. Read more about OpenProject as the open source Jira alternative and compare both tools side by side.