Custom fields allow you in Redmine to clearly manage additional information within entities such as issues, projects, users, etc. and make it available to other members. So that important attributes and their values are quickly usable and information can be processed accordingly effectively. Custom fields can be (depending on the entity) defined across projects or at the project level (only for a specific project). As well as for a specific role or all users. You can even define if they are obligatory, searchable or usable as filter.
The ability to set custom fields makes Redmine so powerful for various business opportunities. But like all good things, too much can be negative in relation to performance and administration. Learn some best practices on how to manage custom fields in Redmine effectively.
Why custom fields are used
They are used to individually capture and display exactly the information that is relevant for a project or team or a special user role in this team. Here is a list of possible custom field formats you can create per entity:
- Boolean (Display as: drop-down list, checkbox, radio buttons)
- Key / value list (Display as: drop-down list, checkbox)
- List (Display as: drop-down list, checkbox)
- Long text
- User (Display as: drop-down list, checkbox)
Additional field types can be added here by installed plugins.
Why to keep an eye on custom fields
To keep the administration effort low, a new custom field should not be created lightly. Existing fields should also be checked again and again for usage.
But if you are sure that you don’t need a field anymore and it is not used anywhere else, there is nothing against deleting the field, this also has a positive effect on the performance.
If you delete custom fields, that are used or have been used the stored information will also be deleted. it is not possible to merge those information. For this reason, it is always important to decide in advance which fields you actually need.
Based on our experience here are a few tips in handling custom fields.
As few fields as possible, as many as necessary. Did you know, that a high number of fields can affect the performance of the system and make administration more difficult? No? So be careful here.
Custom fields can be used in list views for your reports. When creating a custom field, think about whether you want to use it later in your list views (e.g. issue list, project list etc) and need to evaluate it. If so, consider the respective options Use as filter and / or Searchable.
Field names should be generic. If you use Redmine across departments, you can reduce the number of those fields if you name the fields as generally as possible (e.g. Order number is better than Order number Marketing). So that these are also usable for other departments, as well.
Custom fields are essential in project planning and are extremely useful. However, they have to be used carefully and need a lot of administrative control.
AlphaNodes offers Redmine services and plugins for demanding companies. Our solutions are flexible and extensible, giving our customers the freedom to try new ideas and gain the competitive edge.