Staying organized is one of the most important things you can do when running a business. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, skip organization and you’re largely out of luck. There are plenty of tools out there for “getting organized” but figuring out which one is best for your situation can feel like you’re picking something at random. Plus, it’s just another thing to get organized about, which makes it less of a priority.
Today, I want to focus on how you can bring project management to WordPress. We’ll start by talking about the reasons project management is so important then transition into discussing specific plugins you can use to get your team on track.
What Does Project Management Accomplish?
First and foremost, project management adds organization to your business. It keeps every project and every task associated with each project coordinated and in one place. That way, you can glance at your calendar and know right away whether or not a project is on schedule.
Similarly, good project management helps you to keep track of deadlines and allows members of your team to collaborate more effectively. It can even let you communicate with people outside of your internal team like contractors and even your clients.
With a good system in place, you can also be certain that everyone will know precisely what is expected of them and you can always go back and reference old conversations within the system rather than scouring through email after email.
Which leads me to my next point: project management tools are real time savers. All that time you would’ve spent scrolling through old emails can be spent doing your actual work. And since the tool is located within WordPress itself, your team members and clients have one less thing to worry about checking in on.
Deciding on a Project Management System
Now before you click the almighty “Install” button, you need to do some serious thinking about what you want out of your project management system. What features are must-haves? What can’t you live without? Make a list of priorities before you decide on anything.
You might also find it helpful to ask yourself some questions about what you want to get out of a project management plugin. Here are just a few examples:
- Do you need a front-end solution that clients can access or just something on the back-end for you and your internal team?
- Do you want to be able to accommodate contractors along with your internal team?
- What indicators of progress do you require? A calendar? Conversation tracking? Milestones? To-do lists?
- Do you need time tracking ability as well?
Should you decide to opt for a solution that is installed on your WordPress site and not accessible through a third-party site or app, you can rest assured that there are plenty of plugins available, both free and premium, that will get the job done (and then some).
The first plugin I’ll talk about here today is called SP Project & Document Manager. It makes it simple to manage documents and files across multiple media types for a wide variety of organizations. With this tool in hand, you can manage clients, accounts, individual documents, distribution, and more.
This plugin works with multisite and is actually available in a premium version now. Premium features include a responsive layout, custom fields, custom email notifications, thumbnails for projects, versioning, and file collaboration. You can also add on other features like a standalone dashboard for customers, integration of WordPress user roles and BuddyPress groups, downloadable zip archives, Dropbox integration, Google Drive importer, sub folders, and more.
All-in-all, this is a pretty handy plugin for managing documents right within WordPress.
Another option you might consider is BP GTM System, which is short for BuddyPress Group Tasks Management System. This plugin gives you control over development by adding tasks and subtasks to your dashboard. You can sync these tasks with specific projects, categories, and/or tags.
You can create tasks with TinyMCE then set them as pending or completed. Sort using a variety of filters, change the projects these tasks are attached to as well as the people who are assigned to them. It works with WordPress roles and capabilities and you can attach files and discussion posts to your tasks for better collaboration and feedback.
A premium plugin you might want to check out is called WordPress Task Management. It’s simple and straightforward and operates strictly out of the backend of your WordPress site. It allows your team to track activities as they relate to your current projects. These activities can be linked to the whole of your organization or to just individuals, which helps to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them at all times.
You can also generate reports, track the status of activities, integrate with user roles, and make comments on individual tasks for greater collaboration. The regular license for WordPress Task Management costs $17 and an extended license costs $85.
Orbis promises to turn your WordPress dashboard into a full-fledged business management tool and it doesn’t disappoint. This plugin includes all the features you’d expect from a project management tool and then some, allowing you to customize it to the needs of your specific business.
What sets this plugin apart is that it comes with a front-end theme that lets you provide front-end access to your project management tools quickly and easily. You can change this theme as well since Orbis is highly extendable.
Once installed, you can easily add new projects and connect them to your clients or customers, add new people to your organization, add new clients, add new pages for adding related content, and add new posts for intranet communication. A comment system is also enabled for all people, companies, posts, and pages so feedback is always an option.
If you need a quick way to manage tasks within the dashboard, TaskFreak! ought to serve you just fine. You can create, edit, and delete projects and tasks. You can also add attachments to your tasks and make comments on tasks using a provided comment system.
TaskFreak! is responsive and perfect for managing public and private projects. It offers multi-language support and recognizes default WordPress user roles so you can easily attach team members to projects and tasks based on their current capabilities.
A rather robust plugin offering you should know about is called Project Panorama. It’s easy-to-use and quite simple at its core but offers plenty of features designed to streamline project and user management—not hinder it.
Newer features include a project cloning tool that allows you to create new projects without having to go through all the tedious setup steps and an automatic progress calculation tool that lets you get a bird’s eye view of project, task, or phase completion.
What sets this plugin apart is that it relies on visual communication to make project management easier. You can create an unlimited number of project phases with unlimited tasks so you can easily communicate with your team where a project stands with as much detail as you want.
The Lite version of Project Panorama offers just the bird’s eye view features but the Premium version offers a much more detailed view of where your projects stand. It also comes with premium-level support so none of your questions will ever go unanswered.
For individual sites, you can expect pay $50 for Project Panorama. The professional package, which covers unlimited sites, costs $75.
If you need another free option, CollabPress is a good choice. It adds both project and task management to your dashboard so you can create an unlimited number of projects and associated tasks and assign them to your users.
Team members can make comments on tasks, which is helpful for streamlining operations—no more sorting through emails to find the answer to a question. It also includes BuddyPress group integration, file uploads, email notifications, task due dates, a calendar view, a front-end shortcode, and an activity log. Multisite support included.
The last plugin I’ll mention here today is WP Project Manager. It’s a full-featured project manager designed to be used within WordPress, which means it only includes the tools and features you need to run your site successfully—no more, no less.
Primary features include the ability to create new projects, assign users to projects, send messages about projects, attach files to messages, and leave comments on tasks or projects. You can also create to-do lists with as many tasks as you want with a visual progress bar, comments, and complete/incomplete statuses for keeping tabs on everything. Additionally, you can create milestones for better overall project management.
A Premium version of WP Project Manager is available as well that adds several more features. It includes a calendar with drag-and-drop functionality, expanded user permissions and privacy levels, assigned tasks, archived projects, milestone tracking, and one-click access to all project files.
For a single site, you can expect to pay $59. The Business plan which covers up to 5 sites is $99 and the Enterprise plan for an unlimited number of sites costs $199. Several add-ons are available as well, most notably the Time Tracker, which lets you track how time is spent on your project, as you’re working on it. It’ll cost you $29.99 but you might find it worth it to have a time tracker right in your dashboard.
These are just some of the project management plugins out there that are designed to make your life a little bit easier. Whether or not you agree with that statement will largely depend on the kind of business you run and what elements of your business you need to manage within WordPress, specifically.
In general, however, project management tools make life easier for everyone involved. It’s always good to have everyone on your team on the same page, and these plugins are a good step in the right direction for implementing that.
Do you use any of the project management plugins discussed here? How are they working out for you? Did I miss your favorite? Please sound off in the comments!
Article thumbnail image by Bukhavets Mikhail / shutterstock.com