WordPress for Project Management?

I’m currently trying to see if I can set up WordPress to work as a project management tool. Why not, it can do a lot of other things! In the past I’ve tried out dotproject, which is obviously a dedicated project management system, however it was far too complex and tedious to use I found.

So how am I using WordPress? Well this is the plan, once it’s set up I’ll let you know if it works! At present I’ve decided to create a category for each web site we maintain currently, then work on each site will go up as a post. The idea is then as we (2+ people working on each site) work through things we can leave comments, questions, requests for opinions etc. on the posts. As work is done the post can be closed and a new one started, and if there are different sections to the work ie. for a whole new site, then multiple posts can be made.

Then on the front page the latest posts for each site can be displayed, or I can easily just control which sites to display on the front page so that sites that are not being worked on can be kept out of the lime light. I’ve not worked out the front page yet as you can tell!

I personally find it much easier to just type out a to do list and then update that with the del and ins tags as and when things are done rather than creating a record for every single task.

So WordPress is installed and now is just the task of adding all the work to it. I’ll let you know how it pans out 🙂 Any suggestions on how to structure the front page are welcome!

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25 Responses

  1. Si Philp says:

    Sounds an interesting idea. How are you going to define milestones, due dates, assign responsibilities? Are there not any opensource collaboration tools you could use that would meet your requirements?
    Will be keeping an eye on this project of yours 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      I’ve looked at online tools and to be honest they’re usually over complex. Milestones and due dates are not really something I need, and the responsibilities is fairly easy as we all have our own job eg. I do the PHP, David does the CSS/XHTML, someone else does the design etc. The main idea is really to get all the work and updates up into posts and then use the comments section to leave feedback.

      Where PHP work is shared, it’ll be shared in sections so it’d be like Sarah – front end work, followed by the requirements/work list, then someone else – admin, followed by the list of requirements.

      At least that’s the current plan. I’m hoping to work on it this weekend and get all the details of work on it and see how it goes. Obviously it’s behind closed doors but I’ll be reporting back 🙂

  2. Si says:

    Looking at old dev backups I forgot in my old work place we used bugtracker.net

    http://ifdefined.com/bugtrackernet.html

    Very simple and straight forward. Suppose this could be used in the above description but it’s .net based 😛

    I do like the idea of thinking outside the box and extending the use of wordpress. I suppose you could enable an auto comment notification to the post which emails all that need to be emailed 🙂

  3. Mimi says:

    This is what I love about WordPress. It’s so versatile that you can do so many things with it. Just a couple tweaks here and there plus the right plugins, and it can be anything from a cms, a portfolio, or a project manager.

    You might want to think about adding a to-do list plugin to your sidebar to keep track of tasks, and maybe a calendar/upcoming events plugin to keep track of due dates.

  4. Brooke says:

    Don’t go there.
    There are much better tools to do that.
    WP would be the last thing i would think of.

    Brooke

  5. Roy T. says:

    Hey Sarah,

    Wouldn’t it be easier to set up a forum (phpbb or something like it) to manage this? Altough posts and categories seems almost the same as in wp.com. To me it seems better organized.

    You might also want to take a look at stuff like bugzilla, altough its not a project management tool at heart, whats the real difference between ‘bug’ and ‘comments’ versus user submitted bugs and comments :). It’s still group-development!

    Anyway, good luck!

  6. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the comments all. Just about to write an update post of how I’ve got on so far and what I’ve used on it (all one plugin so far!).

    @Si – that’s what comment feeds per post are for 😉

    @Mimi – due dates aren’t really an issue. We tend to work on the idea that it’s ready when it’s ready. Most clients are fine with that because they know they’re getting a good result.

    @Brooke – sorry but I disagree. Maybe for a large group of people, but at most we have maybe 3 or 4 of us working on a project. I’ve tried some of the other, more ‘appropriate’ tools, and found myself taking far longer to create a list of tasks.

    @Roy – I’ve tried using a forum before, and in one sense my method is similar but knowing WordPress inside out, I can customise certain sections much easier, and much prefer the admin to manage everything.

  7. Goran Giertz says:

    I think WordPress would make a great project management tool platform. i haven’t heard of dotproject before, but I think it can be easily beaten by a wordpress version of a similar tool.

  8. Govind Menon says:

    I never quite understand why we want to take a great blog tool and turn it into the kitchen sink. Eventually it will do nothing well.

    Why not use a standalone app? There a free Microsoft Project clone in Open Project (www.openproj.org). It’s pretty good for the frice (100% free). And includes most of the payware’s tricks. Yes, its interface can be a bit challenging (or should that be frustrating?) but that’s a trait I notice for most clones!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Govind, I’ve not turned WordPress into anything, I’ve simply used the blogging system to work in a different way, just like you can use the default set up to create a single item sale shop using categories for product categories and a post per product. WordPress is perfectly adaptable with very little work. A category per client and then the posts under the category. It’s just a private blog really. I’d rather use something I’m completely familiar with, easy to use, know I have the complete flexibility of the system and know I can extend it if I want.

      Also I don’t know where you’ve linked to but it’s a parked domain and not a project management system.

  9. Usif says:

    i don’t see this as thinking outside the box .. for me this is about how to get the most out of what is inside the box … great idea .. good luck ..

  10. I think it’s a great idea Sarah, I’ve been using an open source tool called collabtive for a while, but I think it’s time to change to wordpress; it just makes everything so simple.

    Good luck

  11. Steve says:

    For a really lightweight system on wordpress, have a look a the P2 theme (in the repository) created by Matt for Automattic. It’s a microblog theme and perfect for small groups.

    http://ma.tt/2009/05/how-p2-changed-automattic/

  12. madbadcat says:

    i have thought the same exact thing- the big problem i see with project management software is how difficult it is to integrate assets like images. it seems i have to keep explaining to a client how to email or upload image files.
    the back end of wordpress can look a lot like microsoft word with the right wysiwyg plugin. the problem for me is that i am more of a code shuffler (a graphic artist, really) not a code poet so i wouldn’t even know how to a write a plugin that assigns posts or category priviliges to just one user.

    i found this:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-project/
    but it is not necessarily compatible with the latest version of wp.

    • Sarah says:

      We only use WP as management for ourselves so a bit like a to do list with comments, a category for each client etc.

      However to control posts and category privileges I recommend trying out the Role Scoper plugin.

  13. madbadcat says:

    thank you for the suggestion- will look up the plugin.

    for a team nexus, wordpress is truly brilliant. and flexible enough that if the project grows or shifts in focus it can adjust to that too.
    i will give the plugin a shot.
    cheers

  14. ocube says:

    Great use of WP…

  15. Vince says:

    Hope this idea is still alive. Could you share how has it gone after more than a year from conception?
    Most tools I’ve used (dot project/opengoo) tend to die off with time as they become another job rather than help me to get things done.
    I’m particularly interested in providing the client a tool for task requests so they can see this live rather than keep reviewing old emails.
    The flexibility of WP seems to me the key to its success in everything.
    So… are you still using it ? has it grown into a manageable monster??

  16. Sarah says:

    Hi Vince, as it happens we’ve not been using WP simply due to a lack of time to keep it updated, however this may change again soon as we look to hire external freelancers to help out with work again.

    I do have a simple system with WP set up on our internal intranet which is probably the method we’ll use.

  17. Vince says:

    Hi Sarah ,
    All my requests/jobs come via email, I started using MS Outlook to move emails to tasks. Outlook has all I need. Trouble is sharing this with the team.
    I did some research lately and realised that I can connect Outlook to a MySQL remote database.(Using GeniusConnect). This way I can keep a live web server with all updated tasks created on my Outlook. From there I can bring whatever I want to a WP page to show to my clients and coworkers.
    I will kee U updated on developments if U R interested.
    Cheers!

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Vince, sounds interesting. I just realised (whilst updating it) that at the moment we’ve taken to using Google Calendar to map out work. Of course it doesn’t list all the info (but I guess it could) however I schedule my list of work and list upcoming work that hasn’t been fully agreed on or ready yet, and can share this with my partner, David. If we didn’t get the time to sort out and set up WP then we’d probably use a combination of the calendar and docs to manage work as to be honest it’s already set up and easy to use.

      But yes, keep us up to date with how your system goes 🙂

  18. ocube says:

    Hi Sarah, I saw your post about a month ago and it was Godsend as I was on the brink of purchasing a Basecamp subscription (or something similar). Since reading this post I did some research and came across GTD Theme: http://templatic.com/freetheme.....ollaborate and managed to knock up something quite useful

    I setup categories as companies/clients, sub categories (child cat) as projects and posts for reviewing comments. I used different plugins to set it as a private blog and to restrict viewing based on categories so one client cant see anothers projects. There are still a few things I would like to tweek but on the whole it beats $25/month for Basecamp but it solves the main thing I wanted: having a single place to thread review comments on creative work rather than tracking tonnes of emails.

    I just wanted to say a big thanks for giving me the initial spark.

  19. I just did a post on this — http://chrisburbridge.com/word.....anagement/ .. Kind of looked at the whole field and what’s been done, etc.

    I am proposing that what’s probably needed is a collective, modular approach, similar to the development of BuddyPress (and built around it, actually). I put that stuff at the bottom, if you’re interested.

  1. Sun, 1 February, 2009

    […] week I wrote about using WordPress for Project Management and it got mixed responses. However, I know how I want to set things up and WordPress is perfect […]

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