Most of us get carried away when launching a website, our enthusiasm leading us to believe we can handle everything ourselves – and, to an extent, you can in the early days.
However, as your blog grows, staying on top of everything becomes more difficult. At some point, you’ll want to hand over the responsibility for some tasks to other people. This allows you to spend your time focusing on the things you’re good at. Of course, this has two main advantages:
It frees up your time
Tasks can be performed by specialists
When done correctly, having a team on hand to work on your website can add a lot of value and can help your site grow more quickly. On the flip side, it does give you one other thing to consider: how you’re going to manage your team.
Thankfully, WordPress has plenty of dedicated project management plugins available, meaning you can organize, communicate, and collaborate with your team with minimal fuss. Here are some of my favorite WordPress project management plugins.
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1. WP Project Manager
If you’re looking for a low cost project management solution, the core WP Project Manager plugin can be downloaded for free. The free version of the plugin has quite limited functionality, but it does provide a basic way to create tasks and communicate with your team members.
The plugin lets you create new projects, then assign relevant users to that project. After doing so, team members can communicate within the WordPress dashboard, and share files with one another. You can also add to-do lists within a project, and assign individual users to each task – there’s even a progress bar to show you how things are going.
If you like the basic functionality of the plugin, you can upgrade to Pro (starting at $79/yr). There’s a visual calendar which shows you when certain tasks are due and who is responsible for each task. If things change, you can drag-and-drop a task to change the due date. You also have more control over user permission levels, letting you determine who can see and do certain things. For even more functionality, WP Project Manager supports premium add-ons, including a handy time-tracker, an invoicing solution, and WooCommerce integration.
2. Project Panorama
Project Panorama is the ideal project management plugin for those who like to visualize a project’s progress. As with most project management plugins, you can get the basic functionality for free — available by downloading Project Panorama Lite. This free version of the plugin lets you create projects, set start and finish dates, outline key milestones, and track progress. It also provides the interface for you to discuss individual projects with team members.
While Project Panorama Lite lets you see how a project is progressing using a variety of stylish charts and graphs, if you want the plugin’s full range of functions you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version – a one site license costs $69/yr, but if you want to use Project Panorama on all your clients websites, the unlimited site license costs $129/yr.
The full Project Panorama plugin lets you break each project down into smaller tasks and phases. It also gives you greater privacy, as you can password protect projects, as well as restricting access to projects to individual team members. Finally, the premium plugin gives you a place to upload and store files needed by team members.
The Upstream plugin supports a number of functions suitable for running a small business and keeping teams on task. This includes project management capabilities for user roles (including for clients), milestones and tasks, issue tracking, progress, custom fields and statuses, built-in styles/templates and more. The core UpStream framework can be downloaded free of charge. It’s ideal for those of you working with multiple people on your own team and from your client as you can add people with specific user roles, so the project page your team uses to manage a project is separate from the client login page where they can view their project details
You can add more sophisticated functionality to the UpStream framework using one of the many UpStream extensions. There are currently 13 extensions available – however these are available within plan bundles. For example, the Lite plan for 1 site is priced at $79 per year and includes 5 main extensions for Copy Project, Frontend Edit, Customizer, Project Timeline and Naming. But for all 13 extensions. This may work for most WordPress site operators. From a project management perspective though, or depending on your needs, an Agency or Enterprise plan might make more sense as these include features for Budget Tracking, Reporting and Advanced Permissions (among other things).
If your budget is limited, BusinessManager is another option for project management where the core plugin is completely free. It gives you an easy way to manage all your projects in one place, by letting you create an unlimited number of projects in the WordPress dashboard. Within each project, you have the ability to split things up into smaller tasks, and discuss individual tasks and the overall project with team members. And you can generate performance reviews for employees, helping you stay on top of productivity.
The BusinessManager plugin also includes a few handy WordPress Dashboard widgets, which lets you see all of your projects, employees and clients at a glance. From here there is quick information regarding deadlines, project progress, employee scheduling and client status. For a free plugin, BusinessManager is surprisingly feature-rich (though there are a handful of extensions, it’s truly great as is).
5. Kanban Boards
If you want a project management plugin that supports only the functionality you absolutely need, it’s well worth checking out Kanban for WordPress. The plugin is a user friendly to visualize work and lets you manage your projects with intuitive boards right from the WordPress dashboard.
Kanban lets you create boards for projects, create “swim” lanes, add tasks with estimated time frames, then have team members get to work. There are options for task filtering or bookmarking, and as the site admin you have control over who can access which boards. The Kanban interface facilitates discussions between team members, and even provides an easy way to upload and share documents. The best thing about this plugin? Kanban is completely free of charge.
If you want to make sure your team is working in the most efficient way possible, a project management plugin really is a must. Not only does it keep everyone moving in the same direction, but it makes it that much easier to assign tasks and discuss progress with team members.
If you’re unsure how much value a project management plugin will add to your business, the majority of plugins come with a free version with limited functionality. This is great for budget conscious webmasters, and I highly recommend you test one out, then upgrade to the premium version if you like the plugin’s interface – and, of course, if the additional functionality feels like something you need.
Have you got a favorite project management plugin? Share your thoughts in the comment space below!