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Using WordPress for Client Friendly Project Management

I’ve been using 3rd party project management (PM) tools for an age. As an employee I had the job of trailing an early contenders for our Government department.  I carried on as a self employed web “designer” moving about from BaseCamp, to Trello to Asana.

More recently, I’ve started to feel they have become a block to getting many of our clients started. As much as I like  them some clients are probably thinking this is at odds with my “Keep it Simple” approach to web design (and everything).

The problem was…

It’s quite an imposition to ask clients to sign up and get familiar with a new system when most did not even know  WordPress yet. The PM tools themselves were designed to do much more than the simple task based communication we mostly need.  This added confusion and with no control over UI  and features changes it was hard to offer training. I also had no idea how client would set up their own notifications.

The alternative was right under my nose…

WordPress already had many of the key features of a project management tool:

  • Post and comments.
  • Categories and tags.
  • Email notifications systems.
  • Scheduling.
  • A media library for assets.
  • User accounts.

How much better would it be to have everything we needed contained within the site we were building. What better way to show off what we and WordPress can do.

It’s still early days, but here’s where I’m up to

Screenshot 1 –  Project Tasks Page

WPTasks-Page

Screenshot 2 –  Calendar and Scheduling Page.

My steps

I explain this more in the video above, but here is what I did:

1. I created a Custom Post Type called ” Project Tasks”

This included the Title, Editor and Comments (I’m using the Classic Editor plugin here, but may swap to the default Gutenberg later).

WordPress Project Management Task View

2. I add two custom taxonomies “Project Types” and “Project Status”.

The “Project Types” allowed me to preset some topic areas and the “Project Status” allowed my to arrange the task as a Kanban board ( sectioned as To Do, Doing and Done)

Of course, you could add things such as “Priority”, but this is something I did not want.

3.  I installed the (free) Better Notifications for WordPress plugin

This allows us to send customized emails when a post or comment is published. The plugin has lots of shortcodes so you can add as much relevant content as you like to emails and link back to the relevant pages.

By scheduling posts to publish later we can set up reminders to go out by email.

Better-Notification

 

4. (Optional) WP admin Page Pro to add a Kanban board to the back-end

Initially I created this on a front end page. In my case Beaver Builder and their post module (but most page builders will do this).

As I am  already using  WP Admin Pages Pro for my custom help desk it made sense to use this to bring things to the back-end.

5. Add the WordPress Editorial Calendar 

This adds a calendar to all custom post types, but you can add this snippet to your child theme’s functions.php file.

// Suppress the editorial calendar for a custom post type. Change this "_fl-builder-template" for yours. 
add_filter('edcal_show_calendar_fl-builder-template', function() { return false; });

 

6. Make the “Tasks” content private

I’m using the Coming Soon Page and Maintenance Mode Plugin to hide all content. If you are a Beaver Builder user PowerPack has this now as a module.

I expect I will only be using this during the build, but if not I have also placed the “task” posts in a Beaver Themer template and set them to show only for logged in user. I expect the same can be done with other page builders. I would also set no index for these on mu SEO plugin.

I expect there are other ways using a Roles plugin?

A few concerns I had:

  • Extra plugin and database weight to a new WordPress sites.
    I tested this a little and found it fairly trivial.  I’m removing all when the site goes live and will export the contents of the “Project Tasks” CPT to my clients folder as a record.
  • Clients having to log in to respond to email content.
     I now consider this a good thing. I found with Asana that client’s had the habit of returned emails on one topic with question on another. Now that the journey reinforcing how WordPress works it does no.
  •  Tasks and comments being free to edit.
     I suspect I could restrict with a roles plugin, but maybe this is better to clear up messy threads. I know my own typos are almost legendary. We have revisions in WordPress and they are ways to audit activity in WordPress (I do this via MainWP).
  • Plugins not being supported.  Mainly I am thinking of the Editorial Calendar, but the same scheduling could be done without it. I don’t think there are any real dependencies other then WordPress.
  • Clients need training.  I am not too bothered about that and my new on-boarding thanks to WP Admin Pages Pro leads client to get it.

 

My related links and content

Better Notifications for WordPress
WordPress Editorial Calendar 
WP Admin Pages Pro  (get 15% off with this code “David15”)
Coming Soon Page
Beaver Builder
Beaver Themer


Help clients with WP Admin Pages Pro
Using the Custom Post Type-UI Plugin
Create Your Own CPT Plugin
Why we do web design differently

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DWcircle

I build websites at WP Corner Shop and travel. I also co-host a weekly WordPress podcast called WP Builds and make YouTube videos.

2 Comments

  1. George Bishop on 7th June 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Pleased to see you are still absorbed in the Web building business! Hope everything is going well for you.

    • David Waumsley on 8th June 2019 at 4:35 am

      How fantastic to hear for you George. Where the devil are you now.In Spain or the UK? I hope you are well!.

      So funny too as this post took me back to my days when we worked for the same employer. Given my official role I did get the strangest of extra jobs like trialling this software https://www.huddle.com/. I recommended again so sure enough the opposite happened. Ha ha.

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