Can WordPress Be A Project Management App?

There was an interesting post published on by JD Bentley where he discussed three different ways in which WordPress could be used as a project management application. JD describes three different ways to accomplish this functionality. Using a plugin called WP-Project, using the P2 theme, or using a vanilla install of WordPress. However, JD notes that none of these solutions matches what BaseCamp can do either because the solution is too simple or the feature set is too complex.

JD has recently got involved with the development of WP-Project as he believes the plugin has a lot of potential. If you’re interested in helping out with this aspect of WordPress which Ryan Imel says is ripe for innovation, get in touch with him.


10 responses to “Can WordPress Be A Project Management App?”

  1. This post reminds me of the Charlie Munger’s The Psychology of Human Misjudgement speech to Harvard Law School. Specifically the part where he talks about the “man-with-a-hammer syndrome”:

    What gummed up Skinner’s reputation is that he developed a case of what I always call man-with-a-hammer syndrome: to the man with a hammer, every problem tends to look pretty much like a nail.

    I think this is a perfect example. Why go through all that trouble to try and make WordPress something it is not? Just use the right tool and get on with it.

  2. I actually agree with Drew, and I’m the developer behind WP-Project. One of the many reasons I haven’t worked on it is because good expressly designed PM systems are not expensive and so I didn’t think anyone would actually use WP-Project. I created it mostly as a proof of concept to see if it could be done.

  3. @Drew Strojny In general I’d say I agree with you. I doubt I’ll ever find myself using WordPress as a mail client for example, because I have better tools for that. I’ve actually used WP-Project before though (I also happen to be going to the school the original author graduated from, but that’s a different story :) It’s still a little rough around the edges, but it really does have a lot of potential, and it doesn’t come with the fancy price tag associated with “correct” tools such as BaseCamp. Plus, for someone like me who does most of his project work IN WordPress, having the project management tool right there is actually a bonus

  4. A project managment tool within WordPress will certainly have limitations compared to dedicated project managment systems, but I believe an internal project managment system, which limits its ambition to only be a managment tool to use when developing, launching, running the site its installed on, may be useful.

  5. The problem with using those systems (an agency I freelance for uses basecamp) is that since they are servered on the basecamp servers it takes forever. I have highspeed comcast internet out of my home office and it takes me literally hours of time waiting for the site to load and upload new features. Whereas when I use my wordpress site I can upload fast and have no trouble exchanging information with newspapers or radio stations. I decided to use a members plugin to privatize my “project wordpress site” and I’m using the “more fields” plugin to add specific areas to the write panel.

    WordPress is smooth and with enough knowledge you can create anything you want from it. Anyone who says that it “can’t be used” for “shouldn’t be” used or “isn’t made for” doesn’t understand what WordPress can do whatsoever.

  6. Good comments, and I agree about using the right tool for the right job, but here’s a possible reason to not ditch the idea out-of-hand. The client.
    I was tasked with putting together a site for my church. Our users are not very tech-smart. I went with WP because I can get the most functionality with a single interface that they can actually operate. It reduced the learning curve and eases the change management.
    An WP-integrated PM capability would be easier for the users and therefore less maintenance on my part.
    It is not what WP was meant to do, but ease of integration and user-ability matters. Necessity is a mother.

  7. @Nick Ohrn – Actually, I wanted to put a project on my website to be able to add tasks, dates, and track my progress… but I don’t want to have to update it with every milestone/task in the project. Something that could send me email alerts or twitter alerts when tasks get close would be immensely popular with me… and more than likely other people… something like

    Or, it could be just me…

  8. I strongly agree with Jay H. WordPress offers a great foundation, and easy interface for clients. If you’re already having them use WP, why not have it all-in-one.

    Don’t know if you all have seen this: but they’ve taken Automattic’s awesome P2 theme (which Automattic says is changing the way they work and collaborate) and made it look like basecamp, plus added some basecamp-like attachment & notification features.

    I’ve used basecamp quite a bit. I remain thoroughly unimpressed with almost every aspect of the software. If somebody would make a plugin (or update WP-Project) to allow all posts to be tagged by project, and some kind of simple task-list feature that could be displayed on pages & posts, and allow each task to be assigned to a user, I’d quickly get all my basecamp-using clients to move to that.

    In my experience, without true whiteboard functionality (like live drawing, etc), basecamp mostly gets used for 2 things: message conversations, and task lists/assignment. Thus if a plugin were to add task lists/assignment capabilities, especially with project tagging, P2 would do everything that I see basecamp used for, and do it much better.

    So I guess I’m saying that I, for one, would love to see WP-Project updated and expanded.


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