WordPress is the key technology tool for many companies. They use it for marketing, e-commerce, CRM and 1,001 other tasks. So, it's not surprising that a lot of WordPress users also rely on it for project management.
After all, if you allow customers to pay you on your WordPress site, or raise a support ticket there, why not also collaborate on projects using the same platform.
In this overview, we'll introduce you to 5 of the best WordPress project management plugins. All 5 have free versions available on WordPress.org. You can download them, test them, and see if they're a good fit for you and your projects.
#1. UpStream (our recommendation)
UpStream is the best choice on this list for fully-featured project management. If you do have simpler needs, such as a plain to-do list, there are good alternatives. But UpStream has a ton of features, frontend and admin views, a good user interface, and is highly customizable.
One of the things I liked about UpStream is that is has a tool-tip based walkthrough. As soon you install UpStream, you'll get a guided tour of the interface. Each item in the project area is labeled, as with the "Project Name" in the image below.
UpStream has the best demo site option of the plugins on this list. Visit upstreamplugin.com/demo and you can create a private demo site with all the free and premium features.
The admin side of UpStream focuses on four key elements:
Each of these elements can be disabled via the UpStream Settings, so you could have a project that only focuses on Tasks or Bugs.
The frontend of UpStream takes over the whole site. It doesn't integrate with the theme on your site - which may be a dealbreaker for some users - but by going full screen, it gives your projects a lot of space on the screen.
Of all the project tools on this list, UpStream is the most focused on working with Clients. It has full client details and login system. Overall, for people interested in serious work on their projects, UpStream is our recommendation.
#2. Eonet Project Manager
Eonet Project Manager is a called a "project management plugin" although it is focused exclusively on Tasks, rather than all the other elements that make up most projects. Eonet is a pretty good plugin for creating to-do lists.
The installation process for Eonet is a strange beast. After uploading the plugin, there is a cool-looking set-up screen where I could enable lots of different features. This turns out to be a central plugin that runs half-a-dozen other plugins and themes, all developed from Eonet.
Some of the extra plugins are related to project management. For example, if you want to edit projects from the frontend, you can install their "Frontend Publisher" extension.
This next image shows the frontend of Eonet. As you can see it's a to-do list with the ability to comment on tasks. Unlike a plugin such as UpStream, Eonet is fully integrated into your website's theme so it presents a more seamless experience.
#3. Project Panorama
Project Panorama is a commercial plugin with a Lite version on WordPress.org.
When you create a new project with Panorama, you'll find four areas:
- Overview: Project description, Start Date, End Date etc
- Milestones: A description of what will be completed at the 25%, 50%, and 75% stage of the project.
- Documents: File uploads using the Media Library.
- Phases: These are similar to Milestones but can be more easily customized.
To be honest, the Lite version was underwhelming. There's not much you can do with the WordPress.org version. One menu link, "Calendar", was just a blank screen.
It wasn't until seeing the demo of the Premium version that Panorama came into the light for me. The demo shows a nicely laid out front-end view with bright colors and a clean layout. Even on the demo, some bugs were evident, but this design is really good.
#4. Task Breaker
Task Breaker is an interesting plugin. It relies entirely on BuddyPress with the Groups Component enabled.
- Install BuddyPress
- Choose a Groups Component
- Assign a Page for use with the projects.
- Create a BuddyPress group.
Once all that is done, you can visit a BuddyPress group and you'll see a "Projects" tab:
I created a project and then got a 404 error on the project URL.
All-in-all, I found Task Breaker difficult to use and would not recommend it unless you specifically want a project tool that integrates with BuddyPress.
#5. WP Project Manager
Behind UpStream, I'd recommend WP Project Manager as a good option for project management. As UpStream, there's a free version on WordPress.org and a variety of add-ons available for purchase.
The admin interface for WP Project Manager is nicely done. The tabbed interface makes it quick and easy to access different areas of your project. Unlike some of the other plugins on this list, I was up-and-running with WP Project Manager in just a couple of minutes. The setup process is nicely done.
Uniquely amongst the plugins I tested here, the free version of WP Project Manager doesn't have a frontend view. You will need to buy the commercial version to access projects via the frontend of your site.