The project management platform you choose can be the difference between effortless productivity and spinning your wheels, getting nothing done at all. There are countless SaaS project management tools available, but they lack the integration and customization capabilities that WordPress Project Management plugins can offer.
When you use a WordPress project management plugin, you can integrate it with all the other business functions of your WordPress site. Examples include memberships, group discussions, invoicing, payments, etc… You have a single one-stop solution over paying for 5 – 10 different SaaS products at $50 – $100 a month for each.
This article will cover the top five premium WordPress plugins, including what’s uniquely best about each. We recommend a premium solution because project management is too important to rely on free software. In addition, WordPress project management platforms are significantly less expensive than SaaS alternatives.
Let’s dive in!
KanBan for WordPress
Kanban is a popular workflow management method for managing projects and tasks. It’s beneficial for situations where you have complex and multi-stage workflows.
Kanban visualizes task status by splitting the project into multiple “swim lanes.” These are vertical columns, each representing a stage in the workflow. Tasks move between columns, so team members understand the current task status at a glance.
Common statuses include:
- Not started
- In progress
- Ready for Review
While some of the other plugins on this list also have Kanban capabilities, more features are not always better. If you need a simple and effective KanBan solution and don’t need the bells and whistles of a more robust solution, you should look into Kanban for WordPress.
The pro version has all the capabilities you need to manage projects with a Kanban methodology without extra bloat or features you don’t need. Key features include:
- Multiple boards
- Task colors
- Task attachments
- User permission management
- Task comments and discussions
- Email notifications
Project Panorama is a project visualization system for WordPress. It has all the features you’d expect from a robust project management platform but takes a unique approach to the project management experience.
Most project management platforms are confusing and overwhelming. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of tasks and data, causing extra work to understand critical details like:
“Are we ahead or behind? How far through the project are we? What is complete? What happens next?”
Project Panorama instantly answers these questions by visualizing the project status. Then, through automatic progress and timing calculations, you and your clients will always know exactly where you are in the project.
In addition to visualization, you have all the key capabilities to manage projects. For example, you can create and assign tasks, start discussion threads, send and receive email notifications, set permissions on user roles, and facilitate team collaboration.
Panorama is a front-end experience, meaning your team and clients don’t have to use the WordPress admin to see and manage their projects. Instead, they login to the front end of your website, so it feels more integrated with your brand.
Project Panorama is not an “Everything but the kitchen sink” solution. Instead, it focuses on providing a rich and intuitive experience for clients and team members without trying to be everything to everyone. If you need a solution that has everything (support tickets, time tracking, CRM, etc…), you’ll probably want one of the other project management plugins.
That said it does offer powerful functionality through add-ons, including sub tasks, Gantt charts, weekly project summaries, Kanban boards, Buddypress integration, invoicing, and selling projects through WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads.
UpStream is a data-focused project management solution for WordPress. If you’re the type that likes to see tables of rich data and the ability to customize and tweak the details of your tasks, then you should check out UpStream.
One of UpStream’s significant benefits is the level of customization offered without code. For example, you can easily add custom fields to tasks, clients, etc… so you can structure your data and capture it exactly how you’d like.
UpStream also has an API so if you’re looking to build a custom integration, all of the necessary endpoints are available for your development team.
In addition to the customization capabilities, the platform has many rich features beyond essential project management, including reporting, time tracking, budgeting, and permission management.
WP Project Manager Pro
WP Project Manager Pro has been around the longest of all the WordPress project management plugins. Originally it was essentially a WordPress-based version of Basecamp, but it has evolved significantly over the years and now offers capabilities well beyond the well-known project management software.
WP Project Manager Pro is full of features and add-ons. Out of the box, it supports critical capabilities like task management, discussions, calendars, notifications, milestones, and file storage.
It also has several premium modules, including sub-tasks, kanban boards, time tracking, Gantt charts, invoices, recurring tasks, and more.
Projects are managed entirely through the WordPress backend, so if you’re looking for an experience that integrates with your website’s front end, you might want one of the other options.
WP Project Manager Pro is a great solution for those looking for a wide range of project management capabilities that extend beyond just project management (such as payments, etc…) and want to manage projects through the WordPress backend. This is great for internal teams who are already using the WordPress admin.
WP-Client is an excellent client portal. While not your typical project management software, I wanted to include one option that was more of a one-stop hub for client engagement than a PM solution.
With WP-Client, your customers have a private portal where you can communicate, store files, schedule appointments, issue invoices, collect payments, and manage projects and project feedback.
You can create projects, each with its dedicated file management and communication area. You can even auto-generate projects using automation or schedule them to be recurring based on your needs.
WP-Client has been around for a long time, so you can be confident that it will continue to be supported and evolve over the years.
WP-Client is likely your best bet if you need a secure communication and file storage solution rather than a full-fledged PM tool. For example, you might use different project management software for task creation, assignment, and task management. If you don’t want to involve clients in that level of minutia and just need to give them access to files and communicate security, this is a perfect solution.
Wrapping it Up
There are a wealth of excellent premium project management plugins for WordPress, each offering a different set of benefits and ideal use cases. Depending on your specific needs, you’ll likely find one of these five options better fits the others. Again, it comes down to what capabilities and experience you need.
We’re confident you won’t be disappointed in any options referenced in this article. They’ve all been around for years with continual support and upgrades and have the features you need without being overwhelming and challenging to manage.