March 19th, 2014 / Ross Johnson / 7 Comments

Project Panorama – A WordPress Project Management Plugin


Two years ago I authored a simple project visualization plugin dubbed “Project Status.” The inspiration for Project Status, was a simple question I heard frequently. Over the past ten years of client services, I’ve received numerous e-mails and phone calls with the simple and reasonable question… “Where are we at?” It turns out, even with milestones, deliverables and calendars its really hard to visualize the process of design and even harder to picture where you are within it… even if you’re an experienced designer. We tried to prevent the question in a variety of ways, each with lackluster results. First we tried educating clients, then it was giving them access to our Basecamp projects, at one point we had shared calendars and even painstakingly time-consuming “regular check-ins.” Nothing worked to our satisfaction.

The basic issue is this… you’re really busy and so is your client. Your client has a lot on their mind and on their plate. They don’t have time to review the proposal, project timelines or sift through all the TO DO’s in Basecamp every time their curious about progress. They want to– at a glance– know exactly where you are with their project and what’s happening next. Because clients are busy, we knew “at a glance” was key. What’s the best way to communicate information quickly? Through visuals.

Thus Project Status was born. Project Status simply let you indicate percentage of project completion through the use of a progress bar. To give that percentage some context we also added the ability to define four key milestones.

Since publication Project Status has been downloaded over 10,000 times. It was much popular than I ever expected and still has a loyal following. I was never fully satisfied with it however. I always thought that given more time and effort we could come up with something much more useful. Over the past six months we’ve built a “sequel” of sorts and released it as Project Panorama.

Project Panorama – Simple Project Management for WordPress


While we wanted a more capable plugin, we didn’t want to lose sight of what made the original plugin so successful — its simplicity. When designing Panorama, we constantly assessed the impact of a feature on user management and dropped any idea that took too much effort. We realized that if the Panorama took too much time to manage, it would lose it’s utility.

Focused on Efficiency


To improve the efficiency of project owners, we came up with a handful of ways to reduce the time required to keep projects updated. Some of the more interesting capabilities include:

  • Project cloning to prevent having to setup the project every time.
  • Automatic progress calculation based on task or phase completion.

Efficiency for efficiencies sake is not useful however. The real value of Project Panorama lies in visual communication.

Focused on Communication


A key area Project Status lacked was the ability to communicate detail. Sure, you could indicate what percentage of completion a project was but you could add little context that percentage. After all, what does 27% complete mean? What are you working on? What still needs to be done? Project Panorama addresses this by allowing unlimited projects phases, each with unlimited tasks. Now, you can communicate project progress on multiple levels of detail. A “bird’s eye view” with the overall progress bar, a “forest view” with phase completion charts and “trees view” with individual tasks.

It took time to figure out the best way to bundle Panorama. Eventually, we decided there should be two versions, “Lite” and “Premium.”

Lite and Premium

Project Panorama Lite is a stripped down “birds eye view” version, for those with modest needs. Project Panorama Premium is a fully featured, fully supported package. We decided to release a premium version for two reasons. One, extra income is nice (hey, at least I’m honest.) Two, revenue allows reinvestment. This was a fatal flaw of the original Project Status plugin. While it was a great idea and useful to many, we could rarely justify putting resources towards it. So many features, updates and support requests fell by the wayside. We didn’t want this to happen with Panorama.

Please, take a moment and check out Project Panorama. We’re running an initial launch promotion and you can get Project Panorama Pro for 50% off, through this Sunday (March 23rd, 2014.) using coupon code “checkitout.” We’d love to hear any thoughts, ideas and suggestions.



7 thoughts Project Panorama – A WordPress Project Management Plugin

  1. Purchased Premium edition.

    User Feedback:

    I like the overall presentation. Very refreshing from Gantt prison bars.

    In my initial tests I found that I had to drill down to get to the tasks section.
    The more phases I created with increasing tasks, the longer the project page became.

    Perhaps a UI design would be a task tab or the ability to go to the task page > phase > project
    (similar to the admin page panel to navigate to a specific location)

    The work around was to break down the project into smaller ones so that the project page did not become overwhelming.


    Steve Swettenham, M.D.E.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Steve. We have some ideas planned that should help prevent the issue you just encountered. Make sure to keep your licenses activated so you can get the updates as we push them out!

    Ross Johnson
  3. Purchased Premium edition too.

    User Feedback:

    I need a localization…


    Christophe Glaudel
    Photographer in Paris

  4. This is truly a great plugin. I love to see the lite version to appear on the WordPress site. As of now there is no version of the lite plugin that supports WP 3.9, the current working breaks the visual editor. And making use of the features is just so convenient.

    Thanks in advanced.


    Volker Schmidt

    Volker Schmidt
  5. As an IT and Project Management Professional, turned WP Dev….I can tell you that this Plugin is going mainstream and in a big way.

    I rarely purchase premium plugins that don’t have a large user base and backing. Given that this had 10K users….I did not see a lot of info on the paid version before purchasing. So what made me pay-up?

    1.This is a plug-in the Dev community needs for clients support and engagement.
    2.I reached out to Ross – initially via the Forum ( and was pleasantly surprised at how prompt Ross was with commenting on suggestions for improvements on an already very good product.
    3.I used it on a big client project and they were BLOWN away by the degree of detail that shared and the ability for them to track on the progress of their project.

    Having attended a few WordCamps in my area, a resounding comment from newbies and experienced WordPress professionals was: how can I better share and coordinate projects with my clients?

    Now as co-organizer for WordCamp Tampa (October 4-5 2014 – this is a topic that we think needs to be talked about more in-depth. I had hoped to have Ross present at WCTAMPA but it appears that Ann Arbor is having their WordCamp the same weekend.

    Hopefully, Ross will let me represent them and inform the Florida base about an awesome plugin that will change the way they communicate with their customer base?

    So, if you have not purchased the plugin yet….I would encourage you to get it and use it now. It’s an evolving product that I am convinced will get better the more it’s used.

    I am so convinced of the usefulness and timeliness of this product/tool that I told Ross, he needs to set-up an affiliate program and I want to be the 1st one on that program. Guess you could call me the “Project Panorama – Evangelist”.

    I have a few blog posts coming up on my experience with this awesome tool…. will keep Ross and Team posted.

  6. Hey there. Did you know learning to make a website portable hospitable?
    I’m looking for a concept or wordpress plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share.
    Quick concern that’s completely from topic.
    My website appears unusual when searching.

  7. Hello Ross,
    There is no option to set the date for each mile stone,phase, task. This makes difficult to understand the project progress along with the time line. Is there any way to add the date option ?



Comments are closed.