Tutorial: Project management made easy

Project management includes many facets: Writing down a project plan with goals and milestones, assigning tasks to users with due dates, allowing those users to update their progress on those tasks, and track completed or overdue tasks. It can look like a daunting process to go through, but it doesn't have to be. In this short tutorial, we will see how to easily setup such a system using NodePoint, a free and open source web app, more precisely its Tasks Management component, in a few simple steps.

1. Installing NodePoint

The first step will be downloading and installing NodePoint on a server. Go to http://nodepoint.ca and download the Windows or Linux version. The installation process is fairly simple. You can consult the manual (Windows | Linux) for full details.

Typically, it involves unzipping the files, running setup.bat and then going through the Initial Configuration screen. On that screen, make sure you enter an admin password, select Projects with goals and milestones at the Items Managed line, and enable the Tasks Management component. Configure any other item you may need, such as email notifications and Active Directory integration:

2. Creating a project

Let's create our first project that we want to manage. After logging in, go to the Projects page and create a new project. Here, we will manage the design of a wi-fi network for guests at a fictive organization:

Once the project is created, you can start adding milestones. Let's add some of the large milestones the project is likely to require. These should be high level concepts related to the project and against which your users may need to file tickets, if you're going to use the Tickets Management component:

3. Assigning tasks

Before you can create and assign tasks, you need to have users. By default, NodePoint has a Users Management component which you can access from the Settings page. You can also link it to Active Directory. Users have to log in at least once for them to be assigned tasks. When you assign someone a task, assuming that they set and confirmed an email address in their account, an email notification will be sent to them.

Here we'll set up a few tasks and assign people to them:

Users can see the list of tasks assigned to them from all projects on their home page, and update their completion rates. As the project advances, completed and overdue tasks will also be highlighted:

4. Managing the project

From here, you can easily keep track of your projects on the project's page, based on what NodePoint components are enabled:

Check out any of the projects in the demo for an example.