Best WordPress Workflow Management Tools for Freelance Developers

by Mansoor Ahmed Khan  June 29, 2017

Hello again! I am Matt, the freelance WordPress developer who aspires to transforms his freelance career into an agency. I launched my WordPress career, won projects through successful bidding, and accepted most appropriate projects for my freelance WordPress projects.

I had implemented agile practices for my freelance projects and improved my productivity several times. My project management processes were streamlined and I was able to present realistic project milestone and deadlines to my clients. The result was a significant improvement in my reputation and increased revenue from my projects.

WorkFlow Tools for WordPress Freelance Developers

During this time, I realized that a freelance WordPress developer often wastes a lot of time trying out tools and platforms. I experimented with a long list of tools and had to reject almost every tool I came across, either because it was substandard or did not live up to its marketing pitch.

Therefore, I cannot stress the importance of best WordPress workflow management tools enough. In concrete terms, the tools discussed in this installment streamline the way developers work and ensure successful execution of the projects. I also will discuss the tricky topic of workflows and the tools used to implement those workflows.

Here is a brief overview of my journey so far:

For Me, The Ideal Workflow Is:

Effectiveness: This is the relationship between the speed and quality of the work performed. A good workflow allows you to work very quickly while maintaining a high level of quality.

Ease: Having a good workflow is good, having a workflow with which you feel at ease is better. Do not force yourself into a work environment (or tools) with which you are not comfortable. However, nobody is comfortable in the first minutes with new tools. It usually takes a few days or even weeks before a developer accepts or rejects a particular tool.

Constancy: A good workflow is a “universal” workflow. It adapts to any project while enabling you to always work with the same methods.

I believe you have to balance these three characteristics. In many cases, there is always one characteristic that stands out more than the other. I still want to emphasize that the workflow is something very personal. For example, I am better in efficiency and ease than constancy, knowing that it is an important point of the workflow.

I started searching for the best web development workflow tools that have these three characteristics. I have tried and tested numbers of development and design workflow tools, software products, user contributed code for my WordPress freelance projects. I soon realize that not every tool is appropriate for my needs, and sometimes the free tools come with a price tag that I couldn’t afford.

Here is my recommendation for best workflow management tools that every freelance WordPress developer should have. I have decided to break down the list into the eight areas that cover all aspects of my WordPress freelance career.

Design Tools

Design Tools

Canva allows anyone to create beautiful visuals for the web or print (poster, image, infographics, title, etc.) without prior technical knowledge. The platform provides “in the cloud” access to a series of layout templates and a library of more than one million graphics, shapes, grids, photos, and fonts. Many items are free but you’ll also find “premium” images that cost only $1 each.

Bootsrap is a CSS framework that includes jQuery plugins for composing web pages. It can be easily installed by referencing files on its server or even directly by CDN. Bootstrap offers boot templates that avoid starting with a blank page and integrates media queries to adapt web pages to all visualization media.

Development Tools

Development Tools

Sublime Text is a generic text editor that is clearly designed for code writing. It was developed by Jon Skinner, in C ++ and Python. Originally thought of as an extension of Vim (command line), Sublime Text has since become a well-known tool in its own right. It has all the usual functionalities of a text editor, such as syntax highlighting, and code auto-completion, but what really makes its strength is its modularity.

Available in Macintosh (binary) and compiled on Windows and Linux, Atom Text Editor was designed using Chromium code (more precisely Chromium console code in CoffeeScript). It is based on node.js and allows you to install new packages for extending the functionality of the editor. For example, on the site, you can find packages to add a color pipette, a zen mode (distraction free) or suggestions for code auto-completion.

Version Control Tools

Version Control Tools

Git is a very popular version control software and repository for developers. Developers all over the world use Git to manage projects without worrying about lost or overwritten code.

Another popular version control tool is Bitbucket. It is a web hosting and management software development service based on Git and Mercurial version management software.

Communication Tools

Communication Tools

Slack is the platform that centralizes all my communication flows. It is a digital workspace that is at the heart of my freelance WordPress career. I use it to connect with all the stakeholders including clients and fellow freelancers.

Project Management

Project Management

I have already covered my choice of project management tools. These tools have proved to be indispensable for my task and project tracking requirements.

Documentation Management

Documentation Management

Google Docs is an online suite that offers everything from a word processor to spreadsheets. Powered by Google, it is my go-to choice for collaborations and sharing documentation. The interface is easy to use and requires almost no training for MS Office users.

Portfolio Hosting and Staging Areas

Portfolio Hosting and Staging Areas

I have tried a number of web hosts but almost everyone disappointed me for one reason or another. Finally, I settled upon Cloudways, a managed cloud hosting platform that is much optimized for my WordPress freelancing requirements. I host my portfolio there and also offer project demos, thanks to the multiple staging areas.

Other Essential Tools/Platforms to Consider

Stack Overflow is the global forum where developers bring their issues. This forum is ideal for freelance WordPress developers because it connects them to the global community of developers and experts. However, before posting your problem, do a thorough search of the forum for similar questions and their solutions.

Quora is a social Q&A platform where you could find an answer to almost any question that pops in your head. Anyone registered on the Quora can post a question and reply to the questions posted by other community members. Quora is more useful for discovering new clients and gathering community opinions about various issues that rise up during freelance projects.

To conclude, I urge you to check out these workflow tools. I am sure, by incorporating these tools into your workflow, you will notice significant improvements in both productivity and time management.

The next part of this Freelance Developer to Agency series is How To Hire WordPress Developers For Your Agency.

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About Mansoor Ahmed Khan

Mansoor Ahmed Khan is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways.

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