How to add project management tools to Nextcloud

Laptop computer displaying logo of Nextcloud.
Image: monticello/Adobe Stock

Nextcloud is my go-to self-hosted cloud service. With the platform, there’s practically no limit to what I can make it do. Out of the box, it already offers a rather Google Drive-like cloud storage feature that simplifies the process of sharing files and folders. You’ll also find built-in video and audio chats, activity streams, tags and favorites; there’s even a built-in office suite for docs, spreadsheets and more.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

But, what if I said there were additional features you could add to Nextcloud to turn the platform into a project management tool? If that piques your interest, read on. However, before you do, know that this isn’t going to magically transform Nextcloud into Asana, Trello or Smartsheet. What it will do is make it possible for you to manage your projects in-house, without relying on a third-party service. On top of that, Nextcloud can be installed on commodity hardware.

With all of that said, are you ready to find out how to turn Nextcloud into your go-to project management tool for small to medium projects? Let’s dive in.

What you’ll need

To make this work, you’ll need a running instance of Nextcloud. I would recommend using the latest version (v25). You’ll also need a user with admin privileges. That’s it. Let’s get to work.

How to install an app on Nextcloud

Before we get into the apps you need to install, let me first show you how easy it is to install those apps. The first thing you must do is log in to your Nextcloud instance with an admin user account.

Next, click on your profile icon in the top-right corner, and click Apps from the menu. In the resulting window (Figure A), you’ll see your installed apps and a list of categories to choose from.

Figure A

Nextcloud's default apps page will tell you if any updates are available.
Nextcloud’s default apps page will tell you if any updates are available.

To install an app, click on a category in the left navigation, locate an app you want to install and then click the associated Download And Enable button (FigureB).

FigureB

Installing the Calendar app in Nextcloud 25.
Installing the Calendar app in Nextcloud 25.

And that’s all there is to install applications in Nextcloud. Now, let’s take a look at what apps you might install to turn the platform into a project management tool.

What apps to install for project management

Here is the list of apps I believe can help turn Nextcloud into a project management platform for you or your business.

Calendar

Calendar is found in the Office & Text category and is a user interface for the Nextcloud CalDAV server. With this app, you can sync events from various devices, integrate with other Nextcloud apps, invite people to events, see when attendees are available to meet, set reminders, search and add tasks.

Analytics

Found in the Office & Text category, the Analytics app makes it possible to connect data from different sources like CSV, spreadsheets, application programming interfaces, imports, manual entry; enable flexible reports; integrate with the likes of GitHub Statistics, website grabber and JSON; access real-time storage; develop advanced data loads with scheduling; create charts, zoom, tables and filters; trend; dis-/aggregate; adjust the threshold for alerts; and share data. If you depend on data, this app will be a must.

Contacts

Contacts is a fairly straightforward app. It allows you to keep a list of contacts. You can even share your address book and enjoy integration with other Nextcloud apps. This one is a no-brainer.

Deck

If you need kanban boards, Deck is the app. Now, before you get too excited, the Deck app is nowhere near the likes of Trello’s kanban boards. But if all you need is a more basic option, this app is what you’re looking for.

Deck features drag-and-drop card placement, markdown support, labels, sharing, file attachments, comments and changes added to the activity stream. It’s not all bells and whistles, but this app will get the job done. For more information on how Deck works, check out How to create a Kanban Board in Nextcloud.

Forms

There will come a time when you need to collect information from your team, your clients, or your customers. When you do, you’ll want the Forms app installed. This app makes it easy to create a simple form, send it and view the results. The best thing about this app is that it keeps all of your data in-house, so there’s no third party to interfere.

Mail

You might even want to add email support to Nextcloud, so you can more quickly communicate with your project management team. For that, you’ll want the Mail app. The Nextcloud Mail app can connect to multiple IMAP accounts, send and receive encrypted mail, and integrate with other Nextcloud apps.

Mind Map

If you need to be able to map out your thoughts, add the Mind Map app. With this app, you can create, open, save and edit mind map files. It’s pretty basic, but it gets the job done.

Talk

For some reason, the Talk app is no longer installed by default. This app adds the built-in video and audio call feature and even includes text-based chat integration. You’ll also enjoy screen sharing, private groups, public and password-protected chats, and integration with other Nextcloud apps.

Tasks

The Tasks app makes it possible to add and keep track of tasks within Nextcloud. Tasks can have titles, descriptions, and start and due dates, and they can be labeled as important. Tasks can also be shared with other team members and synchronized using CalDav, which can be used to sync with apps like Thunderbird and more.

And there you have it. If you require a basic project management tool and would like to keep it in-house, Nextcloud could be an option. It won’t take you more than 10 minutes to add all of these apps and raise your on-premises cloud solution to the next level.

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