Principled Project Management

October 15 2018

Manage your tasks, projects, programs, and portfolios with one unified and scalable tool.

[link]A First Principles approach[link]

WJ/task is a collaborative task management tool that is designed for those who appreciate the value a first principles approach. It combines features supporting hierarchical task management, threaded discussions, a powerful search engine, and much more.

The purpose of task management is to identify and track human action, where the term “action” has a broad range of specificity – we can talk about building a company, running a department, writing a program, fixing a bug in the program. Good task management software must account for this fact, by giving you a task tree, or task hierarchy.

Nobody knows your work better than you do, so no tool should presume for you what the precise structure for managing your tasks is. WJ/task gives you the freedom to decompose work to any desired level of precision – the task hierarchy becomes an organizational tool useful for everything from the broadest company objectives down to the smallest incidental task.

WJ/task is one the world’s first fully-hierarchical task management systems. It was deployed internally at Wissler-Jensen around 2011 and has been in active use ever since.


[link]Track creative and dynamic work flows[link]

We designed WJ/task for creativity and change. You can easily create new tasks, prioritize them, add task dependencies, and organize tasks as you might rearrange files on your computer. Our windowing feature means you can view your task hierarchy from multiple perspectives at once. WJ/task does not dogmatically presume your workflow, but allows you to fashion it to suit your ever-changing needs.

Task-centric discussions allow team members to follow discussion they’re interested in and ignore discussion they’re not. Your hierarchy becomes a searchable, living document of the discussion and reasoning around the decisions your team makes.

[link]Customizable Desktop System[link]

Our persistent Desktop system lets you focus on different aspects of your work, and resume tomorrow where you left off today.

[link]Journal & Notifications[link]

A Journal tracks the complete history of what is relevant to you, and notifies you of new or important items.

[link]Forge your own digital destiny[link]

WJ/task is designed for people who understand the value of forging their own digital destiny, so it allows you to self-host, giving you complete data control, autonomy, and privacy.

To make self-hosting simple, we offer an easily installed Docker image.


The key insight of WJ/task is that there’s no justifiable dichotomy between “high-level” work-breakdown structure-orientation and detailed task management; you need a seamless hierarchical decomposition of all tracked work across all scales. Therefore, in WJ/task each task represents a work unit which can be decomposed into an arbitrary level of precision by adding subordinate tasks. Such a structure provides the backbone upon which all other project management features should be built.

  • Unlimited task hierarchy
  • Task dependencies
  • Threaded discussion under each task
  • Powerful Apache Solr based search
  • A task journal (aka “feed”) that notifies and tracks relevant activity
  • Per-task alarms for due dates, reminders, recurring tasks, etc.
  • A web browser-based user interface that works on mobile devices
  • Time-tracking and invoicing, rolled up according to cost-accounts and patrons
  • A unique customizable persistent Desktop system to keep track of various aspects of your project
  • Comprehensive time-based index (Time Index)
  • Email integration
  • File attachments – upload/download files and view images from within WJ/task
  • Permission system that gives only partial access to select users
  • Easily self-hosted; you retain complete control of the deployed system and are not dependent upon “The Cloud”
  • Data export; if you decide to stop using WJ/task, you can take your data with you
  • Virtually unlimited task “domains”, which are independent project areas with their own set of users and tasks
  • User manual

[link]Free Trial, Pricing, Support[link]

If you don’t like WJ/task then we don’t want your money – that’s why we offer a free 30-day evaluation and then a no-risk 90-day license, which we bill for only if you’ve decided that WJ/task is worth the price.

We hate vendor lock-in, which is why WJ/task is and will always be free for read-only use. You will always always be free and welcome to access the data you’ve entered into WJ/task even if you choose to transition to a different tool. After all, it’s your data, and it’s our privilege that you took the time and effort to try using our tool! Read-only mode is activated after the evaluation period ends or when your license expires.

If you do decide to keep using WJ/task after your initial four months of use, it costs $25/user per month, billed starting after your first 30 days of free use. You may select license periods of 3 months or longer.

Normal support is included in the price. This is based on your designation of a local administration expert, who will work with us to install and maintain WJ/task, and a local user expert, who will provide support to the other WJ/task users and contact us when there is an issue they can’t resolve by consulting the user manual.

Contact us for a free trial, if you require modifications, integration with other tools or processes, on-site training, or additional support options. Please include the following information with your initial request (we respect your privacy and will not send you unsolicited mail; see our privacy policy):

  • Your real name and email address.
  • Your company name and website.

[link]Supported Platforms[link]

The WJ/task system comprises web browser and web server and technology:


You should use a modern web browser:

  • Google Chrome 56 (January 2017) or later.
  • Opera 43 (February 2017) or later.
  • Firefox 51 (January 2017) or later.
  • Safari 10.1 (January 2017) or later.
  • Microsoft Edge with EdgeHTML 17.17134 (2018) or later.

(WJ/task may or may not work well or at all when using obsolete browser technology, and there is no support for such use. Internet Explorer 11.0.40 (March 2017) or later has limited functionality and performance.)


There are several ways you can set up your WJ/task server:

  • Free WJ evaluation server. Contact us and we’ll create a special initial evaluation server for you.
  • Docker 17.12.1 or greater. Docker is the easiest way to host WJ/task on Windows or Linux; we highly recommend it. Free support of WJ/task is only offered when you use this method.
  • Dedicated Ubuntu 16.04. If you want to dedicate an Ubuntu 16.04 server exclusively for running WJ/task, we have a script that will let you easily install and configure WJ/task for it. (Be advised: this method makes changes to Ubuntu that could conflict with other uses.)
  • Expert, Ubuntu 16.04. The WJ/task server is an ordinary program that relies upon a variety of other services, if you’re expert at Linux and want to configure these yourself, contact us for details.
  • Expert, other Linux. Contact us if you’d like to run WJ/task on a Linux distribution other than Ubuntu 16.04.