"Serious" Project Management in Coda? (Work Breakdown Structures)


Hoping for some input from the Coda community here. I’ve been struggling with using Coda for more complex projects that involve multiple phases and / or layers of deliverables. Specifically, the challenge I’m running into from a project management perspective is trying to create Work Breakdown Structures in Coda which invariably requires having a hierarchy of deliverables or tasks, as seen below:


This hierarchy can sometimes run 4-5 levels deep. And it’s a variable number of levels depending on the deliverable (not standardized). The obvious challenge I am running into is how to capture this easily in Coda. Although a normalized database does a great job of capturing, relating and displaying tabular data, it’s not so great at creating and displaying hierarchical data.

I have attempted to create this hierarchy through the creative use of grouping, but it’s very cumbersome and doesn’t allow for the free-form creation and changes to the hierarchy. I’ve also read the existing posts on how to create parent-child tasks and relate them to one another but again it’s not……easy.

So I’m wondering if there’s something I’m missing here; or if there is some way of doing this in Coda. My goal is to be able to easily create Work Breakdown Structures that can feed a project plan or Gantt chart, similar to what Smartsheet or MS Project can do.

What would be amazing is if Coda could create some kind of “Hierarchy” column / field type that would allow nested entries such as deliverables, sub-deliverables or tasks, sub-tasks, sub-sub tasks, etc; each as a separate row in the table. No idea how you would do this in a column and still maintain normalization of the underlying database….but there’s your use case.

Any project manager with a mid-to-complex project is going to want to do this. If Coda could somehow allow this, I could seriously move the majority of all our companies apps over to their environment.

Just thought I would throw it out there for any thoughts or comments.




Outstanding comment!!

@Matthew_Oates , You can do what you’re wanting to do (albeit, imperfectly at this time). I’ve built versions of this in two of my workflows… and all of your observations hold true in those builds.

Big market opportunity here.

  • humans organize things by hierarchy
  • normalized databases are great at holding hierarchy, but the overhead to set it up is… ooosh
  • grouping is not a solution to this problem
  • the human brain wants to free-form create and change the hierarchy
  • +1 on the “hierarchy column type”. It would be great if one day Coda enabled humans to create/manage the hierarchical logic, while Coda spins up the tables and relationships in the background… one day… :smiley:
  • the ability to build hierarchies for as many object types as possible
  • those hierarchies to be expandable/collapsible
  • :point_down:


Vote up for me too. Consider integrating this idea with “outlining”. If we could outline, ala Word, or that great old PIM Ecco, we could use that tool to creat a WBS.


I’m trying to do this by combining several templates to start with in the discussion below. Please contribute to the discussion if you have any thoughts! or maybe creative ideas! For example, has anyone tried to do a deep flexible hierarchy in apps that do allow it, like Smartsheet or Wrike and then synced data to Coda via Zapier - in order to “terraform” the hierarchy/template in Coda and then modify with additional Coda features? Any issues with that?


I would also like a way you have more hierarchy. Outline would also be great.