Zoho Projects is a worthy contender for your project management needs

Jack Wallen explores the world of Zoho Projects and is impressed. Is this your next project management tool?

Image: NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe Stock

Effective project management can make or break a company. Even with a brilliant team, if a project is poorly managed, it will struggle to succeed. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and services available to help you keep those projects on track.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Project Manager (TechRepublic Premium)

You’ve probably heard of the major project management software solutions. These services are all excellent options to help you manage projects of all sizes, but there is another solution on the market that has been around for a while. That solution is Zoho Projects, and they have a project management tool that includes everything you need to keep your projects running.

I spent some time with Zoho Projects and found it to be a worthy contender for managing projects of all shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at this service and see what’s what.

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Zoho Projects: Pros and Cons

Benefits of Zoho Disadvantages of Zoho
Great value for the money No pre-made templates
Multiple display types, such as Gantt, kanban, milestones, and timesheets Kanban columns cannot be relabeled
Documents and folders
Excellent time tracking features
Tons of customizations and configurations
Built-in chat
Cards with documents, forums, dependencies and more
Problem management

Zoho Projects includes a free version for up to three users and paid plans. You can get a paid plan starting at $5/month per user for up to 50 users to add more features. Check out the Zoho Projects feature and pricing matrix for more information.

The price of Zoho Projects makes it very attractive, especially for small to medium sized teams. The free version is an excellent option for teams of three or fewer members.

Outstanding Features of Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects includes the usual set of project management features such as kanban boards, gantt charts, milestones, card comments, priority, start dates, card order, and tags.

Zoho Projects also has unique features that may entice you to give the service a try. These features include:

  • Task flexible hours: This allows you to set the number of working hours dynamically on a daily basis.
  • Earned value management: Helps you track and forecast project budgets.
  • Assign teams: Allows you to assign a team to a task. Only available for Enterprise accounts.
  • Bulk shift dates: This allows you to change the start and end date for all tasks at once.
  • Add universal: Allows you to quickly add a user, task, problem, event or document.
  • Critical tasks: Gives you the ability to identify critical paths in a project to ensure they are not delayed.
  • Project baseline: This allows you to create baselines for your project at regular intervals.
  • Roll up: Provides an overview of the total number of planned work hours, the total of the hours actually registered, and an overall task completion percentage.

Usually when I research a project management tool, the kanban board is the main feature I look for. This is because I feel kanban is one of the best project management tools available. Kanban is easy for anyone to use, gives you an at-a-glance view of how a project is progressing, and is generally more flexible than, say, Gantt charts.

As for the kanban boards, I would put Zoho Projects up there with Trello. That’s saying something, because Trello has long been my favorite kanban option. While Zoho Projects may not include a powerful template feature or Trello’s Power-Ups option, it’s still very well designed (Image A) and gets the job done.

Image A

An example of a Kanban board from Zoho Projects.
An example of a Kanban board from Zoho Projects.

Zoho Projects also offers customizable dashboards (Figure B) so you can see all relevant data about your projects.

Figure B

The Zoho Projects Dashboard is a great way to get a comprehensive overview of your projects.
The Zoho Projects Dashboard is a great way to get a comprehensive overview of your projects.

At the heart of the Zoho Projects Kanban board are cards, which can contain a wealth of information. Task cards (Figure C) contain information about:

  • Status
  • Description
  • Owner
  • Status
  • Due date
  • Priority
  • tags
  • Start date
  • Duration
  • Completion rate
  • Comments
  • Documents
  • Forums
  • dependencies
  • Issues
  • Activity stream

Figure C

Task card information about Zoho Projects.
Task card information about Zoho Projects.

You can also extend the map feature set with a small number of extensions, including checklists and integrations such as Google Drive and Zendesk.

Why you should use Zoho Projects

While some of the more important features are only available to Enterprise Plan users, Zoho Projects still provides everything your team needs to manage projects of all sizes. I’ve been a fan of Zoho for a while and find their Projects tool to be on par with all of the company’s other offerings.

If you’re looking for a new project management tool, you’d be remiss if you didn’t at least try Zoho Projects. This low-cost platform offers a well-designed user interface that can get anyone up and running almost immediately. Whether you are new to project management or an old hat, Zoho Projects is a tool that will serve your SMB very well.

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