Zoho Projects offers users a variety of modules to manage workflow and to-dos within a project. The module variety is their primary selling point as it tries to be an all-in-one solution. While some unique modules can be beneficial to the business they are designed for, a lack of focus can leave a new user feeling overwhelmed.
Client access portal
Zoho projects offers a client portal, in which clients can access a project to review its progress, and communicate with your team within the software. While not applicable for all businesses, the ability to customize the access clients have within a project (specific tasks and milestones can be hidden from invited clients) makes this prospect of client integration attractive to a wider range of businesses.
Customization such as this is an essential part of Zoho projects, due to the range of features they offer. You have the option to turn off modules for the entire software, as well as pick and choose which modules are available within a specific project. This is essential as some modules serve a specific purpose that is applicable to only a few business models.
Log project issues
One such module is the issues function. Issues are separate to tasks; however, a logged issue can be linked to a task. Issues allow you to keep track of what has gone wrong with a project and can be logged by an integrated client. While particularly useful for project success reporting, particularly if your work involves a user testing period, it is a module that many businesses won’t require at all. Zoho Projects offers forums, chats, custom pages & activity log modules. All these modules facilitate communication between team members. However, trying to utilize all of these for your business could be overwhelming.
Zoho projects most effective feature is its task management. You can build a task for a project from almost any screen, apply them to milestones and create sub-tasks and date ranges. Staff can create customized task views (however cannot save them for future use), and project dashboards can provide visibility on how tasks are progressing according to their time estimations.
Interdependency within tasks
A highly requested feature from our clients is the ability to create interdependencies within tasks. If you require the completion of tasks in an order, you can specify this with a task-based Gantt chart. As with many Zoho Projects features this can be highly beneficial, but only if it suits your business’s workflow.
It can cater a variety of working styles, there are notable limitations within modules. This is most prevalent within the calendar module. The calendar module shows tasks & calendar events. Tasks are present based on their start and end dates. There is poor flexibility if wanting to break up a task’s allotted time into specific days within the task date range. If a task is due in 7 days, it will appear as a calendar item for all seven days.
Calendar events can be created with invites sent to other staff and clients who have access to the portal. However, they cannot be linked to existing project tasks. Therefore, if you want to track time for a calendar event, it must be added as a timesheet to a separate task.
Reporting & invoicing
Finally, Zoho’s projects financial visibility is lacking in comparison to other project management solutions. The dashboard doesn’t show accrued WIP, expenses are manually inputted to a project, and you need access to Zoho CRM & Zoho Invoicing for budgeting and billing respectively. Invoicing is flexible, with bills being built based on rate or a fixed value, but it is not a seamless process as they can’t be created directly from the quote. You don’t get the visibility of forecasted income that is available in other solutions.
If flexibility and variety of workflow management options is important to you, then Zoho projects should be considered due to its range of modules, client integration functionality, and various methods of team communication. However, a successful implementation of Zoho projects requires careful consideration of what features are useful to you, and integration with additional financial functions such as Zoho CRM & invoicing.
We’d be happy to answer them or take you through features of Zoho Projects in more detail. Or, if you’re wondering if another solution might be better for you, we’ve also done the hard yards for you and taken a look at other project management platforms, including: Xero Projects, Harvest & Forecast, Streamtime, ActiveCollab, WorkflowMax, Scoro and Accelo.