Zoho is a one stop shop for a business. Their project management application is just one of dozens that they offer! If you’re looking for an integrated solution for running your business, Zoho is an attractive option indeed. If you’re looking for project management software that will help you shepherd ideas from start to finish, Zoho might not be the best option out there. Zoho has great features for task management, and even has amazing tools like a billing hours tracker and a meeting scheduler included in its platform, but lacks the visual planning element that is necessary for project planning.
Zoho is all about the enterprise as a whole – like a jack of all trades, it may yet be a master of none. It certainly does not master project management, though it does present a passable option. One thing to keep in mind is the price – Zoho charges a cool $30 per employee. If the suite of services Zoho offers is right for your company, you could do worse in the project management software space. But if your main goal is effective project management software, this isn’t it.
Zoho centers its project management software around tasks. You input tasks, assign owners, and track each task. For day to day management of a project, Zoho has some powerful tools. It lacks a visual centered approach, though. Tasks are managed on pop up cards – a great way to have each task in front of you and its details front and center, but bad for seeing contingencies and how tasks integrate with each other in the whole of the project. You can generate a Gantt chart view of your project, but it’s hidden in the reports section, and it’s a clunky spreadsheet style Gantt to boot. The one redeeming factor of the Gantt is that it is drag and drop enabled – you can move the Gantt bars around on the chart, and dependencies will then move each connected next stage along with it. That’s invaluable when you need to move a lot at once.
Pro Tip: Your “feed” is your best friend as a project manager. Here you will see every input and change to the project in real time as it updates from your team.
Task management is where Zoho really shows off its mettle. The card system it employs for task management is intuitive, easy to follow, and integrated with multiple tools that are helpful and productive. Task management has three different views, including Kanban, and each task opens up to a card that is amazingly self contained. Everything you’d need for the task, or task tree, is there. File sharing, team member comment chat, dependency management, time tracking, hourly billing, and even has an ability to put team wide forums into place.
A project manager, or really any team manager, is completely empowered with the tool suite that Zoho puts at your disposal. You are in touch with your team at all times, have all the data generated by their work flowing to your fingertips, and can manage their workflow effectively. This is a sweet suite of tools!
Pro Tip: Use that “meet now” button! Along with the chat function in-site, it’s an invaluable tool when the going gets rough.
Project Portfolio Management
This is an area Zoho doesn’t cover so well. Your dashboard will show the basic overview of all your projects, but it will not generate a visual overview of where different projects are situated curently. The PPM view will give you the very basics of the portfolio – projects, percent completed, project owner, task and milestone progress, issues, and dates. But that’s it. You won’t get a nice clear visual for presentation to management, nor will you be able to see the progress broken down without opening each individual project. It is somewhat difficult to manage a project portfolio with Zoho, there’s no two ways around it.
Pro Tip: You can generate a timeline view of your projects – in Google Calendar. Click the three dots at the top right of the projects screen, and you can generate an ICS link to integrate your project with your calendar app.
Ease of Use – Clarity
Zoho is very easy to use. The interface is intuitive, though the Gantt chart generator is somewhat hidden at first. The task management tools are concise, clearly understandable, and extremely easy to use. There are multiple ways to interact with the data of the project. Within a few hours of using the software, you will feel comfortable and familiar with the tools and options. There is no painful acclimation, nor real need for tutorials and help. This is important when you’re trying to hit the ground running. Zoho has a clean, simple, and clear feel to it, and it was an enjoyable platform to use.
Pro Tip: The “issues” tracking feature, complete with Kanban view, is a wonderfully clear and effective way of troubleshooting things as they come up over the project.
Zoho is a good tool for team productivity. Its task management is top notch. The Kanban views are a good productive tool for an effective project manager. Meeting capability embedded in the software, coupled with the chat functions centered around each task, keeps teams in contact and on point. The lack of visual presentation of the project does hinder team-wide understanding of the project as a whole, but there is enough here to keep members on task. There is also a built in tool for “gamification” – motivate your employees with a points awarding system and trophies, plus make the daily grind fun. This will help team-wide productivity. For project managers, though, the nitty gritty of managing the project, as opposed to tasks, is difficult. The planning system is too centered around tasks and task management to really be effective.
Pro Tip: You can generate release notes from finished milestones during your project.
Zoho Review: Summary
Overall score: 8.0
Zoho offers a lot for the enterprise already using the platform. It is a truly passable option for a project manager – and that says something. However, there are other platforms at better price points for project management software – Trello, Proggio, or TeamGantt.