Team discussing and planning projects on a computer.

Effective project management can make or break a business. 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 task and target.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

You’ve probably heard of the main project management software solutions. These services are all outstanding options to help you manage projects of all types and sizes, but there’s another solution on the market that’s been around for some time. That solution is Zoho Projects, and they have a project management tool that includes everything you could need to keep your projects humming along.

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

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Zoho Projects: Pros and cons

Pros of ZohoCons of Zoho
Great value for the moneyNo premade templates
Multiple view types, such as Gantt, kanban, milestones and timesheetsKanban columns cannot be relabeled
Documents and folders
Excellent time tracking features
Plenty of customizations and configurations
Built-in chat
Cards with documents, forums, dependencies and more
Issue management

Zoho Projects includes a free version for up to three users as well as 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 price matrix for more.

The price point of Zoho Projects makes it very appealing, especially for small to medium-sized teams. The free version is an outstanding option for teams that consist of three or fewer members.

Outstanding features of Zoho Projects

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

There are also unique features to Zoho Projects that might entice you to give the service a try. These features include:

  • Task Flexible Hours: Allows you to dynamically set the number of work hours daily.
  • Earned Value Management: Helps you track and predict project budgets.
  • Assigning Teams: Allows you to assign a team to a task. Only available to Enterprise accounts.
  • Bulk Shifting Dates: Allows you to change start and end dates for all tasks at once.
  • Universal Add: Allows you to quickly add a user, task, issue, event or document.
  • Critical Tasks: Gives you the ability to identify critical paths in a project to ensure they aren’t delayed.
  • Project Baseline: Allows you to create baselines for your project at regular intervals.
  • Roll-up: Summarizes the total planned work hours, total of actual hours logged and an aggregate completion percentage of tasks.

When I typically examine a project management tool, the most important feature I look for is the kanban board. This is because I find kanban to be one of the best project management tools available. Kanban is easy enough for anyone to use, gives you an at-a-glance look at how a project is coming along and is generally more flexible than, say, Gantt charts.

In terms of its kanban boards, I would place Zoho Projects up there with Trello. That’s saying something, as Trello has been my favorite kanban option for a very long time. Although Zoho Projects might not include a powerful template feature or Trello’s Power-Ups option, it’s still very well designed (Figure A) and gets the job done.

Figure A

A sample Zoho Projects kanban board.
A sample Zoho Projects kanban board.

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

Figure B

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

At the heart of the Zoho Projects kanban board is cards, which can contain a wealth of information. Task cards (Figure C) contain information on the:

  • Status
  • Description
  • Owner
  • Status
  • Due date
  • Priority
  • Tags
  • Start date
  • Duration
  • Completion percentage
  • Comments
  • Documents
  • Forums
  • Dependencies
  • Issues
  • Activity stream

Figure C

Task card information on Zoho Projects.
Task card information on Zoho Projects.

You can also extend the card feature set with a small number of extensions that include checklists and integrations such as Google Drive and Zendesk.

Why you should use Zoho Projects

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

If you’re in the market for a new project management tool, you would be remiss if you didn’t at least try Zoho Projects. This low-cost platform offers an excellently designed UI that anyone can get up to speed with almost instantly. Whether you’re new to project management or an old hat, Zoho Projects is a tool that will serve your SMB very well.

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