Manage projects with Zoho Projects for iPhone

The Zoho Projects app brings access to Zoho Projects to your iPhone. Will Kelly shows us the basics on how to use it to track projects and collaborate with teams.

Zoho Projects for iPhone offers teams that are standardized on the cloud-based Zoho Projects a convenient way to access their projects from an iPhone. The app can help mobile project managers and their teams log time and activities and even capture project tasks.

The iPhone might not be a stellar project management platform, but accessing cloud-based project management apps from an iPhone can be a nice supplementary tool for mobile project managers. In fact, depending how friendly your organization is with licenses, Zoho Projects for iPhone distributed across a team can even help with project communications and collaboration.

Setup Zoho Projects for mobile workers

Zoho offers 15 free days of access to Zoho Projects when you first install Zoho Projects for iPhone. Providing access to Zoho Projects for mobile users requires an upgrade to your existing Zoho Projects account. This step can be easy to miss if you don't pay attention. Only the project portal owner can make the upgrade to enable Zoho Projects for mobile users. Mobile licenses cost $3.00 (USD) per mobile user.

Login to Zoho Projects for iPhone

You login to Zoho Projects for iPhone with the same username and password as you use when logging into Zoho Projects via a web browser.

Access Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects for iPhone let's you have access to all of your projects residing on Zoho Projects. Zoho has done a solid job of making the most of the iPhone's limited screen real estate with this app.

After logging into Zoho Projects for iPhone, a list of of projects will appear on your iPhone screen. Tap the name of the project you want to access, and you'll see a project portal containing icons for Activities, Tasks, Time Sheet, and Settings (Figure A). Figure A

Here's an example of a Project Portal in Zoho Projects for iPhone.

Log activities

The Zoho Projects for iPhone app makes it easy to log activities that project managers and team members undertake during the course of the workday. While logging activities might seem intrusive to some, with Zoho Projects for iPhone, it's more like tweeting than anything else (Figure B). Figure B

The Activities log captures an audit trail of every task you add and other entries you make.

This feature is especially useful for geographically dispersed or highly mobile project teams to post status updates concerning a particular project. Features like this can be valuable as another level of transparency and communications, especially for that team who may never share a cubicle farm with one other.

Follow these steps to log activities:

  1. Type in what you're doing in the "What am I working on right now?" field
  2. Tap Done, and the Activities screen will show the status you just entered, as well as a trail of the current and previous statuses of the rest of your project team

Capture tasks

Capturing tasks is traditionally a personal thing, with every project team member using a method that fits their working style. However, centralizing the capture of tasks in Zoho Projects for iPhone can help the whole team see what everyone else is working on and their progress.

Here's how to capture tasks:

  1. Tap Tasks, and the All Open Tasks screen will appear
  2. Tap in the Quick Add field
  3. Enter in the task you want to accomplish
  4. Tap Done, and the Task will appear with No due date
  5. Tap Edit, and the Edit Task screen will appear (Figure C)
  6. Figure C

    The Edit Task screen is where you can set further details for the task.
  7. Set the following details (as required):
    • Start Date
    • Due Date
    • Priority (High, Med, Low, None)
    • TaskList
    • Completed (slider)
    • Owner(s)
  8. Tap Done

Optionally, tap the clock icon at the bottom of the screen to track your time spent on the task. Even if you don't need to track your time on each task, you can click Start Timer to see how long a task will actually take to accomplish. When you tap Done, the Log Time screen will appear. Select Billable, if the time spent on the project task can be billed back to a client, and then tap Done. You can even run the task Timer in the background on multiple tasks.

Log time

Today's tight budgets and overworked project teams mean that logging time is even more important, especially if you're working on a project that bills back to a customer. If you track the time you spend on each task, you'll find a nice itemized list on the Time Sheet (Figure D). Figure D

The Time Sheet displays an itemized list of the time you spend on project tasks.

Extend project management to an iPhone

While you may not manage an entire project end-to-end from your iPhone 4 -- after all, you can't even view and edit the overall project schedule -- Zoho Projects for iPhone is a sparkling example of how project management client iOS apps can help project managers and their teams who are seeking supplementary project management and collaboration tools.