Good project management is essential while working on any project. But there is generally a lot of steps and tasks to be managed for a project, regardless of the size. Zoho Projects is a useful platform that can be very helpful for project management processes.
Today, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to what project management tool to use. You can use Asana, Trello, Proofhub and so much more. What separates these platforms from Zoho Projects is that Zoho’s huge platform of applications will allow you to integrate with each other. The other tools have their own integrations as well, but they are mainly to external third-party applications.
Here are 8 reasons you should use Zoho Projects for your project management requirements.
1. Configure a single portal for staff and customers
In Zoho Projects, you can add your staff users from your own organization (provided they have a Zoho account with your subscription) and you can also add customers to a project portal. This makes it easy for your staff and your customers to coordinate tasks in one place.
You can create multiple projects. You can assign staff and customers to dedicated projects as you wish and as necessary. Customers do not need a Zoho account in order to be added to the portal. When you create a project, you also get a dedicated email for the specific project. Anyone who emails this address will automatically log an issue for the project.
2. Set tasks and milestones
You can set tasks and assign them to your staff as necessary. You can also set due dates for tasks so that they can be delivered in a timely manner. With each task, there is also a timer equipped and anyone who is assigned to the task can log their hours while doing the task.
A task can also have attachments and instructions. It is also possible to create a dependency, where starting one task will depend on the completion of the other. Once the task is done, they can set it to “Closed”. Custom statuses of tasks can also be configured.
Milestones need to be logged separately. They can be associated with tasks or you can set a milestone for a set of tasks.
3. Log issues during the project
No project is perfect and there is bound to be an issue. A separate tab called “Issues” or “Bugs” exists because of this so that customers (or even staff) can log issues or problems that they might be having. As mentioned previously, a fixed email address can be mailed in order to log an issue.
Issues also have timers and time tracking so that you can log how long it takes to fix something. You can also add attachments where necessary. The default Statuses available are “Open” and “Closed” but custom Statuses can also be added.
The Issues section is a centralized platform where customers can communicate their issues and your organization can respond to them and fix the problems.
4. Share documents easily in a project
Any project will have multiple documents throughout its lifetime. You may have a scope of work document, an execution timeline, a written recording of meetings and many more. This is where the “Documents” section in a project becomes useful.
You can upload the relevant documents in this section. You can also segregate them by Spreadsheets, Presentations and others. You can Favourite the documents you wish so that it is easy to access. Both customers and staff will be able to access these documents if they are added into a project.
5. View tasks, issues, milestones and more in Calendar
Zoho Projects also comes with a calendar option. In the Home Page, navigate to “My Calendar”. There, you will be able to see various items marked on your calendar provided they are assigned. These can be Issues, Tasks, Milestones, Events or Meetings. Each of these is colour coded so that it easy to keep track of.
You can also add any of these items by clicking on the desired date, selecting a project and creating the relevant item. This can be shared across the users in the project so they know your whereabouts or any scheduled meetings or tasks.
6. Automate tasks
Automation is one of the core attractions of many different Zoho products and Zoho Projects is no exception. You can create automated email notification rules to let the relevant parties know when an issue is logged and when an issue is assigned to them.
You can set business rules where automated tasks can be done when a project issue has a high severity level. You can also use a “webhook” which allows for third-party applications to perform an action based on a Zoho Projects task. An example of a webhook is sending out an SMS to a user whenever there is an urgent escalation.
Zoho also allows for custom functions which can be configured for customized automation that is not available straight out of the box in Zoho Projects.
Finally, you can use Blueprints to refine your project’s process. A blueprint allows you to configure custom statuses and actions that follow before, during and after the custom status. For example, if you are working on an issue you can set the status to “In Progress”.
After this happens, the customer can be notified that this task is in Progress. When you finish the task, you set the status to “To Be Tested” for the customer to review. But before this action, you can also prompt the user to enter the number of hours in case they haven’t. Blueprints are very useful for segmented task automation.
7. Easy reporting techniques
A visual representation and reporting are important for any project management process. Zoho Project offers Gantt Charts and Resource Utilization charts. You don’t have to manually create a Gantt Chart; you simply need to log the tasks, timelines and milestones and Zoho Projects will automatically create it for you.
Resource Utilization charts give you an overview of how your resources are allocated. It is automatically filled in when you add users to specific tasks. However, you can also add tasks and assign them to users from the Resource Utilization Charts. It uses a “see-saw” design to display how busy or free a user might be. You will also have an overview of how many tasks are assigned to each user on the left.
If you would like a spreadsheet-style integration, you will need to integrate Zoho Analytics with Zoho Projects. You can customize reports as you see fit.
8. Integrations with Zoho Apps and third-party apps
As mentioned before, Zoho Projects allows you to integrate other Zoho Apps and third-party apps. You can integrate Zoho Projects with Zoho CRM, Analytics, Desk and many more.
You can also integrate applications such as Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Slack and many more applications. This will allow you to integrate your project management tool conveniently with any other application your organization uses comfortably.
How SyncEzy uses Zoho Projects
At SyncEzy, we use Zoho Projects for every new project that we take on. After discussion with our clients, we log the tasks, set due dates and assign them to individuals (with some exceptions).
Additionally, we also set Milestones and share documents within each project. It is also how we track time on the tasks our staff take care of. Customers also sometimes log any issues they have on the “Issues” tab of the specific project.
Zoho Projects helps with many project management processes as you have read. But the platform also makes it very convenient to automate many processes and saves you time with automatic reporting and workflows.
It is easy to view your projects, who is working on your projects and it is easy to share documents relevant to each project. You can integrate different applications to Zoho Projects which makes it even easier to manage. Overall, it is a powerful platform that has some advantages over competitor products.
If you need assistance setting up Zoho Projects for your organization or if you need help with integration tasks, please contact SyncEzy and we will be delighted to help you with your requirements.