Zoho Projects is easy to navigate, with a free tier for small teams. The Premium version is superior in terms of features and better suited to small and medium-sized businesses managing multiple projects, whilst the Enterprise package can cater to businesses with hundreds of employees.
Zoho Projects is packed full of useful features that will help you keep track of precisely how your project is progressing, such as Gantt Charts, Task Dependencies, Custom Project Templates, Time Tracking, and Automations.
- Excellent features-to-price ratio
- Great range of collaborative features
- Free version ideal for small teams
- Can integrate with various other software
- Adding guest users isn't easy
- No post-project feedback gathering
- Budget management functions could be improved
Zoho Projects is a cloud-based project management solution that will help you track work, set tasks, and collaborate with your team. Zoho's free plan for up to three users lets you manage two projects simultaneously and utilize 10 MB of storage space.
Zoho's Premium (from $5 per user per month) and Enterprise (from $10 per user per month) plans allow for more users, storage space, and project templates. They both host a wealth of features that mean Zoho more than holds its own against other industry-leading project management software.
Zoho Projects is largely straightforward to use, well designed, inexpensive, and ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, startups, and organizations that may have multiple projects running concurrently. It's not quite perfect, however, and we'll cover our minor complaints further down in this article. In this guide, you'll find:
Zoho Projects Pricing Plans
Below is a brief summary of the pricing plans available in Zoho Projects. We'll get into these plans in more detail later on, but this will get you started:
- Free: Three user limit, can attach files up to 10 MB. Includes Gantt Chart Viewer and access to mobile apps (Android and iOS). No fee is required.
- Premium: 50 user limit, can attach files up to 100 GB. Includes unlimited projects and a limit of 20 project templates. $5 pp/mo or $48 pp/yr.
- Enterprise: No user limit, can attach files up to 120 GB. Includes unlimited projects and a limit of 30 project templates. $10 pp/mo or $72 pp/yr.
Zoho Projects used to have other plans available geared towards businesses of different sizes. Now, Zoho has made signing up significantly simpler and reduced the plans on offer down to three. When considering one of the three current plans, it's all about what suits your needs as a company or organization – which we'll cover later on. But first, here are some of the key features of the different plans compared:
The amount you'll pay per month, when billed annually
Number of integrations
Number of automations
Custom Project Templates
$5 per user per month/
$10 per user per month/
$3 per user per month/
$3 per user per month/
Zoho Projects Paid Plans
Zoho Projects Premium plan
Zoho Projects' Premium plan is the first paid plan and best suited to small to medium-sized businesses of under 50 users, which is the maximum amount of users you can have on this plan. Small charities, ambitious startups, and any teams working on multiple projects – particularly in remote environments – will benefit massively from this plan.
This version of Zoho Projects costs $5 per month per user or $48 per year per user. On Zoho's Premium plan, along with a 100 GB file upload limit and Unlimited projects, features include:
- Subtasks & reminders
- Task duration in hours
- Automating tasks with Blueprint
- Gantt charts
- Budget management
- Resource management
- Time tracking
- Customizable business hours
- Business rules for issues
- Custom views & status
- Task rollup
Compared with Zoho's free version (which is discussed in detail further down in this article), the Premium plan unlocks a wealth of features.
One handy thing you can do is create custom project templates. Zoho has a singular project skeleton that can be edited and customized on the Premium plan to suit the demands of a specific project. Unlike the free version, where these changes are lost once the project is completed (and you're left with the original skeleton every time you start a new project), you'll be able to save and return to 20 different versions of the project template you have custom edited previously.
Zoho Projects Enterprise plan
The second paid plan Zoho now offers is the Enterprise plan, which will be the go-to for large businesses with more than 50 employees looking to invest in project management software. The Enterprise plan is priced at $10 per month per user or $72 per year per user and many aspects are completely unlimited (e.g. the number of projects you can create), making it ideal for corporations that will have multiple projects going at one time, with numerous employees working on them.
On Zoho's Enterprise plan, the file upload size limit is set at 120 GB. On top of all the features included in the Premium plan, Enterprise users also get:
- Custom fields
- Custom roles & profiles
- Custom domain
- Global Gantt Chart and resource utilization
- Global planned vs actual
- Inter-project dependencies
- SLAs for issue model
- Portfolio dashboard
- Critical path
- Custom user groups
- Workflow and task layout rules
The Enterprise package also lets you create another 10 custom templates on top of the 20 provided in the Premium version, bringing it up to 30 overall, which is ideal for large businesses with different branches/wings that are going to be actioning a diverse range of different projects, yet want to manage them in one place.
Businesses managing sensitive information and looking for a secure project management solution will benefit from the Enterprise plan, because you can encrypt Custom Fields (an Enterprise plan-only function used to input/store information Zoho Projects does not have a dedicated field for) and hold confidential information safely.
The Enterprise plan might seem expensive, but with recent research showing that 11.4% of investment is wasted by poor project performance, putting together a project management strategy underpinned by quality software will save you money in the long run.
The Enterprise plan also comes with 30 custom project templates. That's 20 fewer than you'd have if you went with the comparable ‘Grow' package offered by Teamwork, which comes with 50 custom project templates. Teamwork is $22.50 per month per user, however – more expensive than the business plans offered by competitors like Wrike, whilst other competitors demand custom quotes for their Enterprise-level packages. Zoho Projects is on the cheaper end of the project management software spectrum and will help with many of the same tasks.
Does Zoho Projects Have A Free Plan?
Yes, Zoho Projects has a free plan. On this version, you can use the software with up to three users and a maximum file upload limit of 10 MB, but you miss out on many of the features available in the paid-for versions. Free users will be limited to just two projects (although you'll be able to access them on your desktop computer as well as through your Android or iOS device). Despite some features being omitted, the free plan is an excellent option for small teams of two to three people who want to take control of their project.
Before we get into what's missing, it's worth noting that Zoho Projects sets no integration limit on any of its plans, whereas competitors such as monday.com will limit the number of interactions involving data or information from other software.
There's also no limit to how many tasks you can automate (e.g. every time you complete a task, you can make it so an email is sent to your boss) nor how many times this automation can happen. However, there are no custom automations to choose from on Zoho's free plan.
A Budget Management tool is omitted from Zoho's free plan, which isn't the end of the world, but the fact the ‘Custom Fields' tool is also missing leaves you short on options in terms of adding budgeting as well as other information to projects.
As was discussed earlier in this article, Zoho doesn't provide preset project templates on any plan, and simply provides a singular project skeleton that can be edited and customized. If you're using the free version, any changes you make to this will be lost once you complete your project, whereas you'll be able to save it as a template for future use on the paid plans.
A Budget Management tool is omitted from Zoho's free plan, which isn't the end of the world, but the fact the ‘Custom Fields' tool is also left out leaves you short on options in terms of adding budgeting as well as other information to projects.
Resource management is another feature that doesn't survive the step down from paid to free. It's not surprising really, considering most free software tools – from project management solutions to VPNs – are designed to persuade you to download a fully-featured, paid version. Free versions of software walk the tightrope between making you feel both like you can't live without the product and frustrated you don't have the full package. Still, free versions make software accessible to people of all incomes and walks of life.
Useful features still available
Despite a number of omissions, the Zoho Projects free plan still has some useful task management features included. Benefits like being able to see your workflow in a spreadsheet-type view are retained in the free version, which is good news, and the Milestones function can be used to organize projects into specific stages (e.g. ‘development', ‘launch' etc.).
Individuals or teams using the free plan will also be able to build Gantt charts, and a lot of features relating to collaboration – such as instant messaging, task comments, and Project Message Boards are all usable on the free version of Zoho Projects.
The project management software market is yet to develop into a space where free versions or trials are the status quo – so it's a major plus that Zoho Projects offers a free version at all, considering many competitors only have paid options – this is one of the downsides of Celoxis, for example. Zoho is one of the project management solutions you can actually road test before you part with any money.
On top of this, users who sign up for this plan will also have access to a Kanban board (pictured below), which is one of the ways you can view your projects on Zoho. Kanban boards are integrated into most major project management tools because they are an effective way to illustrate the status (To-Do, In Progress, Completed, etc.) of different items of work. It's pretty easy to switch to this way of viewing work in Zoho, and it's a great way to visually digest employees' workloads.
Zoho free users can comment on each task created by other members of their team by using the ‘Discuss' function, which was mentioned earlier on in this article. Another useful feature is the ability to assign team members to specific issues that have been logged. Zoho Projects also has an instant messaging function that teams can use to communicate with one another whilst working.
Zoho Projects Features
Setting up with Zoho Projects
All of Zoho's plans – Free, Premium and Enterprise – offer two-factor authentication to secure your account. This isn't as common as you'd expect in the project management software world – Celoxis, for instance, does not offer 2FA despite being one of the best project management software programs available, so if your project involves sensitive or confidential information, using Zoho will provide you with an extra layer of security and prevent unapproved access.
Once you've logged in, you can start your first project. This will involve creating tasks, setting a deadline, and assigning responsibilities to members of your team. This is also where you'll be prompted to set Milestones, which will help split your project up into different stages and notify users when certain goals are reached.
Zoho deploys a straightforward tab system for viewing different aspects of projects. This is just one benefit of a user interface that is, on the whole, easy to navigate and far from intimidating – in other words, you don't need to be an experienced project manager or business software user to get to grips with Zoho Projects.
The provider must be credited for leaving no stone unturned when it comes to creating features for every component of a given project (more on this just below).
Despite Zoho Projects' general user-friendliness, you'll still run into one or two aspects of the software that feel unnecessarily complicated during setup. Creating a project budget, for example, isn't the easiest task in the world and will likely require some assistance from the online knowledge base.
There are other functions in Zoho Projects that aren't the easiest to find – such as assigning tasks to team members – or the easiest to learn. But housing unnecessary complexities is a sword that other leading project management software fall on too.
Unlike more limited project management software programs like Basecamp, Zoho Projects provides users with a Kanban board, which is a visual tool for showing work within a project at different stages of the completion process (i.e. to-do, in-progress, etc.). Project managers will find this particularly useful as it's one of the easiest ways to view multiple team members' tasks at various stages of completion.
On Zoho Projects, the Kanban Board is just a project viewing option – if you switch to this view, all tasks will be viewable in this format. If you prefer a spreadsheet-like view, Zoho Projects has that too.
Whilst in the Gantt chart view, Zoho Projects makes it really easy for users to create task dependencies – users can just drag a line between tasks, meaning certain ones cannot be completed before others.
Gantt charts are available to Zoho Projects users regardless of the plan they're on. Gantt charts are a great time management tool because they effectively let you interactively plot tasks against time in a bar graph format. Similar to the Kanban board, Gantt charts are essentially another way to view your whole project, and don't require you to build the chart from scratch.
Whilst viewing a Gantt chart, Zoho makes it really easy to create task dependencies (essentially a relationship between tasks that means one cannot be started until another is completed) by just dragging a line between the tasks, which you can't do with Backlog or other competing solutions. Zoho's Gantt charts look like this:
What else can you do with tasks in Zoho projects? Well, Premium and Enterprise users will be able to divide tasks into constituent parts using the sub-tasks function, but free users don't have this built in. Another useful function reserved exclusively for Enterprise users is Custom Fields, which were mentioned briefly earlier on in this article. The Custom Fields function essentially allows you to add information for which there might not be a dedicated field.
Although this function is not specifically designed for budget management, considering Zoho's budgeting function isn't the easiest in the world to use, you may find some joy inputting budgeting data with this instead.
Project and workflow creation
Setting up a budget isn't the easiest task on Zoho Projects, because you have to activate the feature in your system settings and then again in your project settings. However, there are functions that allow project managers to reflect overspends and users can log their hours, which alters the remaining budget accordingly. You can also view your budget alongside the remaining tasks left on your project.
However, it would certainly simplify things if a project manager could input spending information manually and separately from the time-tracking function, which budget management is tied to. This is great if you're working on a project with a lot of freelancers, within which paying staff by the hour is your primary expenditure. But it feels like Zoho has forgotten all the other types of expenditure that it would be useful to be able to input in a different way.
Automations are an important aspect of project management software, essentially allowing you to create actions that automatically follow (hence the name) on from other actions – such as an email automatically being sent to a project manager whenever a task is completed (to name just one of many examples of how this feature is useful).
You can build automations in different ways in Zoho Projects. Using ‘Workflow Rules', a trigger is activated when a criterion is met, but this feature is only available for users who purchase the Enterprise package.
There's also the Blueprint automation builder, however, for more complex tasks that involve multiple team members, such as an editorial quality control process where work may go back and forth between different team members (and this is available on the Premium plan). This gives Zoho Projects users a higher level of autonomy than Celoxis customers, for instance, because it doesn't allow for any automation to be built. That being said, it's a slightly more complex process than creating automations on monday.com. If you're looking for customizability in this area, however, Zoho Projects will not disappoint.
Zoho Projects has a number of features that team members working on the same project can use to collaborate. The resource utilization chart (pictured below), for example, is really useful for understanding team member availability, how work has been allocated (or overallocated) and who is overworked and underworked.
The way this is presented in Zoho Projects is slightly different from other project management apps, with Zoho going for a timeline-like display over less user-friendly options offered by providers like Backlog, which only allows you to view other team members' Gantt charts.
Minor yet useful features – such as team members who have the most free time appearing at the top of the drop-down selector for assigning tasks – complement this well, and illustrate that Zoho has a good understanding of the diverse range of scenarios users may encounter when managing a project.
There's also a calendar, a ‘Discuss' function which opens a conversation with another team member (although the conversation must be assigned to a project), and a way to comment on specific tasks, plus a way to log and assign issues to team members. On the one hand, because of Zoho Projects' seamless integration with programs like Slack, these features may be left to collect dust – but it also means you and your team won't have to rely on a third-party communications app if you don't want to.
In terms of system features that aren't available on all plans – and also could be a lot simpler – the only one of note is Guest Access.
Adding Guests on Zoho Projects is quite a complicated process that's good for data security but less useful for a project that involves a lot of freelancers that need to be added as guests.
Guest access is available on Premium and Enterprise versions of Zoho Projects, at $3 per guest per month or $24 per guest per annum, whilst it's not available at all on the free version. Guests are called ‘Client Users', and the process of adding a new client is actually a lot more complicated than it is on other project management software – for example, you can add guests on Trello with a simple link.
There are merits and pitfalls to both approaches. If you're looking for simplicity and are expecting to add a lot of guests, we'd suggest looking at Trello, but if your project includes sensitive information or data you'd like your guests to have limited and managed access to, Zoho Projects is definitely a better choice.
However, it must be said that Zoho Projects is one of the only PM software providers to charge for guest access. Asana allows guest access for free, as does Teamwork (although these platforms also do not allow any guest accounts on their respective free options).
In terms of actual features, businesses on all three plans have the ability to log issues in the same way, regardless of how much they're paying or how many users they have. Generally, data visualization doesn't really change from plan to plan either. There's a dashboard for visualizing data and a number of preset charts and widgets to take advantage of, but little to no customizability in this area, and none of the provisions you get on a piece of software like Wrike.
Jira will let you create custom charts and widgets, something you can't do in Zoho Projects, but there are still preset charts that are useful – such as the Planned vs Actual chart for showing project progress.
Integration with other software
Zoho Projects integrates with internal communication software like Microsoft Teams and Slack regardless of what plan you're on, so you'll be able to hook these up to Zoho no matter what price you're paying.
The same goes for CRM integrations, which are identical across all three plans – Zoho Projects actually leads the way with CRM integrations, offering more than any other provider we've looked at so far. Zoho CRM is an obvious choice to pair with Zoho Projects, but you can also integrate Pipedrive, Hubspot, and Sugar. If your business will need a CRM system at some point but you don't want to make that decision just yet, Zoho will give you the most options.
Zoho Projects' integration with Zoho CRM reflects one advantage Zoho has over other project management software options – Zoho is responsible for a whole suite of business software and services including an Email application, the CRM system mentioned above, Zoho Meeting, and Zoho Contracts.
Each piece of software is designed to integrate seamlessly with other Zoho products, so if you're looking for an all-encompassing solution for your business and are likely to need a CRM and Email provider too, then Zoho presents a better choice than other software mentioned in this article.
Zoho Projects Alternatives
One alternative you might enjoy depending on your project's priorities is Asana. If you're experienced in project management software and enjoy seeing your projects displayed on a Kanban board rather than Gantt charts, or if setting your own task management methodology is a priority for you, then Asana is definitely worth a look. If you'd like to see the full range of project management options available, then check out our review of the best alternatives to Zoho Projects.
If you want something highly similar though, Teamwork and Celoxis are the most comparable software out there and come with some great deals and discounts – so we've put them into a table alongside Zoho Projects for you:
Custom Project Templates
Yes (except free version)
A solid project management solution with an attractive free tier for small teams, as well as great automations that can help speed up workflows
A more structured, less customizable project management option
A management tool with a complex functionality.
Zoho Projects Customer Support and Training
The level of customer support provided by Zoho is the same on all plans – email, a community forum, and also an extensive FAQs section is accessible to all Zoho projects users.
Zoho has no onboarding assistance, so you may find yourself trawling through the website looking for FAQs relevant to whatever problem you're experiencing.
In terms of the support provisions Zoho actually affords customers, there are good signs. The FAQs section is actually pretty detailed and helpful, something that can't be said for every piece of software we review here at Tech.co. Additionally, the community forum is, as forums go, pretty useful and also has a surprisingly active user base. It's also quite easy on the eyes, while other community forums can sometimes look like a haystack of technical jargon you'll struggle to find an answer within.
However, the fact Zoho projects has no live chat support, isn't contactable by phone, and has no onboarding assistance means you'll probably find yourself trawling through the website looking for FAQs relevant to whatever problem you're experiencing.
Considering Zoho Projects is a complex piece of software geared towards businesses managing large projects, it's natural to expect more customer support than this. If you get stuck with something whilst using rival project management software like Teamwork, for example, you'll be able to speak to someone on the phone, send a live chat message or contact a support team by email.
Is Zoho Projects Worth it?
Overall, Zoho Projects will do the job for a wide range of businesses looking for software to help manage projects. It's the best option out there for small to medium-sized businesses who want to keep a close eye on how their project is progressing and have all the project management tools they need in one place. Although Zoho's free version has a significant number of features omitted, it still represents the best solution on the market for individuals or very small businesses (one to three employees). Allowing the free version to retain aspects like Kanban boards and Gantt charts means a small business would still find it a very useful plan for viewing a project in its different stages, and for managing time. The feature-rich Enterprise Plan, on the other hand, is a good option for much larger businesses who want an unlimited experience.
The final note in Zoho's favor is its price. Zoho Projects is not an expensive piece of kit when compared to most of the other providers on the market, and what you get is pretty reasonable for what you pay. Competing project management software like Teamwork – which some project managers find marginally easier to use, yet is more costly – also omit important features like automation, and also have a number of functions that feel unnecessarily complex to action.
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