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Zoho Projects Review 2019

May 7, 2019

12:37 pm

  • Established: 2000
  • HQ: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Suitable for small teams and large businesses
  • Integrates with other Zoho products
  • Flat fee pricing

A solid project management solution with a good range of pricing tiers, but a very basic free option

Zoho Projects is easy to navigate, with a free tier for small teams. However, to get the features you need for anything with even a modicum of complexity, you'll need to pay. Task dependencies, for example, require at least a $20 per month commitment, while Gantt charts are available the next tier up. The good news is that Zoho Projects is more affordable than many competitors, offering flat fees with options to add additional users in the upper tiers on a per-seat cost.

One really nice feature of Zoho Projects is that Milestones are created through a dedicated section of the interface, as opposed to creating them within a Gantt chart with a zero day duration. ‘Pages’ is another interesting feature, where teams can create shared notebooks or HTML pages.

  • Built-in chat
  • Easy-to-navigate interface
  • Task and issue tracker

What is Zoho Projects?

Zoho Projects is simple enough to use for anyone who needs cleanly designed project management software, yet it's also complex enough to suit the needs of large businesses. It offers many of the fundamental features users need for project management, along with built-in time tracking, a healthy number of reporting options, and – for offices that are interested – a tool for gamifying everything.

As you might expect, Zoho Projects also integrates with other Zoho offerings including Docs, Zoho CRM, and Zoho Analytics. For teams that are already using Zoho products, Projects makes a lot of sense. There are a few things that aren't great, of course: Zoho has hard limits on the number of projects you can create in the lower and free pricing tiers, and key features – such as Gantt charts and greater third-party integrations – are restricted to upper pricing tiers. Nevertheless, there's a lot to like about Zoho Projects, especially for smaller teams just looking to better organize their task lists.

In This Guide:

Zoho Projects Features

Zoho has many standard features you'd expect in project management software. There are tasks and dependencies, and milestones are easily created within their own dedicated section. There are also subtasks, a good but not great number of key third-party integrations, built-in chat, tasks and issue tracking, customized fields (enterprise only), Gantt charts, and timesheet approval. The problem isn't the variety of features, but which pricing tier you'll need in order to get the key features your team wants.

Built-in time tracking

We've seen this in other project management software, but it's still rare enough that it's worth calling out. If you need to record the time spent on tasks, look for the stopwatch icon on the task details page towards the top. Click that, and a timer starts complete with seconds, minutes, and hours. There's also a global timer widget in the top left corner of the primary interface to show all active timers. This feature may need to be activated in the settings if you don't see it in your project.

Gamescope

Zoho Projects GamescopeZoho Projects has an interesting feature called Gamescope, which lets managers and team members create some (hopefully) healthy competition in the office. There are a lot of conflicting opinions about whether gamification (leaderboards, productivity challenges, etc.) is a good thing, or a nightmare. Nevertheless, if your company typically uses this kind of motivation, then Zoho Projects has a tool built-in just for that purpose. Gamescope starts with a standard trophy and leaderboard setup, with badges awarded for completing a set number of tasks in a day or converting so many leads to sales. Team members can also create challenges to call out specific team members to compete against. It can be fun, but it can also get out of hand, so managers should tread carefully. The feature is available at the Standard pricing tier and above.

Zoho Docs integration

It's no surprise that Zoho Projects integrates with other Zoho products. Still, this is a great advantage of the Zoho platform, as rival project management software can't really compete in this way. Sure, Microsoft Project integrates with Office, but that's all desktop bound. Here, you click on a document saved within Zoho Projects, and it immediately takes you to Docs in a new tab. There you can edit your document, and new changes are reflected in the version stored in Projects. You can also go back to Docs to check out version history if you need to roll back some changes. The one thing we feel is missing is seamless integration, where you just click a button and start editing your document right within the Projects browser tab.

Zoho Projects Video Overview: Project Management in Action

This video from Zoho provides an overview of Zoho Projects and its key features, including tasks, milestones, invoicing, budgeting, and timesheets. Learn more about how this software can help your company grow.

Zoho Projects Pricing

Zoho starts with flat fee pricing, much like Reviewsnap, and hard limits on users, with options to add more seats in the upper pricing tiers. The first tier is free, and covers a maximum of five users, two projects, Google Apps integration, and file attachments up to 10MB in size.

If that's not enough, and it probably won't be for most businesses, the Standard Plan for small teams is $20 per month. This covers up to 10 users, 10 projects, and files up to 5GB in size. You also get five project templates, time tracking, subtasks, task dependencies, task reminders, Google Task sync, issue tracking, Gamescope, and integration with Zoho CRM.

Next is Express for $40 per month, which supports unlimited projects, 15 users, up to 20GB of file attachments, and 10 project templates. Adding more users costs another $3 per user, per month. It also add custom views, recurring tasks, Gantt charts, invoice and books integration, and timesheet approval.

Zoho Projects IssuesThe fourth tier is called Premium. For $85 per month, you get 20 users, unlimited projects, 20 project templates, and files up to 100GB. Adding more users at this level costs $4 per user, per month. For added features, there's blueprints for tasks, resource utilization, four types of task dependencies, task rollup, project budgets, more integrations, business rules, and automation for issues.

Finally, there's the Enterprise grade – for $125 per month, you get 25 users, unlimited projects, 30 templates, and up to 120GB files. Extra users will cost $5 per user, per month. Enterprise's added features include custom fields for tasks, projects, and issues; custom profiles and roles; custom domains, global Gantt charts, a global resource utilization chart, task dependencies across projects, critical path, SLA for issues, and baseline.

Some of these features you can find at lower pricing tiers in other products, including critical path and even dependencies. However, most competing products charge by the seat, meaning that the actual cost can be much higher than Zoho's flat fee pricing – especially for small businesses who can easily afford the Enterprise tier, with all the bells and whistles, for teams of around 25.

Zoho Projects Review Verdict

Zoho Projects is an interesting option for project management software. The flat fee structure makes the upper tiers more accessible to medium sized teams looking to get the fullest feature set.

That said, it may not be much of a deal compared to other products, depending on how many seats you need. Nevertheless, Zoho's built-in time tracking, simple to navigate interface, and integration with other Zoho products makes it an option well worth looking at.

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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has worked as a technology industry reporter and critic for more than ten years. He’s written for PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, Yahoo, Lifewire, and The Huffington Post. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, security software, and browsers.