Yes, finally I got some time. And guess what I did. I went back to see what Zoho product I have not laid my hands on. I set sight on Zoho Projects, the online project management system. It is similar to MS Project but it is hosted online. It is free as long as you want to work only with a single project.
Traditionally Zoho has been churning out great online apps that are equivalents to their desktop cousins. And this time too I had a great time playing around with the application. Lets get started. Once registration was over and I logged in, the first thing to do was to create a project and set its properties and users.
Then I created a few tasks, attached them to a task list. You can specify the date, priority and the percentage completed for each task. Milestones can be added as and when necessary. The owner of each task would be notified of the task details. You can upload any project document. A single project has 100 megs of space and that should be sufficient as long as only important documents are uploaded.
You can convene a meeting without ever leaving the application and another email would be shot to all the participants. You can select who will attend the meeting. The meeting feature is a nicely thought out one. Another unique and highly useful feature is the Forum. Users can post their queries or opinions and other users can comment on them. Very neat!
A built in calendar tracks the tasks, milestones and meetings. You can create a new task, milestone or a meeting right from the calendar. The Administrator can view any of these items for a particular user or all users. Another great feature of Zoho Projects is it allows users to record time against the tasks. Effort and cost estimation becomes very easy.
Any project management software should be able to give a report of the activities. Users can see a Gantt Chart of the project as well as the % Complete for each of the tasks. Open milestones can be viewed in the Milestone report chart. Project activity is tracked and all the changes are listed in the bottom portion of the dashboard page.
You can even let your clients track your work and that is certain to boost the confidence he has in you and brings transparency and credibility to your organization and the quality work you do.
I should say that Zoho Projects is a very easy to setup and use web based project management application. It took me just under 5 minutes to get going. It provides all the necessary features in the free version and its ease of use could well prompt some businesses to upgrade to the Premium Version. I think it would be great on the part of Zoho if it can provide at-least 3 projects in the free version.
A lot of screenshots for you…