Zoho Projects appears on most project management software lists, and it is easy to see why. It is a popular project management (PM) software, especially among startups and small businesses. The software has the right balance of moderate pricing, core PM features and functionality, and ease of use. The software also fits perfectly into the Zoho ecosystem if you already use other Zoho products like CRM, Desk, or Zoho One.
Zoho Projects Compared to the Best Project Management Software
Zoho Projects is a capable PM software if you’re shopping for the best deal. However, there are plenty more options available for various use cases. We have a terrific post reviewing the best project management software. These include our three favorite PM software tools, which we call our Golden Eggs:
Monday.com is our favorite project management software for its seamless integration of customer relationship management (CRM) into its core project management product. Try Monday.com for 14 days free with no credit card required.
ClickUp is a one-stop shop for all your project management needs, with an extensive feature list spanning project management, task management, time tracking, reporting, and collaboration. Save up to 45% on any ClickUp plan with annual billing.
Smartsheet easily adapts to your workflows, transforming traditional spreadsheets into a powerful project management or task tracking tool, depending on your use. Try Smartsheet free for 30 days, with no credit card required.
Zoho Projects: The Good and the Bad
Unfortunately, the perfect project management software doesn’t exist. Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages, and Zoho Projects isn’t an exception. The best you can hope for is a tool that ticks all the boxes for your specific needs.
What Zoho Projects Is Good At
Zoho Projects offers multiple advanced features and capabilities at a moderate price. The software provides a built-in issue tracker for dev teams and supports custom workflows and automation to minimize mundane tasks. The software also offers exceptional collaboration and at-a-glance resource management.
Terrific value for money: Zoho Projects is one of the less expensive PM software despite having multiple premium features. It’s a fantastic option for users on a tight budget that don’t want to sacrifice essential project management functionality. The software also offers a reasonable free plan for personal projects.
Built-in issue tracker: Software development teams don’t need separate issue-tracking software. The feature lets you build custom views that make sense for your workflow. You can also track how long it takes to fix issues and attach documents to issues.
Zoho Projects also integrates with popular Git platforms like GitHub and Bitbucket. Therefore, Zoho Projects provides a unified platform for technical and non-technical teams to collaborate. It’s also a terrific option for reducing or eliminating context switching.
Unique Blueprints feature: Zoho Projects allows you to determine your processes and enforce best practices. With Blueprints, you can create every workflow detail from start to finish. Then, employees use the Blueprint so they never miss a step.
The drag-and-drop Blueprint editor is also easy to use and intuitive. You can also automate mundane actions like sending email alerts to relevant team members if something goes wrong. The feature is a terrific combination of creating repeatable work processes and automating monotonous tasks.
Detailed resource utilization: Zoho Projects offers an exhaustive resource utilization chart to give a birds-eye view of your team’s work vs. free hours. The chart provides bar and heatmap views to help you understand employee schedules at a glance. You can also view daily, weekly, and monthly task allocation schedules at a glance.
Alternatively, you can set a specific date range to help identify who’s available to take on new tasks on particular dates. It’s a helpful feature that eliminates manually calculating employees’ hours when assigning new work.
Great collaboration tools: The platform takes teamwork to the next level by providing multiple collaboration tools depending on your workflow. First, you get an interactive project feed with up-to-date information about your projects. You can also add comments, host discussions, and @mention individuals or teams from the activity feed.
The platform also provides a robust built-in chat feature that easily replaces extra communication tools. You can also create group or private chats. Other collaboration tools include forums for long-form discussions, documents, file sharing, and project pages for creating information repositories.
What Zoho Projects Is Lacking
Zoho could improve its PM software on some fronts. Most close competitors offer more robust free plans. Moreover, Zoho Projects doesn’t provide premade templates, which is a conspicuous omission. Lastly, Zoho’s enterprise plan may be insufficient for some larger or more ambitious users.
Limited free version: We commend Zoho Projects for providing a free plan. However, the plan is only suitable for one or two personal projects. In addition, it lacks basic features that would make it worthwhile for most project teams.
For example, you only get 10MB of storage space and a maximum of two projects. These limitations mean the free version is insufficient for most team projects. Competitors like Moday.com and ClickUp offer more robust free versions.
Lacks pre-made project templates: Zoho Projects lets you create custom templates, so you don’t manually enter the same information for similar projects. However, the platform doesn’t provide pre-made templates, and most other PM software comes with hundreds or thousands of pre-made templates.
This is not necessarily a deal breaker, but the missing templates can increase the learning curve for beginners. Creating custom templates without anything to reference or use for inspiration is also more difficult.
Limitations for enterprise users: Zoho Projects offers an Enterprise plan with unlimited projects and no limit on the number of users. However, the plan caps storage space at 120 GB, so the storage limitation also restricts the number of people who can realistically use the same account.
By comparison, the Monday.com enterprise plan provides 1000 GB of storage space, and ClickUp’s enterprise plan is even more generous, with unlimited storage space. While cheaper than most competitors, Zoho’s Enterprise plan may be insufficient for large organizations with hundreds or thousands of active account users.
Zoho Projects Options and Pricing
Zoho has one of the largest ecosystems of software products. Its catalog spans numerous categories, including project management, customer relationship management (CRM), sales, marketing, contact management, bookings, desk, webinar, and many more. This makes Zoho a one-stop shop for business software if you prefer to purchase your software from the same provider.
However, to manage this post’s scope, we’ll stick with what Zoho’s project management software offers. Unfortunately, Zoho Projects doesn’t provide native billing and invoicing. So, we’ll also investigate how to add this capability to the primary PM software.
First off, Zoho’s pricing structure is similar to most other PM software providers. The software uses a pay-as-you-go payment structure billed monthly or annually. You can save up to $12 per user per month if you choose annual billing.
Furthermore, Zoho Projects offers three pricing tiers depending on your usage requirements. This model is also standard for project management software, and each higher level unlocks more features and lifts user license limitations.
There are three Zoho Projects pricing plans, including:
- Premium – Costs $5 per user per month
- Enterprise – Costs $10 per user per month
Zoho Projects also offers a 10-day free trial. It’s slightly shorter than most alternatives, typically offering 14-day or 30-day free trials. However, 10 days is still enough time to test the software before deciding to purchase.
It’s also worth mentioning that you cannot mix and match Zoho Projects editions (plans). For example, you cannot have a project manager on the Enterprise plan and team members on the Premium plan. To be fair, not every platform offers this capacity, but several other vendors do let you purchase different types of user accounts.
Let’s dig deeper to determine what you get with each pricing tier.
Zoho Projects Editions
Like most other PM software, Zoho Projects has a free forever plan. The plan supports up to three users and two projects. It also offers many of the software’s core features, including:
- Read-only access to the chronology Gantt chart
- Basic task and issue reports
- Project feeds
- Task management
- Document sharing
- Task dependency
- Import issues
Although there are more robust free plans, Zoho Projects’ free-forever tier is decent for collaborating on one or two small projects. So you probably wouldn’t use it for client work, but it should be good enough for a personal or internal project.
Fortunately, the free plan integrates with Slack, Zapier, and other popular software stacks. So you can improve the plan’s capabilities considerably with integrations. Furthermore, you can import issues from Jira or via XLS and CSV. Lastly, you can access most task management features, including viewing and managing tasks, working with subtasks, activating timers for tasks, and tracking milestones.
The next step up is the Zoho Projects Premium edition. It is a considerable step up from the free tier. It is a terrific option for organizations looking for core project and task management functionality on a budget. This tier unlocks critical PM features, including:
- Project timeline Gantt charts
- Time tracking
- Export projects
- Custom views
- Timesheet approval
- Project budget
- Task rollup
- Weekends and holidays
- Business rules
- Export issues
The Premium Edition captures most of the core project management features you need to streamline your team and workflows. You can work on unlimited projects and invite client users. You can also create up to 20 project templates, so you don’t have to repeat the same processes for each new project. And for $5 per user per month, it’s a good deal. You can also get up to 50 users on the premium edition and support unlimited projects.
Therefore, the Premium edition works exceptionally for startups and small to mid-size businesses.
Finally, the Enterprise Edition is Zoho Project’s highest tier. It targets enterprise users with large teams, and there’s no upper limit to the number of users. The Enterprise edition also unlocks all of Zoho Projects’ power.
Where the Premium plan only allows you to edit Gantt charts at the project level, the Enterprise lets you do this across projects. Furthermore, you can use the resource utilization chart across projects rather than only at the project level. The same applies to creating task dependencies.
Besides removing feature limitations, the Enterprise plan also introduces additional features. Some of the noteworthy functionality in this tier include:
- Flexible work hours
- Baseline and multiple baseline support
- Custom milestone fields
- Task layout rules
- Timesheet custom fields
In short, the Enterprise edition is suitable for users who want more control and customization of the software and its application within the organization. It’s also a terrific option for organizations with large project portfolios. In addition, the Enterprise plan offers proper workflow management and visibility across multiple projects.
Software development teams will also appreciate the enhanced issue-tracking capabilities. For example, the Enterprise plan allows linking issues, custom issue fields, webhooks, and custom-issue email templates. Still, Zoho maintains its reasonable price even at the highest tier. The Enterprise Edition costs $9 per user per month.
You’ll notice that Zoho Projects offers time tracking and timesheets but no way of converting this information into invoices. This limitation doesn’t mean you can’t use Zoho Projects for client work, as you can add this capability by integrating with Zoho Books.
Zoho Books is a stand-alone accounting software. However, it natively integrates with other software in the Zoho ecosystem, including Zoho Projects. You can also automate actions between the software, such as creating an invoice when a new project starts.
Zoho Books offers a free-forever plan for businesses with revenue below $50,000 annually. This plan includes most core account features, including managing clients and invoices, a customer portal, online and offline payments, multi-lingual invoicing, and automated payment reminders.
Other Zoho Books features available with all plans include:
- Bank rules & reconciliation
- Expenses and mileage tracking
- Invoice customization
- Payment gateways
- Schedule reports
- Credit notes
Zoho Books also offers five more pricing tiers, depending on the functionality you need. Again, Zoho has features and usage limits depending on your plan. The additional pricing tiers include the following:
- Standard – Costs $15 per organization per month
- Professional – Costs $40 per organization per month
- Premium – Costs $60 per organization per month
- Elite – Costs $120 per organization per month
- Ultimate – Costs $240 per organization per month
Zoho Projects in Summary
Zoho Projects is a very strong project management software. It offers all the features a small to medium size business needs to track projects, tasks, and schedules. It is also one of the most affordable PM software tools, especially considering its diverse feature set.
Specifically, the Zoho Projects Premium edition provides exceptional value for money. You get Gantt charts, advanced task and issue reporting, custom milestone and project statuses, time tracking, and issue tracking at just $4 per user per month, billed annually.
Do you want to consider more options before you decide? Look through our review post outlining the best project management software if you want something different. First, we think Monday.com is the best option for most people, scoring high marks for onboarding, task management, collaboration, and pricing. Next, ClickUp is a terrific alternative for remote teams for its heavy focus on workflow and visibility. Finally, Smartsheet is a top solution for flexible PM software that quickly adapts to your workflow.