In the 2020 edition of PMI’s Pulse of the Profession, one of the top three factors that executive leaders attributed to project success was investing in the right technology (32%). However, what’s the right technology for you? This can vary based on your industry, role, type of organization, and nature of work. But the one factor that wins uncontested is the ability of a tool to be adopted by people. In other words, how easily can software be adopted or implemented by your organization?
As we covered in our previous blog, consistent, user-friendly, and intuitive software can help ease the adoption process. Something else that people look for are intelligent features that can help them work efficiently. After all, we go for a tool to make our work easier, not harder. If a platform requires months to set up, with every single action requiring a manual process, we’re more likely to give up on it.
We want to make sure that you can work smartly with Zoho Projects 7, which is why we’re happy to introduce these new, intelligent features that are now available in our latest version:
#1 Rules that can be bent – Workflow Rules
Task workflow automation also called blueprints in Zoho Projects, is an existing feature that allows you to automate the status transitions of your tasks. However, what if this can be taken beyond just your tasks? Introducing Workflow Rules—for automating and setting up workflows for any work item in your project.
For example, say you want to use your PM tool to help you create a project plan. The first step is creating a WBS, then allocating time as well as resources to the split-up work items. To help with that, you can simply set up criteria so that tasks containing certain keywords or a value in a custom field get assigned to a particular user or team with high priority and longer duration. All it takes is a simple setup; Zoho Projects will take care of the rest.
Workflow rules can also be used to implement a priority matrix, so that actions can be taken in the right order of precedence, or to successfully implement a stakeholder engagement model (notifications and email alerts can be set too!) to make sure your communication plan is held up. These rules will make your work easier in every stage of your project management process.
Workflow rules are highly flexible and customizable. Any number of conditions and logical criterial relationships can be set in a single rule. Webhooks can be also linked to send notifications via third-party apps.
#2 In your own time – Task flexible hours
Managing people is a complex endeavor. Resource management and work allocation are difficult even with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This is why Zoho Projects 7 introduces flexible task hours. With this feature, users can dynamically set the number of work hours for a task every day. For example, instead of a standard three hours per day on Task A for a week, you can set it as three hours on day one, five hours on day two, and so on. This feature reflects how work happens practically and greatly improves the work allocation process with realistic schedules.
#3 For good measure – Earned Value Management
We’re happy to announce the introduction of Earned Value Management in Zoho Projects! A more comprehensive way to measure your progress by comparing the planned versus actual values of your project, EVM is especially useful for tracking and predicting budgets. EVM combines all three factors of the project management triangle—schedule, cost, and time—to measure performance and forecast the important parameters of your project. The math behind EVM may seem quite complicated, which is why the term EVM is usually met with dread. No need to worry, however, as all you have to do is enable EVM in Zoho Projects and we’ll provide the analyzed reports for you. We have the EVM analysis and cost/ schedule variance reports in your personal dashboard, as well as an overall project-level cost/ schedule performance report in the portfolio dashboard. Learn more.
#4 Compact Insights – New Kanban enhancements
The status-based Kanban view is available under an enhanced ‘Tasks’ module under Work Overview. That’s not all—now subtasks are also included in the Kanban view. This makes all three views truly independent of each other. Keeping up with our improved aesthetics, we’re happy to introduce a new collapse columns option in Kanban view that hides your detailed task info but shows the number of work items in every stage of your project. This can give a high-level view of your project progress. For ease of use, we’ve also added several customizations, such as easy rearrangement of columns, show or hide task-related data, and expand or collapse subtasks option.
#5 For the team players – Assigning Teams
We introduced Teams in Zoho Projects to recreate and let you work with functional and organizational teams similar to your workplace. Teams could be @ mentioned in comments and status updates. We’re taking it one step further in Zoho Projects 7. Teams can now be assigned tasks or issues directly for swift follow-up and action.
How do you like these new updates? We’re eager for you to try them out! Do let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.
As always, we wish you many happy projects! 🙂