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Tracking the Flow of Time

Zoho Projects | June 4, 2014 | 3 min read

A friend once called me to talk about a totally unexpected question he was posed in a job interview. The interviewer had simply asked him to ‘define time.’ I asked him what his reply was. He turned the question around and asked me how I would have answered.

Immediately, I didn’t know what to say. It was one of those things that you were always aware of but just couldn’t put into words. After considering a few approaches I came up with this:

“Time is that, which continuously turns the future into the past!”
“Haha, good attempt,” said the friend, “But words like ‘continuously,’ ‘future’ and ‘past’ are defined using time. So this cannot be taken.”
“Then what is the answer?”
“I searched about this. Albert Einstein came up with one of the most popular and accepted definitions. He said, ‘time is what the clock reads!'”
“Are you joking?”
“No I am serious.”
“Then how do you define a clock when you cannot say it is ‘that which shows time?'”

The friend just laughed and changed the topic.

The problem of utilizing resources such that their time is spent optimally is a crucial one for any project manager. And simplifying this is a prime area of focus for Zoho Projects. A couple of weeks ago, we rolled out several updates in our Gantt Chart, a direct visual representation of tasks with respect to time. Before that, we’d announced an advanced analytics add-on powered by Zoho Reports that gave you more than 50 ready made reports with rich insights. And now, we’re adding another bunch of features, that lets you take charge of time!

 Timesheet Approval

The timesheet provides an easy way to all working on a project to log their billable and non billable hours. As the term, ‘time is money,’ gets literally applied here, you may want more control. Managers can now select entries from time sheets and approve them. Only approved, billable entries get reflected in invoices. Admins can enable and disable time sheet approval under portal settings.

Zoho-Projects-timesheet-approval

 UI Enhancements

We’ve made UI enhancements that save you time by organizing information better. You can view all your milestones in one place by going to the ‘My Milestones’ view. Clicking on a milestone opens a new milestone summary view where you can view and edit associated task lists and bugs and add comments.

Zoho-Projects-milestone-view

Similarly, we’ve added a task list summary view that lets you edit and sort all tasks within. You can also add comments to the task lists here. A new consolidated filter view lets you pick the filters you want quickly. Hold down ‘z‘ and press ‘k‘ on  your keyboard to view a list of keyboard shortcuts; this is a list we’re planning to grow in the time to come.

keyboard shortcuts

New REST API

We provide an API that lets developers push and pull data to and from Zoho Projects and create app mash-ups. We are now launching a fully revamped version 2.0 of this, that comprises of REST API. We would be deprecating the existing API when September ends, so make sure your apps are awake to 2.0 before then!

And More…

A timeline of all activities of a user is shown, when you click that user’s profile picture. A graphic that displays a summary of activities of this user is shown to the right of this view. You can initiate a chat with the user from here and if you are within a project, you can also follow and send a direct message.

activity stream

On the right hand side of the dashboard is a collection of insightful widgets. You can select which of these you wish to see from the menu above and order them as you wish. Templates can be created using existing projects, which you can in turn use to quickly initialize new projects. Task duration can be specified without specifying start or end dates.

Time and tide may wait for no man. But he who can track the flow of time and use it smartly can get a lot done. And we do hope these features help you to that end. Please check them out and let us know your feedback.

  1. SForshaw

    Hi,

    This is for approval once the job is done for the timesheet.

    How do I do approval for tasks that my consultants want to do in development? Prior to them doing these tasks?

    • Hari Narayanan

      Hi Susan,
      You should be able to manage this with task custom fields. This is coming soon!

  2. Brian

    Can time tracking be pushed/invoiced to Zoho Books?

    • Hari Narayanan

      Hi Brian, we’re working on this, will let you know when it’s out.

  3. Andre

    Can we tell Zoho Projects the estimate time of a project and build a report on Estimate vs Actual Project Time?

    • Hari Narayanan

      Hi Andre, this comparison can be made using the Zoho Reports add-on.

  4. Jesse

    Hi! How can I integrate Zoho tasks with Omnifocus using Zoho’s new REST API?

    • Hari Narayanan

      Hi Jesse! There is no direct integration here, so you have to fetch the data using our API and push it.

  5. Luis Tama

    Hi, does the new API provide methods for working with sub-tasks?

    • Hari Narayanan

      Hi Luis! Our fetch API now fetches subtasks also. Support for adding, fetching and editing subtasks specifically is coming soon.