Project Management 2.0 can be considered as the combination of traditional project management with collaborative and social components (see our previous PM 2.0 coverage). Project Management tools have evolved very much from the days of traditional approach using Microsoft Project. It is only natural to evolve from the traditional tools that actually didn’t help much beyond the planning stage. A project is not just about planning but also execution. If a Project Management tool doesn’t provide any help for the execution of the project, then it only helps you cross half the river. The traditional approach included using the primitive project management tools for the planning and then resorting to other primitive techniques like email, IM, storing documents in a shared storage and buying expensive office productivity suite for every team member to access these documents. It not only hampered the productivity but also resulted in the creation of information silos.
In the meantime, wikis came along and evolved as a pretty powerful collaboration tool but their full potential was not tapped by Project Management apps until recently. Slowly, companies are integrating wikis into the Project Management applications (See my coverage of PbWorks Project Edition). Such an integration proved very effective in breaking down the information silos and, also, in increasing the efficiency in the project workflow. Soon, companies also realized the importance of integrating social technologies that can help boost the productivity within the teams. After all, a successful and agile project is one in which information is readily available as and when it is needed. The best way to implement this is by adding a social layer on the top. It will help keep team members informed about what others are working at a particular moment and it will also help the users to get project related information from fellow team members in real time. Companies like SocialText and ManyMoon implemented this social component effectively into the project workflow.
Today Zoho has taken the next step in the evolution of Project Management software with the release of Zoho Projects 2.0. (Disclaimer: Zoho is the exclusive Sponsor of CloudAve.) With this release, Zoho has integrated Zoho Wiki with Zoho Projects (a possibility I predicted in my PbWorks post without actually having any knowledge about what is brewing in the Zoho factory). Along with this integration, they have added a Twitter like status update into the app. As they have done with some of their other offerings, they have integrated the Zoho chat feature into the app so that team members can interact in real time. But, what makes Zoho Projects 2.0 different from other apps like SocialText is its tighter integration with Zoho Office Suite. This makes Zoho Projects 2.0 a comprehensive solution for teams working together in a project. Now companies could offer their project teams a comprehensive suite containing project management tools, wikis, social tools and a complete office productivity suite. In fact, they can do this without the exorbitant price tag.
Some of the features of Zoho Projects 2.0 are
- Milestones, Tasks and Tasks Lists
- Priorities, completion, dependencies and ownership
from Microsoft Project gives users the option of planning a project in
Microsoft Project and then easily tracking and executing that project
in Zoho Projects 2.0.
- Project Stream is a visual representation that lets users see the latest activities pertaining to their project.
- User Status provides a Twitter-like interface where users can securely publish their latest update to their entire team
- Shared Project Calendar keeps everyone appraised of upcoming deadlines and meetings
- Centralized file sharing with multiple folders, tags, search and versioning
- Integration with the award winning Zoho Office – allows users to create/edit/view documents using just their browser
- Discussions – interactive forums provide a space where everyone can be part of a long-term conversation.
Wiki lets users maintain all the project-related content in a
centralized place where other project members can contribute easily.
chat and “always on” chat room give users a single place where they can
go to quickly discuss issues. Multiple chat rooms can be opened to
discuss different issues.
Project Dashboard offers a quick at-a-glance view of fthe upcoming
tasks, milestones, meetings and anything else happening around the
- Multiple reports allows the project manager and the team visually evaluate the progress against the plan
those teams with external customers, the Timesheet makes it easy to log
and track who has spent how much time doing what. In addition,
integration with Zoho Invoice makes it easy to create, send and track
In short, the Project Management apps has evolved in a tremendous way. They are better equipped to increase the productivity of the teams and, also, to break down the information silos. The cost effectiveness of SaaS applications means that all these features comes without making any dent on the company’s coffers. In spite of the severe economic climate, these are exciting times for businesses dealing with IT.