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Category : Zoho Projects

Employees Using Zoho Sprints with help of ZBrains

Zoho Sprints: Agile Project Management Made Easy

Any project management solution comes with pros and cons. But if your company has committed to agile project management workflows, Zoho Sprints is worth serious consideration.

Not sure what agile project management is or how it works? In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at Zoho agile project management practices, including a breakdown of the difference between Zoho Projects and Zoho Sprints for agile shops. 

How does Agile project management improve product development?

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), agile practices “aim for early, measurable ROI through defined, iterative delivery of product increments. They feature continuous involvement of the customer throughout the product development cycle. Although agile has its roots in software and IT, agile adoption is growing and expanding in a wide range of industries.”

Agile project management involves breaking projects into individual tasks that are delivered on a periodic basis. This approach also allows for a more iterative, responsive way of working that enables stakeholders to incorporate relevant feedback as the project develops. 

“Scrum” is one particular agile project management technique that divides complicated projects into smaller, simpler units. At the end of each iteration (known as a “sprint”), the team reports on its progress and gathers feedback. Once this data is received and analyzed, another sprint begins, based on the customer feedback

How Zoho Sprints Agile Project Management Works

Zoho Sprints is Zoho’s first-ever agile project management software. Developed using scrum methodology, Sprints enables businesses to plan, execute, and deliver complicated projects by segmenting them across various modules. 

With Sprints, you can set up backlogs for your projects, divide these backlogs into scheduled sprints, and work on them in an iterative, collaborative way. 

Implementing Zoho Sprints is relatively simple. First, create your project, and use Zoho’s prompts to add users and manage your project’s settings. 

Once your project is set up, you’ll be able to create individual work items and sprints. 

From here, you can drag and drop work items from your backlog into your sprints, assign tasks to relevant users, and kick off your individual sprints.

Once your sprints start, you’ll be able to access fully customizable scrum boards, which let you visualize your tasks and move them through different stages or statuses. You can also create “Epics” which group items that share the same objective.

You’ll also want to check out the Charts and Reports feature, where you can monitor and compare sprints, as well as track your team members’ performance. The Timetrack module tracks your billable vs non-billable hours, while the Meetings module lets you set up sprint reviews and meetings. 

Zoho Sprints vs Zoho Projects: Choosing the Right Option

Having said that, one of the questions we hear a lot at ZBrains is: what is the difference between Zoho Projects and Sprints, and how do I know which one to use? 

Both Zoho Projects and Zoho Sprints are solid project management solutions, each offering efficient and coherent approaches to delivering projects. That said, any software solution has its own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right one largely comes down to the nature of your projects. 

Macro vs. Micro Project Management 

Zoho Projects makes it easy to visualize projects as a whole, including their steps, processes, and target outcomes. In other words, Projects is a good option for projects that begin with a robust plan (such as those following the waterfall methodology) or for projects you intend to replicate in the future. 

Zoho Sprints, on the other hand, is especially useful for projects that are being planned and implemented in stages. Because projects in Sprints are broken down into smaller cycles with periodic outcomes, the tool makes it easy for stakeholders to check in, evaluate progress, and adjust the project at regular intervals.  

In summary, Sprints is good for projects that need to be able to adapt and change, whereas Projects is ideal for simpler projects with more robust plans that aren’t expected to change. 

Value for Money 

As of December 1, 2022, both Zoho Projects and Zoho Sprints offer a free trial period to let you try out the software at no cost. That said, while Projects has a free tier, all of Sprints’ tiers are paid. 

The free version of Projects includes up to 3 users and up to 2 projects. From there, pricing begins at $18 per month (based on a minimum of 6 users at $3 per user per month) and includes a maximum of 10 projects. The next pricing tier begins at $4 per user, per month, with a minimum of 15 users and unlimited projects.

Sprints begins at $12 per month for up to 12 users. Customers requiring 13-100 users are billed $5 per user, per month (which can be paid either monthly or annually). 


Both Projects and Sprints integrate with other Zoho apps, as well as MS Teams, MS Office, Bitbucket, and GitHub. Using Zapier, both Sprints and Projects can connect to over 2,000 Google apps. 

In addition, Zoho Sprints integrates with GitLab and Jenkins, while Projects integrate with many others, including Slack, iCal, Zen Desk, Google, and Crashlytics. 

Team Management

While both Projects and Sprints offer communications tools, Sprints includes additional features for tracking your teams, gathering data after each sprint, and holding meetings to enable collaboration. Sprint also offers reports and insights into your team’s performance. 

In comparison, Projects allows users to assign and monitor tasks, specify tasks’ priority, and send reminders to team members. You can also monitor time sheets and track issues that might arise in the project. 

Getting Started with Zoho Sprints

Ready to learn more about Zoho Sprints, including whether or not it’s the right choice for your agile project management approach? Connect with the ZBrains team directly for customized suggestions, based on your unique project specifications.  

Exterior of Cross Campus Downtown Los Angeles location

Zoho Community Meetup at Cross Campus DTLA

Zoho Community Meetup at Cross Campus DTLA

At 1PM on Wednesday, October 3rd, ZBrains will host our next Zoho Community Meetup in the heart of downtown Los Angeles Cross Campus:

800 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90017

Come learn how ZBrains provides solutions to the most common Zoho CRM challenges. This event is FREE and open to the public!

Community Meetup Agenda

Join ZBrains as we help you better understand the Zoho CRM, journeying through the following topics:

Zoho Projects

  • Plan, track, and ensure positive collaboration among your employees. Projects allows for better time management and resource utilization.

Zoho Creator

  • Whether you need complex processes automation or just less tedious work on your plate, Zoho Creator lets you craft a custom app that fits your business.

Zoho Campaigns

  • Building a strong customer base is made that much easier with smart email marketing campaigns, and Zoho Campaigns helps you do that and then some.

POP and IMAP for Better Email Management

  • Achieve a greater understanding of POP and IMAP, and how Zoho integrates with them through various email clients.

SalesInbox to Prioritize your Emails

  • The email client built exclusively for salespeople to bring the most valuable emails to the forefront.

MS Outlook plugin to manage emails, contacts, and events

  • Collaboration is key, which is why this plugin pulls from your emails, tasks, and calendar for one convenient data hub.

Layouts for dynamic customization

  • Custom layouts allow you to tailor your CRM for your business, including the fields that are relevant for your industry.

Subforms to associate multiple line items to a primary sale

  • Custom-create subforms to add accessories to a primary product, or add contact details to accounts, among other uses.

API version 2 for enhanced integration capabilities

  • Released in February 2018, this updated API includes better call methods, output responses, and more!

Zoho CRM Integrations

  • Zoho Projects
  • Zoho Creator
  • Zoho Books
Zoho Projects hero

Zoho Projects Review: Enhanced Dependencies & Gantt Chart

Zoho Projects: Enhanced Dependencies and Gantt Chart Features

Before project-based business software headed to the cloud and became the flexible family of apps we know today – like Zoho – lots of companies were forced to bend to the will of their software, and had procedural problems because of that.  Businesses handling lots of projects have been hampered by a limited way to visualize task dependencies, non-intuitive reporting, and a general lack of integration with other apps.  In some cases, companies have even found it easier to simply track projects with spreadsheets – and, that comes with its own host of issues.  What can a company in that situation do?

Fortunately, Zoho has revamped their Projects app to bring those very elements to the businesses that need it the most.  The updated Zoho Projects includes better reporting, more task dependencies, and a host of integrations that make data flow automatic, so you can focus on doing real work.

Here’s a rundown of the new features in Projects.

Enhanced Gantt Charts

The success of any project is ultimately measured by two questions: Was it on time, and was it within budget? In project management, these two conditions are managed by a tool called the Gantt chart. The updates to Zoho Projects has enhanced their already great Gantt charts.

Supports all Task Dependencies

Gantt charts organize tasks based on dependencies, and they help you visualize a critical chain of tasks that have to be completed as assigned in order to keep a project moving at its scheduled pace. Inevitably, when projects start creeping outside of their timelines, rising costs come with them, so it’s important to keep on top of tasks as closely as possible. Zoho Projects has always been a great tool to manage Finish to Start dependencies, but is now prepared to provide four more!

Here’s a refresher on the five task dependencies now supported in Zoho Projects.

Finish to Start – A task or activity is unable to start until a previous task or activity that it is dependent on has finished. For example, in a construction project, you can’t install a door or window until the framing is finished.

Start to Start – A task or activity must start before another activity can begin. For example, furniture can’t be installed until carpet installation has begun.

Finish to Finish – A task or activity must be finished before another activity can finish. For example, a new electric dryer can’t be tested before the proper electrical wiring had been placed.

Start to Finish – An activity must start before another activity finishes. For example, old plumbing pipe must be removed before new pipe can be set in its place.

Unscheduled Tasks – Predefined dependencies for tasks that don’t have a start or end date.

View and Edit Dependencies with Ease

The new Gantt Chart eliminates the Dependency Tab from Zoho Projects. Now, you can view, edit, and reorder your dependencies by clicking and dragging between the Jump to task bar icons in the left panel. The dependency graph is also available in the Task Details page, where you can view and edit the dependencies that a task shares with other tasks. You can even set your preferred or most frequently used dependency types as defaults by going to the Setup page and choosing Task and Timesheet under Org Settings. It is here that you can also decide which actions should occur when a task is advanced, postponed, or rescheduled.

Project Timeline Gantt Chart

Every great tool is made better when it provides valuable feedback into the health of your business. In this case, the new Project Timeline Gantt chart update provides insight into the progress and health of your projects. You can quickly get a clear visual of your projects and upcoming milestones, and even get all details of a task, including: percentage complete, duration, start date, end date, and owner. The Gantt bars show the lengths of time your projects span and how far along they are, while an easy drag-and-drop helps you reschedule tasks if needed. You can also edit tasks and milestones directly inside the Gantt chart, saving from you having to switch to another view.

Manage your People, and your Meetings

All, successful projects depend on a host of other factors in conjunction with a well-laid schedule. Zoho Projects is prepared to help you manage them that much better! Every project needs manpower, but scheduling the correct people has historically had to be handled separately—until now.

Zoho People Integration

Zoho People now integrates with Projects! This allows for both vacation and time-off requests, as well as managerial approval, all within one platform. It also allows for enhanced visibility and mitigates issues that may arise when your workers are unavailable. Work can be reallocated, as employee leave data is reflected in both the Project Calendar and Resource Utilization chart.

Zoho Meetings Integration

The new Zoho Projects not only helps you manage your team better, but it also helps you manage your time better.  We all know the amount of time it can task to set up and coordinate meetings with your team, whether they happen frequently or they’re just last-minute. With the new Zoho Meeting integration, you easily meet with your team to collaborate and provide clarity, resolve issues, and help make decisions by simply click Meet Now on the Task Details page!

Customized Controls and Views

Zoho Projects has a few more updates which will help your projects and your workflow run more smoothly. For example, using timers within a task or project used to mean you had stop and restart from the beginning. Now the timers have been enhanced to  allow for pausing and resuming tasks while you take a break or switch to a new task. Zoho Projects has even added new custom views and capabilities for creating task views based on the field value conditions that you set. Furthermore, you can filter tasks from your master list and save those filter criteria as a new view. This update helps you get to the information you need more efficiently.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team today! We are Zoho Certified Consultants here to help! Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 or click the button below and we’ll reach out to you. You can also register for one of our upcoming Stump the Chump webinars Friday, Jan. 19th at 9 am PST or Friday, Jan. 26th at 9 am PST. Ask your Zoho questions, and if you stump us, we’ll buy you coffee!

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5 Game-Changing Features of the New Zoho CRM!

New Zoho CRM is back with a vengeance after its facelift

If you haven’t already heard about the new Zoho CRM interface and new Zoho CRM features that were all rolled out in earnest over the past few weeks, you’ve probably been living under a rock – or, you’ve just been really busy.  Don’t worry!  It happens to me, too.

Before Zoho rolled out the new UI, however, they very quietly rolled it out to their partner network so we could all become familiar with it before we started helping people build out their own systems.  And, let me tell you: it is gorgeous.  But, that’s not even what I wanted to talk about.

Zoho proves with this new iteration of their CRM that beauty is much more than skin-deep.  I’ve put together 5 ways this Zoho CRM changes the game completely – and puts you firmly in command of your system.

1. Schedule a script to run independently instead of as part of a workflow rule

zoho crm features

This is really nifty.  Zoho workflow automation has always been handy, but, up to this point, if you wanted the system to carry out a task for you, that task would have to be based on some other action taking place, like the creation or editing of a record.  That would make it impossible for you to run a custom script that wasn’t based on an action – like, say, to sync data from Zoho to Google Drive (or some other cloud-based system) at the end of every workday.  But, with this new capability, there’s no more limitation in that arena, and you don’t need to base a scheduled script upon performing an action!

2. Automatically trigger leads to convert based on set criteria

zoho crm features

Workflow rules now extend to lead conversion, so if your Lead record matches that special criteria you set for qualification, you don’t even have to press convert anymore.  For people who have hundreds of things going on – and might be prone to forgetting to convert their Leads to Potentials – this is a lifesaver, but, it’s also good for new salespeople who might not be sure what your exact lead conversion criteria are.  If you tell your CRM what those conditions are, it takes the work off your salespeople’s plates.

3. Set multiple layouts per module

zoho crm features

Have you ever wished you could add another layer of granularity to your record separation game?  With the new CRM, you can plan separate page layouts for any module in Zoho – even custom ones!  This comes in handy if, for example, you deal with multiple kinds of leads.  While you’ll want to keep track of all your sales activities, you probably won’t want to take potential partners down the same sales funnel as your regular prospects.  The new Zoho CRM allows for multiple completely custom page layouts so you can take every kind of Lead, Potential, or Account down the sales path that’s best for your business.

4. Gamify your CRM activities!

zoho crm features

Sales gamification is a great motivator, as I’ve mentioned before.  In the new Zoho CRM interface, Zoho takes the same great idea they’ve applied to Zoho Projects (and on which they developed an entire app in Zoho Motivator) and applies it to the CRM – and, as it is in Projects, it’s a great tool to drive proper use of the system.  If you don’t believe it, just imagine this: After starting a contest, all your salespeople start taking notes on pertinent records, converting Leads to Potentials, and completing tasks in the CRM… It might sound like a pipe dream, but with Gamescope for the CRM, all you have to provide is the incentive; the CRM takes care of the contest itself (and provides fun, encouraging notes to users who complete enough CRM tasks even if you don’t provide a prize to the daily victor).

5. See all dashboards in the mobile CRM app!

zoho crm features

Any mobile CRM app is a great idea: All sorts of working people benefit from accessing their database on the go, whether it’s technicians out in the field or executives looking to stay abreast of current happenings from outside the office.  But, from the Zoho CRM mobile app it wasn’t always possible to see all your custom reports dashboards in one place… And, now it is.  So, rather than have to thumb (or finger) through pages of data from a smaller screen, you can just do the same thing you’d do in the office – look at your beautiful reports and know at a glance how your business is running.

But, wait… There’s more!

zoho crm features

Zoho, the overachieving developers they are, have done much more than this in the new Zoho CRM design, so for a full breakdown I recommend taking a glance at the article Zoho put out on the subject.  Or, better still, if you aren’t using Zoho yet, sign up for a free trial.

Introducing Gamescope for Zoho Projects

zoho gamescope

These days especially, we live in a society of instant gratification.  The examples of this sort of culture are everywhere: paying for goods on credit because it’s faster and easier than cash, watching hours of videos instead of thumbing through bulky books, racing to the hobby shop to get the newest gadget ahead of your friends… But, rather than decry this movement like the majority of these kinds of articles, I’m here to endorse it.  For business, it really works.

Zoho is well aware of this and wants to help spread that idea.  And, to that end, they’ve decided to add a little gratification to your tedious days behind a computer completing tasks in Zoho Projects in the form of Gamescope.

zoho gamescope

The idea is this: the payoff that comes with completing a task is great, but some things simply can’t fall into the instant gratification bucket.  Things like taking care of customer support tickets, resolving bugs, prioritizing your list of tasks, and the like.  All tedious stuff!  So, how do you make it fun to do?

By making it into a contest, of course!

[caption id="attachment_1833" align="alignnone" width="635"]zoho gamescope chess Like this, only faster-paced and with a better plotline.[/caption]

Much like Zoho Motivator, Gamescope allows users to create contests out of normal workday scenarios, making the mundane not only more palatable, but even fun for you and your staff.  Whereas Motivator focuses on sales goals, Gamescope expands the playing field to engineers and other taskmasters, allowing for time-based awards (how quickly did you get through 5 tasks or solve 5 bugs?), activity-based awards (how many tasks did you complete today?  This week?), and even company-wide user profiles complete with badges, perfect for gloating about achievements with teammates.  I mean, coworkers.

Based on the kind of work you do, the number and types of games you can set in Gamescope is extensive, and employees don’t have to partake – although, as a team leader, I’m sure you can think of a good prize to go with the virtual badges (team members with the most badges gets free lunch!), or a good punishment for the day’s loser (maybe he has to buy pizza for the whole team!).  Hell, I’d even be okay with losing once in a while if pizza were part of the punishment.

Here are a list of the trophies available with Gamescope:

zoho gamescope trophies

So, we see that there are respective trophies for task-masters and for bug-solvers.  Gamescope trophies are awarded for each time a team member does a number of different actions, such as add a task or bug, resolve a task or bug, re-open a task or bug…etc.  Everything can be scored, essentially, and games can be won based on total points or number of a certain type of trophy.  Of course, the Projects administrator can set the number of points available for each trophy, or whether a given trophy is turned on or off for a certain day – great for getting the team to focus on certain objectives and not others.

Along with trophies, team members can earn badges:

zoho gamescope badges

Badges are earned by completing broader, less immediate tasks (completing 10 tasks in a day, for example).  As team members earn these over longer periods of time, adding these up is great for determining the winner of a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly contest.  And, as with trophies, your administrator can turn badges on or off, or set the requirements for each Gamescope badge.

Custom badges are also available, and you can base awarding those on custom requirements, of course.

So, why use Gamescope?

Well, if the prospect of pizza wasn’t enough, I don’t know what’s going to sway you, but, here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Increase office morale.  Even if you like your coworkers, nothing’s worse than coming in to the same battery of assignments or tickets day-in and day-out.  Adding the prospect of a reward for achievement to the mix with Gamescope will get people excited to do the tasks they once thought menial because of the potential payoff at the end of the road.
  • Increase camaraderie or competition – and fun.  Enjoying coming in to work is one thing; pitting your employees against each other (in good fun, of course) is another entirely!  With Gamescope, you can add an entire dimension of competition to your workplace by giving prizes only to the top daily or weekly task- or bug-closer.  (Scarcity makes us want prizes even more.)  Or, pit the taskmasters against the bugcatchers and see who comes out on top!
  • Increase productivity.  This should go without saying.  Adding a spirit of competition and fun to the workday at your office will make people want to do the tasks they’re supposed to do, whether it’s because they get to face off against their friends, help each other towards a common goal, or just earn a merit-based prize because they completed a number of tasks.  Either way, you win.
  • Increase correct Zoho Projects usage.  Often you’ll see that tasks are carried out and customers seem happy enough, but when you run the numbers they look absolutely terrible.  This can usually just be attributed to bad record keeping, but when your record keepers are your staff, it can be hard to get them to adopt your method of tracking things.  Rewarding your staff in Gamescope for doing things the way you want them to be done – assuming you like when tasks are completed and bugs are resolved, which is what Zoho Projects was meant to track – is a great way to increase correct Zoho Projects usage.

Time to get gaming!

In summary, if your engineers or project managers aren’t using Zoho Projects, go ahead and start!  It’s a great way to organize and prioritize tasks and keep everyone on the same page.  And now, with Gamescope for Zoho Projects, you have another way to keep your team members engaged and on task (in Zoho Projects and at work in general).

[caption id="attachment_1835" align="alignnone" width="1028"]zoho gamescope Already more engaged than my teammates.[/caption]

Zoho says they plan to roll Gamescope out in a few more of their apps in the future.  I’m thinking Zoho Support, SalesIQ, or even Zoho CRM in general would be good candidates, but we’ll see what they end up doing.

With that in mind, if you need help with Zoho Projects or want to know more about Gamescope, give us a call (888) 207-4111.  Or, just contact us and we’ll get back to you.