About Hari Narayanan

Hari is a Marketer at Zoho Projects. He explores apps, trends and technology in the Project Management space.

Launching Document Management for Zoho Projects powered by Zoho Docs

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The Documents module in Zoho Projects just got a big boost. You can now create rich documents, spreadsheets and presentations right here and work on them collaboratively with your team. This update powered by Zoho Docs lets you do a lot more and here are some of the benefits.

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Bring your team closer together

Here is a trend we see more and more when it comes to projects that are creative in nature: the best work gets done not through individual efforts, but by a group of people, collaboratively refining, reimagining and reinventing ideas. All the apps in the Docs suite come with several features that let such collaboration happen naturally. First and foremost, all these documents can be co-created; i.e. more than one person can work on them at the same time. You can chat with all the collaborators as you go, right within the document window. Getting feedback is easy; each letter in your text documents and each cell in your spreadsheets can be commented on. An inbuilt versioning system lets you view the changes a document has gone through, and if needed revert to an older version. Read more

The Ten Terrific Tweaks of Zoho Projects 5!

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A couple of weeks ago, we announced, the new Zoho Projects 5 with Five Fabulous Features.​ By now you know we wouldn’t have stopped with just that. Allow us to present the Ten Terrific Tweaks of Zoho Projects 5!

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allinone-search1. All In One Search

You can now search users, projects and their contents in one place. The results come neatly organized in separate sections.

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arrow-planned-hours2. Arrows showing Planned vs Logged Hours

In the tasks view, we’ve added a column that just shows an arrow next to each task. A green arrow pointing downwards here indicates that the logged work hours so far, is less than the planned work hours. However, a red up arrow indicates that the logged hours have overshot the planned hours. Scanning through this column gives you a quick overview of how well your team is able to stick to plan.  Read more

Zoho Projects 5 is Here and Five Fabulous Reasons to Love It!

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2015 will be the year for Zoho Projects. That’s no idle boast, for it’s still January and we’re
already announcing Zoho Projects 5!
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1. An Intuitive New User Interface: The new UI is faster, more appealing and with a full-screen design that makes the best use of your display. But we didn’t stop there. We improved convenience and organization at the same time.
  • Most recently accessed projects are displayed on the top bar, letting you switch easily.

  • New project customization tab shows up on the right panel, providing context as you make changes.

  • Gantt charts and other reports are now grouped together.

There’s more here for you to explore and discover!

Read more

Bridge the Gap Between Your Sales and Execution Teams

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In many organizations, post-sales and follow-up teams that work closely to get their clients started up have little idea how their projects are progressing. This is often a result of an unintended hand-off — whereby post-sales activities are tracked, separatelythrough a project management system, with a different set of players from the CRM system that was used to track the deal. Consequently, internal teams work with partial information and are often caught by surprise, compromising their customer’s first experience. Not any more.

Zoho CRM addresses this problem by letting you plan and execute projects within your CRM software. We do this by integrating Zoho Projects, our advanced project management system, directly into Zoho CRM. Now you can contextually view and manage project information right from the Accounts, Contacts and Potentials tabs of your CRM.  This gives you the power to manage the entire customer life cycle — from lead generation to project execution — in one place!

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Rodriguez Consulting is a New York civil engineering and land surveying firm that takes advantage of project management within CRM. CEO Lou Rodriguez explains their process.

“After an opportunity is won, our sales executives create a new project for the deal within Zoho CRM”, he says.  “A project manager is notified of this new project and it is his or her job to manage the project, set up a time line, and assign tasks to employees. Tasks are added directly to employee calendars and our firm uses Google Apps for document management.

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Lou feels this has helped them consolidate their work, improve visibility, and save time.

“Zoho Projects has allowed us to replace whiteboards, Excel spreadsheets, and Microsoft Project files with one single enterprise solution that our entire team can depend on,” says Lou. “Managers get a dashboard view of everything we’re working on and this saves time spent searching through hard copies and online folders. Zoho Projects working inside Zoho CRM has allowed us to seamlessly integrate opportunities.”

Zoho Projects is available in the Professional and Enterprise editions of Zoho CRM, at no extra cost. Visit this page for a detailed walk-through of how CRM and project management go hand-in-hand to streamline your business and help you serve customers better.

Basecamp users, BUMPing is now easier than ever!

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Ever since we launched BUMP, our Basecamp User Migration Program, organizations by the hundreds have been migrating to Zoho Projects. Why are they doing that? With Basecamp, you only get the basics covered like sharing files, assigning tasks and checking due dates. Zoho Projects is an advanced project management system with milestones, Gantt charts, dependencies, sub tasks, document management, advanced reporting, issue tracking and a lot more.

And you don’t pitch camp, when the doors of a palace are open before you!

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The Secret of Effective Project Management

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Let me get straight to the point. The Secret of Effective Project Management is finding the right balance between managing too little and managing too much. And in order to understand how to walk this elusive middle path, let us first take a look at the extremes.

In a quest to give their team a free hand and keep things moving fast, some managers end up taking an over simplified approach. When they do this, they lose track of important aspects of work. When their team would want their guidance, they wouldn’t know it and hence would not be available to them. As a result, the team would end up heading in a different direction from the one they want to steer it in. On the other hand, other managers wanting to stay in charge make their processes too sophisticated. They fill their work places with rules, regulations and policies. A large part of the workday is spent logging what is done, getting permissions and just adhering to protocol. And all this makes the team’s progress a lot slower than what it can be.

Let us examine this phenomenon with an example. Say a manager needs to work with a team of designers to create a new website for his company. An over-simplifying manager gives the team an idea of what he wants, agrees on a deadline and disappears till then. He believes, he has given his designers a lot of freedom. But when the work is done, he realizes many things don’t fall in place. He wants to project his business as long-serving, stable and trustworthy and the heavy use of fire-engine-red and sporty fonts don’t really reinforce that.  He realizes with much despair that the site needs lots of rework and this is good news to nobody.

The manager who overdoes things, creates a detailed specs document that specifies permitted image and font sizes, graphics to text ratio, page sizes and a long list of dos and don’ts. She wants the team to log the time spent on each file they create and also send her daily reports on progress. And the team feels it would be easier to write a program that parses through these specs and dumps a matching template than create one themselves! Read more