Zoho Sprints Is Project Management Gone Agile

Technology PCmag

Zoho Sprints, a new project management (PM) solution designed with agile software development in mind, is now generally available. Zoho Sprints, which is based off the "Agile Manifesto," a 2001 document that set the foundation for how future software tools would be developed, is meant to help teams tackle projects in the micro.

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Unlike Zoho Projects , our Editors' Choice in the PM category, Zoho Sprints applies the Agile Manifesto's PM approach to planning and execution. Projects are broken down into four stages: Backlog, Plan, Iteration, and Product Update. Each stage is intended to take weeks rather than months or years. The initially established plan is meant to change as the situation warrants.

Conversely, Zoho Projects is built for companies and teams that have somewhat standardized approaches to projects. Construction firms, design teams: Zoho Projects offers them a tool to monitor and track projects that are similar to hundreds of other projects. With Zoho Sprints, Zoho is hoping to provide a solution for teams that are venturing into the project unknown.

"We'll be offering two separate products," said Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist at Zoho. "There is project management and there is agile-based project management. The process for agile-based project management is different. Not every company and not every team uses agile, which is primarily used among development teams as opposed to construction or design teams. Agile-based project management is a very specific vertical and [Zoho] Sprints is specifically targeted for that market."

The Zoho Sprints Software

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Within Zoho Sprints, you'll find tabs for backlogs, reports, collaboration options, and customizable Scrum boards. Within the Backlog tab, users will be able to posts stories, tasks, and label bugsā€”all of which can be prioritized in to-do lists. The stories created run alongside estimation points for when the project will be completed, a priority rating for when it should be started in comparison to other projects, and user assignments so that managers can hand off tasks.

The Scrum tab is designed to let teams how much progress has been made on particular tasks. Companies are allowed to customize work statuses to fit the particular ways in which their business runs. The Zoho Sprints Meetings module lets you post project reviews and updates. Teams can also use Zoho Sprints Feeds for a more social post-and-comment approach to meetings.

Like most other PM tools, Zoho Sprints is chock full of dashboards and analytics for project managers. Zoho Sprints gives users access to Velocity Charts, Burn-Down reports, and Cumulative Flow Diagrams. These charts, reports, and diagrams are all are boiled down into the main Zoho Sprints Dashboard. This is where you'll be able to see an overarching view of everything that's happening within your project or group of projects. Zoho Sprints users can log and approve billable and non-billable hours within the Timesheet module.

What Happens to Zoho Projects?

Zoho Projects (which begins at $25 per month for the Express plan) is our perennial leader in the field of PM software because it offers a free level of service, an ample number of add-on tools and services, and an easy-to-use, modern-looking user interface (UI). Zoho Projects has advanced features such as Zoho live chat built right into the workspace. Similar to Slack and Zoho Cliq, Zoho Projects' chat is included in the tool where your staff is already working.

"Zoho Projects will continue to be sold as a standalone product," said Vegesna. "It's unlikely companies would use both. Agile uses mini-sprints in terms of implementing tasks. Typical project management tools, such as Zoho Projects, are based on longer projects and milestones that are longer than sprints."

"With construction, you know what to do. You've done enough of those projects. Now it's just about execution," he continued. "Zoho Projects works well for that. But, if you're in a situation where you can't plan long enough and things change frequently, like software development, then agile is a good approach because you're breaking it up into smaller consumable chunks."

Zoho Sprints is available immediately in free and paid plans for desktop as well as Android and iOS devices. The free plan supports up to five users and five projects. The paid plans start at $20 for 20 users per month and support an unlimited number of projects. Zoho Sprints is included in Zoho One, Zoho's all-in-one, 35-app ecosystem.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.