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Zoho Projects Implementation and Zoho Training Thailand

A leading software development company, based throughout the SE Asia region in Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore, needed a system to manage various types of projects across the SE Asia region which provided a collaboration platform for teams, management and clients.

The Problem

As the business grew and as projects got larger and more complex, manual project management and tracking systems became less able to manage the projects on a real time basis and also made it difficult if not impossible for people to collaborate in real time, schedule tasks, track work time, communicate and discuss project matters, upload documents and so on.

Also, Project Managers needed a way to accurately track how long the projects were really taking, so that this could be cross referenced for sales strategies and changes to scope; something which was also very difficult to do when using manual project tracking methods.

Finally, scope creep or scope 'loss' was also an issue, as communications were typically done via email and phone, which meant that scope detail was lost in communications between the client, the PM and the team.

The Solution

We implemented Zoho Projects, the online project management tool from Zoho.

This allowed the team managers to create project templates, no longer having to create detailed schedules from scratch; Zoho Projects templates allow you not only create the milestones and tasks and thus schedules for various types of projects, but also the forum categories for discussing project topics online, documents categories and even preloaded documents for the projects, eg. user guides, kick off materials and so on. And also customisation of the Bug Tracker module to match that specific project type, including field names and workflow. This saved the Project Manager a lot of time and now, with a few clicks, they are able to create a project for a new client.

Also, as the team are already heavy users of Zoho CRM, they made use of the Zoho CRM - Zoho Projects integration functions, which allowed them to either link up an existing project to an opportunity in their CRM, or to create a new project from a closed won sale within the CRM. All of which gives sales and Project Managers alike, a 360 degree view of the sales lifecycle and resulting project.

The teams are now able to communicate across territories in real time via the real time commenting functions on the Tasks within the project. This boosts communications within the team and between team members and the Project Manager. And, by using the free mobile edition of Zoho Projects, they can do this from their mobile devices.

In addition, as the Project Manager needed to be able to track work times, the teams made use of the timer tool, which allows task owners to time the tasks they work on, either in real time, or at the end of the day or end of the week.

Finally, but importantly, as our Zoho consultants are from process and project management backgrounds themselves, CRM Asia Solutions delivered a detailed and structured Zoho Projects training syllabus to the Project Managers and to the Team Members that not only covered the functions of the online project management tool, but also the 'why?', concepts of project management and basic project management methodologies. This enabled the attendees to understand the 'big picture' and to see the benefits of using a web based project management solution such as Zoho Projects.

The Results

Project Managers are now able to create project milestones, tasks and schedules very quickly and task owners can track the exact times spent on the project tasks. Project Managers can get timesheet reports via neat reporting to excel functionality. This has provided the means for them to learn exactly how long tasks take, and thus gain more knowledge of how much effort is required for the various types of projects they carry out.

In addition, the teams now discuss tasks online in one portal, one location, meaning conversation threads are centralised and easy to refer to and as a result scope loss has been reduced. Change requests are logged and discussed in the project forums, again reducing the issues related to loss of information.  Project deliverables such as prototype designs and so on is now uploaded to the project documents module and discussed online in the forums.   

In summary, whist it is important to understand that a project management solution is only as good as the people who are using it, Zoho Projects has enabled the Inetasia team to communicate and collaborate, to track and gain knowledge on their project management and project delivery strategies and to become more efficient in their delivery of the project to their customers.

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