Asana vs Zoho Projects: 2024 Comparison

Asana and Zoho Projects are two of the most popular project management tools available today.

But how do they stack up against each other?

Which one manages tasks better?
Which one helps you allocate resources more effectively?
Which one is more affordable?

Discover all the answers in our detailed comparison guide.

A. Project and Task Management

Get. Things. Done. 

You and every project manager likely live by those words.

It’s also the heart and soul of any project management software. 

This is why, before anything else, you must evaluate a tool’s ability to help you manage your tasks and projects.

Features to look out for:

  • Project structure: A simple, intuitive way to organize work and toggle through multiple projects, tasks, boards, etc. 
  • Views: Board, list, timeline, Gantt, and other types of views that let you visualize various types of information within each project.
  • Tasks & subtasks: Dedicated spaces offering the ability to drill down to the smallest level of actionable detail about each project item. 
  • Statuses: Effortless ways to communicate the exact progress of each task, board, project, etc.
  • Checklists: Quick to-do lists for each task so things don’t fall through the cracks 
  • Task templates: Easy-to-copy templates to create identical tasks at scale across multiple projects. 
  • Assignees: The ability to assign tasks, boards, or projects to individual team members, groups, or even teams. 
  • Priorities: A way to communicate the urgency level of each task, subtask, or project. 
  • Automations: Trigger-based (if X happens then do Y); ways to automate repetitive actions such as notifications, comments, status updates, etc.

1. Project Structure / Hierarchy

a. Asana

Split your Asana workspace into individual Tasks, Projects, and Portfolios leading up to high-level Goals.

Goals > Portfolios > Projects > Tasks > Subtasks 

  • Goals: High-level targets for the team to work towards.
  • Portfolios: Containers for similar-themed Tasks and Projects. 
  • Projects: Divide your work into specific projects to indicate specific initiatives and objectives. 
  • Tasks: Individual actionable items within projects with due dates that can be assigned to specific team members. 
  • Subtasks: Smaller actions within individual tasks.

b. Zoho Projects

Transform your workspace with the help of a simple, user-friendly project hierarchy. 

Portal > Project groups > Projects > Milestones > Tasks > Sub-tasks

  • Portal: A centralized hub to manage projects, track progress, and communicate with team members.
  • Project groups: Organize multiple projects into a single project group for easy access.
  • Projects: A collection of milestones and tasks to achieve a specific objective.
  • Milestones: Short-term goals that let you break down projects and represent a key stage of progress.
  • Tasks: Actionable items that help achieve milestones and the project’s objectives.
  • Subtasks: Granular action items within each task.

Zoho_Projects_Project_Structure

 

2. Views

a. Asana

Asana offers six handy ways to visualize your projects and tasks:

  • Kanban board: Organize your work like sticky notes on a board. You can track progress through different stages with this view. 
  • List: Presents your work as a to-do list, capturing every task in a project or process in one place.
  • Timeline: Maps out project plans on a timeline to show the relationship between tasks and keep work on track. 
  • Calendar: Provides a calendar view of work to spot scheduling conflicts and overlaps. 
  • Gantt chart: Offers a bird’s-eye view of projects, schedules, and dependencies.
  • Files: Shows you all the images, documents, and files attached to tasks in a project.

b. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offer several views for managing tasks and tracking progress:

  • Work Overview: Displays a comprehensive view of all tasks, projects, and milestones across a portal.
  • Project List: Presents a quick view of completion rates, task statuses, budget details, and more of all the projects.
  • Task List: A list view of all tasks, with columns displaying information such as task name, assignee, due date, and status. 
  • Issue List: Displays a vertical view of all issues, including their project, classification, status, severity, due dates, and more. 
  • Project Gantt: Showcases project and task timelines, schedules, and progress. You can view the projects on the right side and schedule information on the left.
  • Custom: Use filters to select specific criteria and customize your project, task, and issue views.
  • Kanban: Organize cards (tasks and issues) in columns to indicate statuses, priority, and modules. Click on the cards to view comments, files, and other relevant information.
  • Chronology Gantt: Visual representation of the timeline and the relationship between tasks to help manage task dependencies and overlaps.
  • Milestone Gantt: Get a hierarchy-based view of all the tasks that fall under a particular milestone, along with the due dates, overdue tasks, and other task details.
  • Calendar: A calendar-like display of your project, task, milestone, and issue deadlines on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Zoho_Projects_Views

3. Tasks & Subtasks

a. Asana

Set up tasks with clear ownership of different to-do’s and actionable steps in a project. 

Tasks can provide information on:

  • Assignees and collaborators
  • Task Description for details or instructions
  • Start and Due Dates
  • Attachments
  • Task Dependencies
  • Custom Fields for Labels

Break tasks up into smaller subtasks to divide the work among a team.

b. Zoho Projects

A task in Zoho Projects helps manage simple and complex projects by breaking them down into actionable items. 

Tasks provide information on: 

  • Task descriptions
  • Assignees
  • Tags 
  • Due Dates and Time Estimates
  • Checklists
  • Attachments
  • Comments

Zoho_Projects_Tasks_Subtasks

4. Statuses

a. Asana

Use the Overview tab in the project to get a complete picture of the project’s current status: On Track, At Risk, Off Track, or Complete.

At the Project or Portfolio level, use the Custom Fields options to set various progress stages or any other field you need to communicate about. Then, you can select the relevant option to update a Task’s status.

b. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offer statuses to help users track the progress of projects, tasks, and issues. 

Create custom task statuses that suit your project workflow under the ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ categories.

Milestones in Zoho Projects have their own status categories like Active, Completed, and Archived.

When you complete all the tasks under a milestone, the tool automatically updates its status. Similarly, following a milestone status update, project status can also be updated automatically through custom functions.

Zoho_Projects_Statuses

5. Checklists

a. Asana

Asana doesn’t offer the functionality to add checklists to your tasks. 

b. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects doesn’t offer native checklist features.

6. Task Templates

a. Asana

Create repeatable workflows via task templates that let you automatically set details like:

  • Task type
  • Task title
  • Assignee
  • Project
  • Due date
  • Dependencies
  • Tags
  • Attachments

You can create a task template by converting an existing task into a template. 

Note: This closes the current task.

b. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers ready-made task templates. Even better, you can make your own custom template to perfectly suit your project.  

Each template can retain information, such as:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Checklists
  • Tags
  • Assignees
  • Priority
  • Attachments
  • And more

Zoho_Projects_Task_Templates

7. Assignees

a. Asana

You can assign tasks only to one person at a time. However, you can add multiple collaborators who can view and edit the task alongside the assignee.

b. Zoho Projects

Assign projects, milestones, tasks, and issues to individuals and teams in Zoho Projects.

8. Priorities

a. Asana

Asana

Add a custom field for priority levels on your project. Set low, medium, and high priority levels for each task.

b. Zoho Projects

With Zoho Projects, you can set tasks to None, Low, Medium, or High Priority levels. Plus, use different colors to represent priority levels.

9. Automations

a. Asana

Streamline your project workflows with Asana’s rules and other automations.

  • Rules: Set up automation rules to perform an action based on a trigger — E.g., When you create a task within a certain project, automatically assign it to the project’s manager.
  • Bundles: Create Bundles of fields, sections, rules, and task templates and apply them to multiple projects at once.
  • Form automations: Create forms and automate actions based on form responses.

b. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects’ automation features include: 

  • Blueprint: Design workflows and automate routine tasks, like setting task statuses, creating custom task fields, and adding assignees.
  • Workflow rules: Use conditions to auto assign tasks, update fields, send alerts, and add webhooks.
  • Custom functions: Reassign issues, notify stakeholders via SMS, or send client updates automatically through custom rules and conditions. 
  • Webhooks: Automate HTTP push alerts from Zoho Projects to third-party applications.
  • Business rules: Use conditions to automate issue management processes, like assigning issues to a user and changing issue severity.

Zoho_Projects_Automations

B. Time Management

Time is money for a reason. 

The right software can be the difference between pinching pennies and raking in the big bucks.

Effective project management software offers effortless time management features to help you befriend the clock. 

With the right one, expect to keep all your tasks running as scheduled and meet your deadlines with ease. 

Features to look out for include:

  • Due dates: Communicate expected delivery dates.  
  • Time estimates: Make capacity decisions based on how much time each task or project is expected to take. 
  • Time tracking: Measure productivity with accurate time consumption data for each team member. 

1. Due Dates

a. Asana

You can set custom due dates as a feature in project templates in Asana. 

b. Zoho Projects

Add due dates to milestones, tasks, and subtasks. The tool also lets you set due dates directly from the list views and dashboards.

2. Time Estimates

a. Asana

Use time estimates to set a projected time and compare it with the actual time spent on a task. The field is only available after enabling the native time-tracking feature.

b. Zoho Projects

Time estimates are called Work Hours or Planned Hours in Zoho Projects.

Add Work Hours to indicate how long a task should ideally take. You can use the Planned vs Actual charts to assess the actual time taken, helping you measure and improve productivity.

3. Time Tracking

a. Asana

Asana’s embedded time tracker allows you to measure exactly how long work takes by monitoring screen activity. 

Using the embedded time tracker, you can also: 

  • Manually track the time spent on tasks.
  • Stop the timer and come back to the task later.
  • Open a detailed log to see who tracked time for a task and when.

b. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers time-tracking features for users to record time spent on different tasks, generate invoices, and bill clients. 

You can either log in time manually using timesheets or start task timers to record hours automatically.

C. Reporting

What you can’t measure, you can’t improve. 

Reporting and analytics features can help you track real-time progress, monitor key metrics, and sniff out bottlenecks like a detective.  

Armed with these insights, your team can stay ahead of the curve no matter the situation. 

Expect better resource management, superior deadline compliance, and a more focused and decisive team.

Features to look out for include:

  • Goals and milestones: Record targets for the whole team to see and work towards.
  • Dashboards: Visualize data from all corners of the team into a user-friendly, interactive interface.
  • Gantt charts: Keep your plans flexible with Gantt charts that allow you to adjust timelines based on changing resource availability and task completion ratio. 

1. Goals & Milestones

a. Asana

In terms of goal-setting, Asana enables you to:

  • Create company-wide and team-specific Goals
  • Set milestones for tasks.
  • Access activity history of goal interactions
  • Filter to see Open, Closed, or All goals
  • Categorize goals as objectives, key results, or individual goals

b. Zoho Projects

Milestones in Zoho Projects are goal-based targets consisting of task lists and tasks. Completing these should take you closer to the project objective and help assess the overall project progress.

Additionally, you can duplicate milestones from one project to another and automate them through blueprints.

2. Dashboards

a. Asana

Asana Dashboards provide quick access to crucial project progress and task completion data​​.

Share them with your team members and customize these Dashboards with the following types of charts:

  • Column
  • Donut
  • Assignee
  • Burn, and 
  • Line charts

b. Zoho Projects

The Zoho Projects dashboard is composed of different widgets, such as Task Progress Chart, Timesheet Summary, Team Status, and more. It lets you view:

  • Progress of work items
  • Performance indicators
  • Reports and summary charts
  • Pipeline work item indicators

Zoho_Projects_Dashboards

3. Gantt Charts

a. Asana

Asana’s Gantt view allows you to:

  • Filter by task status (All, Complete, Incomplete)
  • Sort by period (Day, week, month, quarter, half-year, year)
  • Select multiple tasks and set dependencies.
  • Map chart colors to custom fields (E.g., teams or task statuses)
  • Mark a moment in your project progress as a baseline to compare against future progress.

b. Zoho Projects

Along with a Global Project Timeline Gantt, Zoho Projects provides two Gantt chart types: 

  • Chronological Gantt: View tasks by order of occurrence
  • Milestone Gantt: View tasks by order of Milestones

With Zoho Projects Gantt charts, you can:

  • Create Gantt charts that support four types of task dependencies Finish to Start, Start to Start, Start to Finish, and Finish to Finish.
  • Add new tasks and details like task description, owner, and due dates.
  • View and edit important task information, such as the owner, progress percentage, start and end dates, and a list of all predecessors and successors.
  • Share Gantt charts via email or export them in PDF files.

D. User Management

Software, features, and other tech things aside, the real heroes of any project are your team members. So make sure to pick the kind of project management software that puts them front and center!

How do you do this?

Look for software that knows what different team members need and helps you deliver the right experience. 

Features to look out for include:

  • User groups: Create internal teams representing various departments, functions, or projects. 
  • Permission levels: Grant different access levels depending on the users’ information requirements and the company’s security concerns. 
  • Guest users: Invite team members from other companies/teams to collaborate with your team without compromising on confidential data. 

1. User Groups

a. Asana

Add a group of users to a team that can collaborate on specific tasks and projects. 

Teams can be public (anyone in the organization can join), private (by invite only), or membership by request (team members can request to join). 

Adjust the privacy settings for each team and change access levels for individual members within it. 

A team can have shared access to all projects, permission settings, invitations, messages, calendars, and more.

b. Zoho Projects

User groups in Zoho Projects allow you to group portal users into different teams for better project resource management. 

Create a user group under a team and add them as followers to tasks or issues. You can assign a team lead, associate teams to projects, and @mention them in comments. 

Plus, manage team communications through a single email alias to notify multiple team members together about project updates.

2. Permission Levels

a. Asana

Make projects or tasks private by restricting commenting and editing access. This way, you can secure your conversations. 

You can also hide projects or tasks so only people added to or mentioned in them can comment or edit.

b. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers three levels of profile permissions: 

  • Portal Level: Applies only to project users. You can’t assign portal-level permissions to client profile users.
  • Project Level:  Applies to user profile and client profile users. Client profile users can access just forums, pages, and events.
  • Module Level: Applies to both user and client profiles. It offers various permission categories:
    • View
    • Add 
    • Edit
    • Delete
    • Reorder

The module level permission categories can change depending on milestones, task lists, tasks, issues, and timesheets. For example, a task list has a reorder permission category, while a milestone doesn’t.

3. Guest Users

a. Asana

Collaborate with external users (such as clients and vendors) by creating a guest profile. Share limited access to projects and tasks with them for transparency without letting them in on internal communications.

b. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers just read-only access to guest users. 

Read-only access users cannot add, edit, or delete any entities in Zoho Projects. You can assign them to tasks, issues, and milestones with view permissions.

E. Collaboration

In project management, collaboration and communication are like a ballroom dance — if everyone isn’t in sync, you’re just stepping on each other’s toes!

A project manager should encourage their team to be on the same page regarding everything happening on the project. This could involve regular meetings, periodic status updates, shared checklists, etc. 

But things can get tricky when you add different team structures (remote, hybrid, distributed, etc.). 

The trick is to balance ‘informing everyone’ with ‘over-communicating.’ 

The solution is to forge a shared space where the whole team can contribute without hampering individual productivity. Picking a suitable project management software is the first step toward achieving this goal. 

Features to look for include: 

  • Comments: Simple ways to send feedback or discuss a task or project. 
  • Threads: Keep all relevant comments in a single thread. 
  • Tagging/@mention: Mention a team member on a task, in comments, or in any shared space to notify them. 
  • Sharing tasks: Share tasks with relevant team members for efficient collaboration.
  • File management: Attach and store files, create and annotate documents, etc., for ready access to project documentation. 
  • Notifications: Customize how team members receive notifications.

1. Comments, Threads, & Tagging

a. Asana

Add a comment to any task to mention team members or share thoughts, questions, and feedback. Make your comments informative with the help of emojis, links, and rich text formatting.

b. Zoho Projects

In Zoho Projects, users with comment access can add comments and @mention to tag members in project documents and tasks.

Additionally, you can hide comments from clients by marking them as internal comments.

2. File Management

a. Asana

Attach files to tasks or comments to provide more information to collaborators. 

Get a quick glimpse of all files attached to various tasks with the File view. 

Comment on images, PDFs, GIFs, and BMP files.

b. Zoho Projects

Attach documents and images to projects, tasks, and comments for real-time collaboration and task management in Zoho Projects. 

To start discussions on the attached documents, just click the ‘Add Comments’ field on the right side of the file name.

3. Notifications

a. Asana

Choose which project members get notified when you add tasks, publish status updates, or send messages to avoid cluttering everyone’s inboxes. Schedule notifications to send due date reminders to keep things on track. 

Adjust your settings to change what notifications you receive on email, browser, or on the platform.

b. Zoho Projects

View all Zoho Projects notifications on a single page. You can also select the projects for which you want to get notifications. 

Plus, set up email alerts to automatically notify users about certain actions, like changing a task’s status.

Zoho_Projects_Notifications

F. Customer Support

Individual users in smaller teams often face a steep learning curve with most project management software. 

In their case, having access to responsive support executives and a wealth of helpful resources can make a significant difference, turning a frustrating experience into a positive one.

However, customer support is just as crucial for larger teams. 

Even if these teams initially received thorough onboarding and training, their needs and use cases tend to evolve over time. Continuous and adaptable customer support becomes essential to address these changing needs effectively.

With adequate customer support, you can:

  • Derive maximum value from the app with the help of professional guidance whenever required
  • Ensure your team is making full use of all the features you’re paying for
  • Learn from case studies of other teams using the same software
  • Expand your use cases with time
  • Learn about the features your team uses the most and avoid spending on those you don’t need
  • Solve minor issues on your end by going through help resources
  • Get hands-on support when you get stuck
  • Keep a record of all your complaints and feedback for the platform to aid future buying decisions
  • Send feedback to the app’s developers so they can design the features you most desire

Features to look for include: 

  • Detailed knowledge bases and documentation to aid DIY solutions to common issues
  • Case studies, templates, guides, and other resources
  • Easy access to resources for all types of users — free or paid
  • Async support executives to cover for the time difference
  • Live agents who can respond via chat or phone 
  • Screenshots and recordings to display how the tool works
  • Translations to resources in other languages, if needed

Asana

  • Asana Help: Step-by-step guides on specific features
  • Asana Forum: Insights from a community of Asana users and experts 
  • Asana Developer’s Guide: Guide to how you can customize your Asana experience with the help of their API
  • Asana Guide: Tips, tricks, and advice to get the most from Asana
  • Asana Academy: Interactive courses and webinars to learn Asana
  • Customer support: Email, Help Desk, Chat

Zoho Projects

  • Knowledge Base: Information about features and its usage
  • FAQs: Answers to questions about the tool
  • Projects Community: A community of Zoho Projects users
  • Video resources: Interactive Zoho Projects tutorials
  • Customer support: Email, live chats, and phone

G. Platforms Supported

Distributed and field teams might not always be armed with laptops or computers. 

But that doesn’t mean productivity has to stop.

With a mobile-friendly project management tool, the workflow keeps humming along, turning those smartphones into mighty workflow tools.

More reason to look into this?

If your company follows a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, your team members need the freedom to switch between various devices. 

With support for all types of apps, you can:

  • Ensure uniform access irrespective of device type
  • Save on the cost of buying the same types of devices for the whole team
  • Give all team members a chance to log work from anywhere, anytime

Features to look for include: 

  • App support for the latest Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android versions.
  • Maximum coverage for all key features across devices

Asana

  • Browser: Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Desktop: Mac, Windows (64-bit), Windows (32-bit)
  • Mobile: iOS, Android

Zoho Projects

  • Browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge
  • Desktop: None
  • Mobile: iOS, Android

H. Pricing

Whether you have deep pockets or shoestring budgets, there’s project management software out there for every kind of organization. 

But the confusing combination of features and numbers on pricing pages can make it difficult to choose. 

Here are some easy tips for starters.

If you plan on buying the software subscription for just yourself or a small team that’s not likely to grow rapidly anytime soon — stick to the free plan as long as possible. Or pick the cheapest monthly subscription possible. These should cover most of your feature requirements comfortably in most cases. 

However, if you expect to hire rapidly and grow to a sizable number, go for a plan that grows with you — ideally with a per-user rate that doesn’t add up exponentially. 

Finally, most software offers flexible enterprise plans that let you cherry-pick your favorite features into a custom package. If you’re part of such a team, it’s best to contact the sales team and get the best deal possible. 

Asana Pricing

Asana’s pricing structure is as follows:

  • Personal (Free): Up to 10 users, three views
  • Starter ($13.49/user/month): Everything in free plus up to 500 users, all views, 250 automations a month
  • Advanced ($30.49/user/month): Everything in Starter plus 25,000 automations, goals, approvals, native time tracking
  • Enterprise (Contact sales for pricing): Everything in Advanced plus unlimited users, Asana Intelligence, Unlimited views, service accounts
  • Enterprise+ (Contact sales for pricing): Everything in Enterprise plus audit logs, and data loss prevention, eDiscovery, and archiving integrations

Zoho Projects Pricing

Zoho Projects offers the following pricing plans:

  • Free: Upto 3 members, 2 projects, 5GB storage 
  • Premium ($5/user/month): Unlimited projects, 20 project templates, 100GB of storage space
  • Enterprise ($10/user/month): Unlimited projects, 30 project templates, 10 read-only users, 120GB of storage space

I. Best Suited To

Picking the right project management tool is like finding the perfect pair of shoes. They must be a snug fit but also leave you some wiggle room to get comfortable! 

In other words, the tool you pick must fit all your current needs and grow alongside your future requirements, too. 

So make sure you’ve covered all bases in your research when picking project management software for your team. 

One way to do this is to check what types of teams your choice serves best. 

For instance, what works for a small software development team might not suit a large marketing agency. 

When hunting for a PM solution, it’s vital to match the tool’s features and use cases with your team’s workflow. Tailor your search to find a tool with all the necessary features to manage your tasks and boost productivity.

Asana Verdict

Asana is an excellent all-rounder project management tool tailored to diverse team sizes and project needs.

It has an extensive free plan for teams of up to 10 people, with unlimited projects, messages, file storage, and more. This could make it a safe choice for small teams looking to try before they buy.

For more complex projects, Asana is also well-equipped for:

  • Agile projects
  • Sprints
  • Product management
  • Managing content marketing
  • Tracking work requests
  • Creating dashboards and custom reports (including expense, milestone, goals, and workload reports)
  • Protecting your data through privacy and security compliance

One of Asana’s limitations is that you can only assign a task to one person at a time. This is intended to make roles as clear as possible. However, adding collaborators to oversee projects involves extra steps.

While Asana might be the perfect tool for smaller project management teams looking for an all-in-one solution, as your team expands, you might be better off looking at tools better equipped for dealing with larger workforces.

Zoho Projects Verdict

Zoho Projects is a no-brainer for teams that want a feature-rich project management solution at an affordable price.

Here’s what makes Zoho Projects shine:

  • Comprehensive project management tools with impressive automation capabilities that cover everything you need, from task management and time tracking to reporting.
  • An intuitive interface with user-friendly features like drag-and-drop actions and dashboard customization. 
  • Robust collaboration and communication tools, like feed and chatrooms, that facilitate smooth teamwork.

However, Zoho Projects’ reporting features might not be extensive for larger teams and bigger projects. For example, it has a limited dashboard functionality, making it difficult to add client information or arrange tasks and projects. 

Additionally, only Enterprise users have full access to reports like Gantt charts and resource utilization charts.