Today, Zoho Projects marks the one-decade-milestone complete. At this juncture, we cannot help but look back at how it all began. It is typical on such occasions to talk about what’s changed. But this post is not about that. You can see all our updates in our blog and in our website. Ask what remains the same and you get a story worth hearing.
In the early 2000s, each team at Zoho (then called AdventNet) had a dedicated web server. Project plans, design mocks and documents of all sorts were uploaded here via FTP. These files kept everyone up to date on the status of work. But clearly, this system had gaps; updating information was a big hassle, you had to download a file, make changes and upload again. You still had to send emails to communicate. We could envision a much better way.
At this time, many of the Zoho products you see today were pet projects of single developers. This included Writer, Sheet, Show and Mail. P S Vijay (@ps15vijay) was this single developer for Zoho Projects. He formed the one member team that launched its first version in August 2006.
The foundation for what the product stands for was laid firmly right here. We made it clear that we were not for the ‘less is more’ crowd. Projects can get complex, that is a reality of the world one cannot shy away from. We asserted that our product would be feature rich. Take a look at our first launch post and you see it mentions tasks and milestones, calendars, forums, reports and Gantt charts. Over the years, we have added and enhanced capabilities but the underlying spirit remains the same.
Today, the Zoho Projects team occupies most of a 5000 square foot building called ‘the incubator’ at our Chennai campus. There are dedicated teams of designers, testers, marketers, product managers, support agents and of course developers. P S Vijay, along with teammates who joined soon after the initial launch, now directs and mentors this entire group. They uphold the convictions with which the product was born and impart it to the rest. The leadership and its vision remain the same.
Project management is termed a ‘high churn market.’ People finish projects, ditch their tools and try different ones the next time. And there is never a shortage of these. A new tool that claims it has discovered the secret sauce of managing work, crops up once every couple of months. In this scenario, there are a good number of companies who bought the first version of Zoho Projects still using it to run the show. Advanced Vision Systems, an engineering services firm based in Maryland, USA is one member of this list. Giri Trading Agency, a merchant of traditional Indian artifacts from Chennai is another. The people who believe in what we do remain the same.
It is the continued support of customers like these that has brought us this far. This celebration is as much about them as it is about us. So if you’ve used Zoho Projects and enjoyed the experience, do let us know. Send us your love by tweeting with #ManyHappyProjects. We need all of it for the next decade.
PS: Be part of the buzz and take a trip through our timeline here.