Project management software isn’t just a fancy tool; it’s the lifeblood of any business that dreams of scaling without losing its sanity. Don’t believe me?
Picture this: deadlines missed, tasks forgotten, resources misallocated—all because you couldn’t keep track of who was doing what and when. Not the prettiest sight, huh?
I’m AJ, and after a decade of building my business and navigating my fair share of hiccups, I negotiated a successful seven-figure exit.
My mission at Small Business Bonfire is to light your way to similar success (without stumbling over the same obstacles).
So, let’s get down to the details. Today, we’re talking about Wrike, a project management tool that might just save your business (and your sanity).
Buckle up, this is going to be one enlightening ride.
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Small Business Bonfire has spent the last decade testing and reviewing tons of business software to help you (our Bonfire Nation) start & scale your business. For more info on how we test, please read this article here.
Wrike is a dynamic, cloud-based project management platform that aims to streamline work operations and enhance team collaboration.
Just like a Swiss Army knife, it’s loaded with an array of features designed to boost your team’s productivity and empower project managers.
Some of these include the following:
Real-time project managementCollaborative editingTask prioritization and schedulingProject templatesDynamic request formsPowerful reporting and analytics
Wrike shines exceptionally well for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) because of its flexible and scalable nature.
It molds itself according to your team’s workflow, grows as your team expands, and doesn’t shy away when you need to juggle multiple projects.
But Wrike isn’t exclusive to businesses. Are you a freelancer juggling multiple clients? Wrike can handle that too.
It helps you keep track of all your tasks and deadlines, so you can focus more on your work and less on its management.
It’s like having your own personal assistant without the luxury office space requirement or the exorbitant salary!
Our takeaway: We’ve tested a ton of project management platforms over the years, and we think Wrike might just be the most powerful!
Every project management software has its own unique advantages and drawbacks.
When it comes to Wrike, there are several things to consider before making a decision.
To make this easier for you, let’s look at some pros and cons associated with using Wrike for managing your projects.
In this comprehensive Wrike review, we’ve established that the project management platform is packed with features and offers reasonable pricing.
But who is it best suited for?
Small businesses: Wrike is perfect for small businesses who need to juggle multiple projects with ease. The intuitive UI makes it easy to learn, and the integrations allow you to easily connect all your tools together.Midsize businesses: Thanks to its scalability, Wrike can be used by midsize companies that need a powerful tool to help them manage their complex projects. The real-time project management and task prioritization features allow you to streamline your operations even as your team grows.Enterprises: Wrike offers many enterprise-grade features, from complex automations to powerful reporting. It is an ideal choice for large enterprises looking to easily manage multiple projects.Freelancers: Wrike lets freelancers stay organized with their ongoing tasks, so they can focus more on their work and less on its management. It also offers excellent collaboration features, allowing freelancers to easily share their projects and collaborate with multiple clients.
Not every project management system is a one-size-fits-all solution.
Here are some situations that we think Wrike isn’t necessarily suited for:
Startups: While startups can use Wrike, it might not necessarily be the best fit for early-stage startups still figuring out their workflow processes. The feature-rich environment and functionality of Wrike can feel overwhelming and might be much more than what a startup really needs. Additionally, the higher cost compared to other project management platforms could deter startups operating on a shoestring budget.Sales teams: Let’s face it, Wrike might not be the best fit for sales teams. While it comes packed with productivity-enhancing features, it lacks some of the robust, sales-specific functionalities that dedicated CRM platforms offer. The absence of features like contact management, lead scoring, and sales forecasting might make Wrike a less viable choice for sales teams that require these specific tools to drive their operations successfully.
Wrike offers a free version in addition to four paid plans.
These include the following:
Free plan – Free foreverTeam plan – $9.80/month per userBusiness plan – $24.80/month per userEnterprise plan – Custom pricingPinnacle plan – Custom pricing
We’ve established that Wrike is basically a project manager’s dream.
So, how does it stack up against the competition in terms of both pricing and features?
Well, let’s break it down.
Wrike – $9.80/month per user
Free versionUnlimited projectsUnlimited custom fieldsInteractive Gantt chartsCustom automation
Monday Work Management – $8/month per user
Free versionUnlimited projectsUnlimited custom fieldsNo Gantt views on the basic planAutomation is not available on the basic plan
ClickUp – $7/month per user
Free versionUnlimited projectsUnlimited integrationsInteractive Gantt chartsBasic automation
Zoho Projects – $5/month per user
Free versionUnlimited projectsUnlimited integrationsInteractive Gantt chartsBasic automation
As you can see, all four platforms are pretty close regarding features and pricing.
All four offer a free plan, so let’s move on to the paid plans. The Wrike business plan is the priciest of the four at $9.80/month, but it’s also the only one that offers complex automation right out of the gate.
In our opinion, the cheapest option isn’t always the best, and with Wrike, that’s certainly the case!
We think Wrike is the winner here because it just offers an absolute powerhouse in terms of project management features across the board.
At Small Business Bonfire, we don’t believe in giving shallow, surface-level reviews.
Therefore, we put Wrike through its paces over three months, testing it in a real-life small business environment.
Let’s break down what we learned about its project management capabilities.
Task Management: Wrike excels in task management. We were able to create and assign tasks in a jiffy. The ability to set dependencies between tasks and visualize them on a Gantt chart was a game changer.Team Collaboration: The platform offers exceptional team collaboration features. Project discussions, document sharing, and real-time updates kept everyone in the loop. This makes managing multiple projects super easy!Resource Management: This feature allows you to balance workloads effectively. We could easily see who was overloaded and redistribute tasks as necessary.Time Tracking: The built-in time tracking feature was useful for monitoring productivity and project budgets.Customizable Dashboards: We loved how you can customize your dashboard to show the data you need, from team workload to project budgets.
We got started by creating a project we called “Bonfire Field Guide Rollout.”
The purpose—to schedule, create, and introduce our powerful guide to creating and scaling SMBs for our Bonfire Nation.
One aspect we loved about Wrike was how we could essentially create a fully customizable agenda for each stage in the project.
Here’s an example of the kickoff stage to give you a better idea of how it looked.
Within each agenda card, we could accomplish the following with ease:
Add filesAdd team membersCreate campaign goalsSet a start and end dateAdd subitems
We also loved that Wrike comes with two of the most essential project visualization tools—Gantt charts and Kanban boards.
The Gantt chart view (shown below) allowed us to visualize our entire project timeline, along with the dependencies between different tasks, making it easier to manage complex projects.
On the other hand, the Kanban boards provided a card-based view of all tasks, making it simpler to monitor progress at a glance. Here’s our Kanban view (to really paint a picture for you).
The flexibility to switch between these views as per our needs was a definite plus.
Overall, we found Wrike’s project management capabilities to be robust and intuitive, living up to its reputation as one of the best project management tools on the market.
As we’ve touched on briefly in the project management section, task management with Wrike is a breeze.
Task creation is quick and easy, allowing for swift assignment to relevant team members.
Wrike’s platform gives you the capability to break down major tasks into smaller subtasks, ensuring the workload is manageable and progress is trackable.
The platform also delivers in terms of flexibility by offering the following:
Task prioritizationSchedulingTask attachments
In order to really test this feature, we added some typical onboarding tasks for new users at Small Business Bonfire.
We loved how easy it was to add a new task (screenshot below).
We found the ability to tag tasks by project or department, particularly useful, as it enabled us to effectively categorize and find tasks.
Bonus points for the email-to-task feature, which allows you to convert emails into tasks directly within Wrike, keeping all your relevant work in one cohesive space.
Here’s how our tasks dashboard looked after we had our onboarding tasks input.
Overall, Wrike made it easy for us to track progress on all our tasks (during our three months of testing).
As we’ve established, Wrike offers some state-of-the-art project management.
So, it came as no surprise to the SBB team that Wrike truly shines when it comes to creating and customizing unique spaces where your teams can work on projects.
Wrike makes this process effortless by offering helpful templates (shown below).
No more starting from scratch or re-inventing the wheel every time you kick off a new project.
With Wrike’s project templates, you can establish a consistent process for your projects and roll them out faster.
These templates are pre-populated with tasks and structures that we found incredibly useful, and the best part is—they’re fully customizable to fit your specific needs.
Think of it as the blueprint for your project—everything you need is laid out in an orderly fashion, ready to be filled with your particular details.
These templates not only saved us time but also reduced the risk of overlooking important tasks.
At the end of the day, we found Wrike’s templates to be comprehensive and adaptable, providing a strong foundation for efficient project planning!
For this next act, let’s talk about Wrike’s automation capabilities.
Let’s set the scene: Wrike’s automation takes a lot of the manual labor out of project management by automating routine tasks, thus freeing up your time to focus on the more important aspects of your project.
These automated workflows can easily accomplish the following:
Streamline processesReduce errorsEnhance overall productivity
The automation feature in Wrike allows you to create custom workflows that automatically trigger based on certain conditions.
For example, you can set up a workflow to automatically change the status of a task once a certain action has been taken.
The possibilities are virtually endless, allowing you to automate just about any process you can think of.
But wait, there’s more! We set up an automation that would send a notification every time a new project was created.
Here’s how the creation process looked from our perspective.
Setting up this automation was a breeze—Wrike’s automation interface is user-friendly, and the process is intuitive.
We simply selected the rule (a new project being created), the action (sending a notification), and voila – we were in business.
Now, anytime a new project pops up, we get an instant notification. It’s like having an eagle-eyed assistant who never sleeps (or demands coffee breaks).
Wrike’s automation capabilities are impressive, to say the least. They’ve taken a load off our shoulders and helped us focus more on strategy and less on routine tasks.
We think you’ll agree—Wrike’s automation is a real scene-stealer!
At Small Business Bonfire, we hold a firm belief in the power of data-driven learning.
Analyzing data provides us with valuable insights, helping us understand our performance, identify trends, and make informed decisions.
With data at the helm, we’re better equipped to navigate the complexities of our projects and drive them toward successful outcomes.
Wrike’s Reporting and Analytics feature serves as our compass in this endeavor, offering a comprehensive suite of tools to collect, analyze, and visualize data in a manner that is both intuitive and insightful.
The platform’s reporting feature gave us a birds-eye view of our projects, enabling us to do the following:
Track project progressIdentify potential bottlenecksQuickly make strategic decisions
This data is available in real time and can be exported for further analysis or shared with stakeholders for collaboration.
For those who prefer visual representation, Wrike provides an array of interactive charts and graphs that help to illustrate the performance of a project.
These graphic depictions also make it easier to spot discrepancies in task progress, allowing for faster course correction.
At the end of each project, Wrike gives us an in-depth report containing all the data related to our project.
Task breakdownsMilestone completion ratesAdvanced resource management
We found this feature incredibly helpful in assessing the efficiency of our project management processes, enabling us to make improvements where necessary.
We also loved how these reports could be easily shared with stakeholders for review or feedback.
Wrike’s reporting and analytics capabilities are top-notch—giving us a better understanding of our projects and helping us make smarter decisions.
Drumroll, please! Next up on our review stage, we present Wrike’s dynamic request forms.
This feature proved to be a remarkable tool during our exhaustive testing phase.
It facilitated the process of submitting requests and gathering all necessary information upfront.
Here’s a deeper look into our journey:
Testing phase: Our team members got creative with project requests using the Dynamic Request Forms. It’s like having a genie that gathers all the info you need in one go! No more back-and-forth, just smooth sailing.Customization: We reveled in the ability to customize form fields, which was incredibly easy. Tailoring these fields to gather specific information for different types of requests was a significant win for us.Routing requests: Wrike didn’t just stop at gathering information. It amazed us with its ability to route these requests to the right people or projects based on the answers provided in the form. This ensured that every request landed in the right lap (without any manual intervention).Clarity and streamlining: The dynamic request forms brought an unprecedented level of clarity to our project initiation process. By funneling all requests through a single, standardized process, it helped eliminate confusion and ensure that no critical information was missed. It was like having a cheat sheet for initiating projects right.
We tested this feature extensively over three months at Small Business Bonfire.
Here’s an example of a request form we created for our new Bonfire Field Guide (using the “new creative request” template).
To put it simply, Wrike’s request forms were a game-changer.
It took the guesswork out of initiating projects, ensuring we had all the necessary details upfront, and routing tasks to the appropriate teams.
It’s safe to say we were completely smitten with this feature!
No project management software is perfect. Wrike does have a few limitations that are worth noting.
The steep learning curve – Wrike can be an overwhelming platform to use for those who are not familiar with project management tools. It has a lot of features and functions that novice users may find difficult to navigate, which could lead to missteps or mistakes.Wrike is a bit pricey – While Wrike offers a wide variety of features, it’s on the pricier side compared to other (more basic) project management software solutions. However, it’s worth noting that Wrike’s powerful features more than make up for the higher cost.
When it comes to powerful integrations, Wrike doesn’t mess around.
The powerful project management app offers tons of integrations for everything from collaboration and communication to marketing and sales.
Some of our favorite integrations include:
Google DriveGoogle SheetsJiraAsanaSlackTrello
Here’s a screenshot of the app directory to show just how many options are available with Wrike.
At SBB, we use Slack for the majority of our internal communications, so we were thrilled to learn that Wrike offers seamless integration with Slack.
This integration allowed us to centralize our communications and project management in one place, enabling us to reduce the time spent switching between apps.
The integration also facilitated real-time updates on task status, reminders for deadlines, and the ability to create new tasks directly from Slack.
In essence, it felt like having a mini-Wrike within our beloved Slack workspace.
The efficiency was palpable, and our team members certainly appreciated the convenience!
If you’re a project manager looking to streamline your SMB (and your professional services across the board), you can’t go wrong with Wrike.
The onboarding process with Wrike was easy!
First, we navigated to the homepage, where we were greeted with an easy-to-see call to action (CTA) and a helpful 3-minute video.
We watched the video and then clicked, “try Wrike for free.”
We got started by entering our Small Business Bonfire email (shown below).
Next, we entered the following fields:
NamePhone numberBusiness name
From there, we filled out how many members we had, our field of business and then named our first project (pictured below).
Then we chose our preferred project view from a list of the following:
We went with the board view because we love a good drag-and-drop interface. It makes it much easier to move everything around in just a few seconds.
Last, but not least, we were invited to bring our team on board (which took only a few minutes from start to finish).
Overall, onboarding with Wrike was a cinch. It took us only minutes to get up and running, and we were ready to tackle our projects.
It’s easy to see why Wrike has become one of the most popular tools on the market for managing projects!
In the effort of full transparency, we’ve got to mention the rather steep learning curve of Wrike.
Wrike, despite its many impressive features, did present a challenge for us at first.
Now, we at Small Business Bonfire are no strangers to the turbulent seas of technology, having tested a plethora of software tools. But even for us seasoned sailors, Wrike’s wave was a bit harder to ride.
Here’s a detailed account of our initial encounter with Wrike:
Intricate navigation: Wrike’s interface, while visually appealing, was a labyrinth of sorts. The multitude of features and options were not immediately intuitive, and it felt like we were exploring a complex maze. The tool seemed to have its own language, and it took us some time to decipher it.Feature overload: The extensive range of features offered by Wrike, while impressive, contributed to the initial overwhelm. It was like walking into a vast supermarket, all aisles brimming with products and not knowing where to start. We had to invest time in learning about each feature and figuring out how to use it to our advantage.Customization challenges: Wrike’s high degree of customization is undoubtedly one of its strengths, but it also added to the complexity. With the power to tailor almost every aspect of the platform to our needs, we found ourselves a bit lost in the beginning, struggling to decide how best to set things up.
After overcoming the learning curve, we found ourselves in calmer waters.
Wrike became a powerful ally, streamlining our project management process and boosting productivity.
Here’s a rundown of our experience post the initial hiccups:
Smooth navigation: Once we got the hang of it, navigating through Wrike’s interface was a breeze. The tool’s design, which had initially seemed like a complex maze, now made perfect sense, guiding us efficiently to the required features.Feature mastery: Having spent time understanding Wrike’s features, we were now able to fully leverage them. From tracking project progress to generating detailed reports, we were in control, using the tool’s capabilities to our advantage.Customization comfort: After the initial struggle, we got the hang of customizing Wrike to our needs. We could fine-tune the platform to mirror our processes, which made project management even more efficient.Seamless integrations: Once we mastered the art of integrating Wrike with other tools, we were able to create a synchronized ecosystem. This facilitated a smooth workflow, eliminating the need for juggling between multiple platforms.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that while Wrike’s learning curve is steep, the rewards that lie beyond it are well worth the initial struggle.
Once you get past the learning curve, Wrike is a dream to use.
The meticulous design and advanced features of this tool, combined with its high degree of customization, make it a strong contender in the realm of project management software.
During our testing phase, we found ourselves reaching out to Wrike’s customer service more often than we initially anticipated.
The steep learning curve of the tool made sure we kept in contact with the Wrike service team quite often.
Here’s how the journey unfolded:
Initiating contact: We first reached out during the setup process. We were stumped by a couple of features and needed a guiding hand. We quickly emailed Wrike’s support, and the response was prompt and helpful.Technical queries: As we dug deeper into the project management tool, there were moments when our team was unsure of how to best utilize certain functionalities. Each time we made a call, Wrike’s customer service proved to be well-trained, patient, and knowledgeable, guiding us through our queries with precision and understanding.Problem-solving: There were a few instances where we encountered minor technical glitches. Wrike’s customer service was vigilant and responsive in such situations, providing us with swift solutions.Proactive follow-ups: What impressed us the most was their proactive approach. Following each interaction, they would check back to ensure our issues were resolved and to answer any further questions.Resourceful knowledge base: Besides their active support, Wrike boasts a comprehensive knowledge base and a community forum. These resources were immensely helpful in navigating the learning curve, providing us with tips, tricks, and best practices.
From the initial setup to the intricacies of advanced features, Wrike’s customer service was always just a call or email away, ready to help.
We, therefore, find ourselves applauding the quality of their customer service, making it one of Wrike’s strongest assets.
Here’s an example of a question we quick question we had regarding Slack integration. We heard back within just a few minutes.
To our surprise, however, we were able to answer the question ourselves with their helpful knowledge base!
In today’s fast-paced world, a mobile app for project management is like having superpowers.
It’s the ultimate game-changer, empowering you to manage projects, collaborate with your team, and make crucial decisions on the go. No more missing a beat, even if you’re away from your desk.
Now, let’s dive into the world of Wrike’s mobile app. It’s not just fantastic—it’s like a wizard with all the robust functionalities of its desktop counterpart neatly packed into an intuitive interface that fits right in the palm of your hand.
The app performs like a dream, the features are well-structured, and the user experience is as smooth as silk.
It’s safe to say Wrike’s mobile app aced our test run, solidifying its reputation as the ultimate project management tool. It’s time to level up your productivity!
Here’s our mobile view of our productivity dashboard and project timesheet.
Wrike is a fantastic project management tool, but it may not necessarily be the right fit for every team.
Here are a few other project management tools we love at SBB.
The question of whether Wrike is worth it for small business owners is a resounding “Yes!” Small businesses, in particular, can benefit immensely from Wrike’s capabilities.
With its excellent project management features, Wrike can support small teams in organizing tasks, streamlining workflows, and enhancing productivity.
With Wrike, small business owners can easily manage their growing team’s work (without breaking the bank).
Moreover, Wrike’s integration capabilities allow it to work harmoniously with other tools, further consolidating work processes.
In conclusion, for small businesses aiming to scale up efficiently while maintaining a tight grip on project management, Wrike is a worthy investment.
So why wait? Take the plunge and give Wrike a try, and take your project management game to a whole new level!
Wrike truly shines when it comes to:
Remote Collaboration: Wrike’s robust features enable creative teams to collaborate in real time, regardless of where they are located. This makes it an invaluable tool for remote teams looking to streamline their work.Customizable Workflows: Wrike offers a high degree of customization in workflows. This flexibility allows teams to tailor their project management processes to their specific needs, enhancing efficiency.Task Prioritization: With Wrike, teams can easily prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. The tool’s visual timelines and Gantt charts make it easy to get a quick snapshot of a project’s status.Reporting and Analytics: Wrike provides in-depth reporting and analytics features, allowing managers to keep track of team performance, identify bottlenecks, and make informed decisions.Integration with Other Tools: Wrike’s ability to integrate seamlessly with other popular tools like Gmail, Slack, and Dropbox, among others, adds to its utility. This seamless integration eliminates the need to switch between different platforms, saving time and reducing the likelihood of errors.
Yes, Wrike’s Free Plan is absolutely worth it. This plan offers up to five users various features, such as task approvals, project templates, and weekly summaries.
It also provides basic reports and analytics for the team’s performance. However, some advanced features like Gantt charts are only available in the paid plans.
Wrike and Asana are renowned project management tools with distinctive features that set them apart.
They share several similarities but also have some key differences:
Task Management: Both Wrike and Asana excel in task management, providing users with the ability to create, assign, and schedule tasks (and track their progress). However, Wrike offers a more comprehensive suite of features, including time tracking, which Asana lacks.Project Visualization: Wrike and Asana both provide excellent project visualization tools. They offer Gantt charts, timelines, and Kanban boards, allowing for easy tracking of project timelines and workflows. However, Wrike’s Gantt chart feature is more robust, allowing for automatic adjustments of dependencies when changes are made, something not available with Asana.Integration: Both tools boast strong integration capabilities with other popular tools like Slack, Google Workspace, and Microsoft Office. However, Asana has a slight edge here, supporting more third-party apps than Wrike.User Interface: Asana’s interface is considered more intuitive and user-friendly than Wrike’s. While Wrike is comprehensive and packed with features, its interface might seem overwhelming to beginners, leading to a steeper learning curve.Pricing: Both tools offer free versions, but their paid plans differ. Wrike’s plans are generally more expensive than Asana’s, but they also offer more advanced features.
In conclusion, while both tools are powerful project management solutions, your ultimate choice would depend on your specific needs, budget constraints, and preference for user interface complexity.
Both Wrike and Asana have their respective strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to you to decide which fits your requirements best.
The post Wrike Review 2023: Best Project Management Software? appeared first on Small Business Bonfire.
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