Feature Set - 8.5
Resource Management - 7
Collaboration - 8.5
Ease of Use - 8.5
Integrations - 8.5
Wrike is an extremely simple looking project management system which runs very fast and streamlines many processes. It does not have as many features as many alternatives, but would still get the job done, depending on the project’s complexity. Some project managers may opt for a system that is more robust and allows fine tuning of every single element of a project, so Wrike may be more suitable for smaller projects and/or projects that do not require every single element of detail to be specified.
The developers have done a very good job to ensure that the user interface is functional while also maintaining a fairly simplistic look. Most of the items within the system are fairly easy to see, with the exception of the top bar, as it is not visible from every screen. This can create a bit of confusion for users who are looking for it.
The dashboard contains an overview of pending tasks, with particular focus on tasks that are overdue or almost due. Users and project managers can then click on the tasks in these lists to bring up the task details and view the notes, add new notes, attach documents, change the status, change the importance, and more. Additionally, the sections on the Dashboard can be rearranged using drag and drop which aids in organization. While the dashboard seems like a fantastic idea in theory, it is basically echoing exactly what you can see on other pages, and as such, is definitely not required to be able to use the system. While it may slightly increase efficiency and minimize the chance of tasks becoming overdue, there are more important areas of the system that could be improved as a priority.
Activity Stream presents a linear view of the latest activity within the project and displays created projects, tasks, the discussions on various work items within the project, and more. It is extremely well set out and as such, is effective for all users (both new and experienced) due to the simplicity of the layout. It also provides the ability to filter on the following:
- Everything I follow
- Assigned to me
- My conversations
Additionally, users can add a note directly into the Activity Stream for all to see. Simply type a note and click [Post to Activity Screen] or press [Shift] + [Enter] on the keyboard. Searching is also possible, in order to bring up information quickly, and the Activity Stream supports [Add To Dashboard] as well. A prominent benefit for the Activity Stream is the ease of collaboration; users can contribute to the stream to discuss the project.
A prominent strength of Wrike is the ability to import, export, and integrate with other software. Namely, the system allows importing and exporting to/from XLS (spreadsheet), importing from MS Project, RSS feeds, integration with Google Wave and Google Docs, and provides add ins for Outlook and Gmail. The Outlook add on allows for users to create new tasks from within Outlook, permitting the user to assign, schedule, comment on, and upload files. All users with this add on will be able to see task updates instantly and it is compatible with Outlook 2007 and 2010. The Gmail gadget is similar, allowing users to create tasks by sending emails.
All good online project management systems should come with some form of a Gantt chart due to the fact that it is such an effective method of project management and offers a valuable overlook at the priority and schedule of each task within a project. Wrike’s Timeline is fairly basic, but it definitely gets the job done. It also offers the ability to add tasks easily while in the Timeline view by holding [SHIFT] + Mouse Click on the date that you wish to add the task on. From there, you can refine its date and specifications or drag and drop the task to the desired location within the timeline.
Other features include the ability to attach files to tasks. While most project management systems allow this, Wrike goes the extra mile and also includes the functionality to upload files from Google Docs, which can be a huge timesaver if many documents are stored on Google Docs.
Wrike runs extremely smooth and does not have any annoying loading screens and/or other issues that could create user frustration as a result of having to wait. The entire system is very fast and transitions between sections and tools are smooth with minimal wait. Out of all the project management we have looked at, Wrike is definitely in the top 3 for performance.
Ease of Use
In general, Wrike is fairly easy to use. Most of the system is fairly well set out and for the most part, it is not terribly difficult to navigate to where you want to go, and to be able to manage projects. The only real criticism of the systems usability is the fact that unlike some other systems, there are areas within the system that can only be accessed from certain pages and sections, whereas many alternatives offer almost everything you need from a single screen, allowing users to flick back and forth through the sections that they need to quickly and efficiently.
Wrike is a decent choice for an online project management and collaboration system. While it does not have particularly amazing or unique features, it does get the job done, which is the important part. This system would be a good choice if the users of the system are not extremely computer literate due to the simple interface and the fact that users will not be overwhelmed by a plethora of functions, buttons and options. Projects with more advanced and computer literate users may want to opt for a system which has more in depth project management tools that allow for fine tuning of all aspects within a project.
|Simple Interface||Features do not stand out – they are not particularly unique|
|Email Integration||Tools are fairly basic and do not allow for in depth tuning|
|Import/Export with MS Project and XLS|