Wrike is one of the best-known pieces of project management software out there, often mentioned in the same breath as Jira or monday.com. Whether it deserves this honor or even a mention in our ranking of the best project management software is something we’ll go over in this Wrike review.
- Wrike has one of the better free versions around, so if you want to manage projects without spending a penny, definitely check it out.
- The paid plans are a little more hit and miss, so shop around a bit before you settle on one. It could be that a competitor offers more functions you need at a similar price.
- Wrike won’t be winning any beauty contests, but it’s easy to use with barely any learning curve.
The short answer is that Wrike is very good and gives most competitors a run for their money. However, it falls short of our top dog monday.com in several areas, so we recommend you check out our monday.com review instead if you want a more well-rounded task management tool. Another good read is our monday.com vs Wrike comparison piece.
That said, the long story is that Wrike has a few unique features that may pique your interest. Among them are meticulous reports and excellent security, so stick around as we go over the ins and outs of one of the best project management solutions out there.
Wrike is used for keeping track of projects and tasks. As it’s a very versatile project management solution, you can use it in all kinds of different companies. However, its add-ons are most sharply tailored for services and marketing firms.
Yes, Wrike is safe. Wrike uses top-notch encryption both at rest and in transit, as well as offers a host of other safety features. The only thing that gives us pause is that the 2FA functionality is only available for the Enterprise plan.
The best Wrike alternative is monday.com, closely followed by Asana. If you’re developing software, you may want to give Jira a look, while Trello has the best kanban board in the business.
Top Alternatives for Wrike
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Easy to use
- Great free plan
- Solid features
- Excellent security
- It looks beaten with an ugly stick
- Tutorials are brief
- Plan progression feels a bit off
Wrike comes chockablock with features, with something for everyone. The goal of the software is to make Wrike “a single source of truth” (that’s an actual quote from an introductory video) for your company, meaning all kinds of project management features are housed within its virtual walls.
Orwellian turn of phrase aside, Wrike does a fine job of integrating a number of key abilities, making it interesting for large, sprawling teams. It does so through both built-in features, as well as its own add-ons (in contrast to, say, Jira and Trello, which rely heavily on third-party integrations).
Wrike’s add-ons can be integrated one by one, but there are also packages aimed at specific types of users. For example, there is a version for marketing teams as well as those delivering professional services. We’ll talk more about them later, but for now, let’s focus on the features Wrike offers, going plan by plan.
Wrike’s free version has earned it a place among our best free project management tools. It’s basic — like its competitors, it’s not giving anything substantial away — but gets the job done. Wrike’s free plan is also better than Jira’s (read our Jira vs Wrike comparison piece) but doesn’t quite get you as far as Asana does with its free plan.
The free plan comes with three basic views (list, spreadsheet and kanban board) as well as 2GB of storage space. That’s not much, but Wrike allows free users to integrate with a number of useful apps, including some of the best cloud storage services out there, so you should be OK with just the two gigs. You also get access to file sharing, which is handy.
Wrike’s Professional Plan
The next step — and the first paid tier — is Wrike Professional. It ups your storage allowance to 5GB and allows further integrations, but its biggest draw is that it allows for subtasks as well as dependencies and the concomitant Gantt charts. We really like how Wrike handles these, making them a good reason to pay for the upgrade.
Creating subtasks is as easy as clicking the right dialog box, and you can turn them into dependencies with each other. We really like that you can decide on the fly whether a task is a predecessor or successor, something even a Gantt-focused tool like TeamGantt could learn from (read our TeamGantt review).
However, the Gantt chart itself is a bit of a disappointment. It’s not as informative as that of TeamGantt or GanttProject (read our GanttProject review), and we wish we could zoom in on dependencies or make them otherwise visible as separate-yet-indivisible parts of a task. There are ways around this, of course, but it still seems like a missed opportunity.
The Business tier is where you start unlocking Wrike’s full potential. It offers a number of high-level abilities that will let you decide which users have access to what, as well as track who accessed which tasks and files. You also get more and better reports, including graphs that will help you track the goings-on of your team (for a provider with a similar buildup, read our Asana review).
The Wrike Business plan also introduces calendars, which work a little differently with Wrike. If you just want to know what’s due when, you get that from the get-go, even in the free plan (read our Trello review for one provider that makes you pay extra for this basic functionality). What Wrike calls calendars are more colorful and more complicated.
What makes Wrike’s calendar better than most others is its many filters (like setting a range of due dates), which we haven’t seen in many of its competitors. It also makes it a bit more challenging to use it. However, if you’re looking for a project management tool that allows you to run things through the calendar, Wrike may be the answer.
The last of the big options the Business plan adds is time tracking, which Wrike implements very well. In fact, it may be the only major player in the market that has time tracking directly integrated. You can add timers to all tasks and then look up all time spent in a special time log. This log can, in turn, be filtered per task and per user. It works exceptionally well.
The Enterprise plan is the final step and, like with almost all of Wrike’s competitors, it requires you to contact Wrike for a quote. Also, like with Asana and Jira, the features of the Enterprise plan focus almost exclusively on security and extremely advanced options that we reckon most of our readers won’t have too much use for, so we’ll gloss over almost all of them.
We say almost because, for some reason, two-factor authentication has been locked away behind this final tier. We have to say we’re a little surprised that so elementary a safeguard requires the highest tier to get, and we’re taking away points for this oversight. Other than that, we like the way Wrike’s plans progress.
Wrike Review: Add-ons
As we mentioned, besides its regular plans, Wrike also offers special add-ons, which are sets of purpose-built features. You can add these one by one or go for a package of them. The main two advertised are Wrike for Professional Services and Wrike for Marketers (which is the one we signed up for since we could pick one for our free trial).
While we can’t speak for each one of these add-ons, we really liked playing around with the marketers’ package. For one, it offered direct integration with Adobe Creative Cloud, very handy for creative teams. It also provided access to Wrike Proof and Wrike Publish (which is a digital asset management app that you can further integrate with similar apps like Bynder).
Wrike Proof is pretty interesting, as it allows you to take an image or video and attach comments. We played around with it for a bit, and we prefer using Google collaboration tools for the individual tasks (read our Google Drive review to find out why). However, we can see what Wrike is trying to do here, and we’re curious what Proof will grow into over the coming years.
Wrike Review: Integrations
Wrike is pretty much the only project management tool we’ve reviewed so far that staggers the integrations you can have over its plans. For example, Salesforce integration isn’t an option until you pay for the Business plan, while only those on the Professional plan or higher get to couple the Microsoft Office suite.
We’re not huge fans of this, to be honest, but you could always make your own integrations with Zapier or IFTTT (or program your own). Thankfully, basic integrations with cloud storage providers and productivity suites like Google Drive or Office 365 are included from the free plan onward. This gives you a way around the low storage cap, at least.
Wrike Storage Allowance
Below an overview of the storage cap per plan. Extra storage can be bought with prices varying per plan.
|2GB||Starting at 5GB||Starting at 50GB||Starting at 100GB|
Wrike Features Overview
- Kanban board
- Spreadsheet view
- Gantt charts
- Workload planning: No
- Long-term planning: No
- Multiple project management
- Dependency management
- Native scrum management
- Set user permissions
- File storage
- Built-in integrations
- Reporting features
- Free plan
- Free Trial: 14 days
- Web app
- Ticket-based support
- Live chat: No
- Phone support: No
When taken in a vacuum, Wrike’s pricing is all right. The Professional plan is less than $10 per user per month when paying per year, while the Business plan comes in just under $25 per user per month. However, when compared to other project management software, there are a few issues. Let’s break it down to the bottom line.
- Maximum of 5 users. Basic features.
- Price is per user. Plans for 5, 10 and 15 users.
- Price is per user. No monthly option. Plans for 5 to 200 users.
- Plans for 5 to an unlimited number of users.
As we mentioned before, the free plan is really good, and its only real rival is Asana, as we discuss in our Asana vs Wrike comparison article. Even Jira doesn’t offer quite so much usability, let alone Trello (read our Wrike vs Trello article).
However, we’re not as enthusiastic about the Professional plan, which will cost you $10 per user per month. As we talk about in our article on monday.com’s pricing, for the same money, you get a better service with more abilities and a better interface. Also, for just a dollar more, Asana (read our article on Asana pricing) offers a ton more features and overall usability.
The Professional plan isn’t bad, as such, but there’s just so much better out there for more or less the same money, especially considering how the Gantt chart could be improved. The Business plan isn’t much better, either: it costs just under $25 per user per month, which is the same as Asana for a similar — maybe even better — plan. Looking at monday.com’s pricing, it’s five bucks cheaper at the same tier.
We break down Wrike pricing even further in our dedicated article, but overall, we’re not blown away by the way its cost structure is set up. If budget is your main priority when choosing project management software, then you may want to give Wrike a pass.
Determining Wrike’s ease of use isn’t as clear cut as it is with other services. For instance, monday.com and Asana are smooth as butter, while in our ProofHub review, you can read about a decent provider that throws up annoying little roadblocks as you go along. In both cases, within a few minutes, you know what you’re up against.
Wrike is different. At first, it’s quite smooth sailing and offers little in the way of obstruction. In fact, it’d be one of the most easy-to-use project management tools out there until you get a little deeper into it and realize that you’ll need to use more workarounds than you may like. Before we get to any of that, let’s talk a little about Wrike’s presentation or lack of it.
Paint It … Gray
We love how Wrike lays out its functions, making for a very flat learning curve. However, its standard color palette is a granite-gray kind of color, with hints of blue. There is barely a hint of the snappy colors most competitors pimp out their interfaces with; Wrike’s vibe is more Soviet-era hotel room.
It’s bad for two big reasons as well as a host of little ones. Firstly, chances are you’ll be spending a lot of time staring at Wrike trying to figure things out, and if the interface you’re looking at is this dark and uninspiring, you’re going to start feeling down.
You can change it, but changing the theme only changes the dark parts of the interface. It barely livens up the rest of the screen. Ultimately, you’re switching out the grays for blues or something else; in the end, it’s just as oppressive.
It’s not all aesthetics, either. Having colors denote what tasks are and how they belong is a great way to get a bird’s-eye view of how things are going, and the brighter the colors, the better. Conversely, a drab palette means things can get a little lost in the mix. Check out monday.com for one tool that does a great job of this.
Getting Started With Wrike
With that gripe out of the way, let’s continue our tour of Wrike. Getting started with it is pretty easy: just go to the Wrike main page, click on the “start for free” in the top-right corner of the screen, and you’re off to the races. As far as we can tell, there’s no way to pay right away, so you need to first go through the 14-day trial.
Unlike with pretty much all other project management tools out there, Wrike barely bothers with any introductory questions. It’s just one screen where you enter some basic details about your company, then choose a template (if you have the Wrike for Marketers add-on), and you’re dumped onto the main screen.
Wrike has very little in the way of a learning curve, working much like a color-leeched Asana, with the left-hand sidebar acting as the means to navigate between your boards and functions within boards displayed on the main screen. Unlike with Asana, it feels a little less fluid, probably because you often have to go back to the main dashboard for certain tasks like calendars.
It’s a minor gripe, though. Overall, moving around Wrike is a breeze. At the start, you’re helped along by pop-ups, which can easily be toggled on or off, though we wish they were slightly less intrusive, more like the ones monday.com has. There are no interactive tutorials like Jira offers (read our Jira review for more on those).
Tasks and Projects
As with all the best project management solutions, Wrike revolves around projects and tasks. This is where Wrike’s Agile roots show a little, as projects are clearly meant to be small, in scope and limited in time, a point the project creation dialog makes clear.
You have several views to choose from, each with their pros and cons. Unlike with monday.com, the list view isn’t so hot, as it shares some of its functionality with the spreadsheet, so we recommend you go for the kanban board instead. Though Wrike won’t be knocking Trello off the throne of the best kanban tool, it’s still one of the better ones we’ve seen.
Creating tasks and subtasks is as easy as clicking on the right button, with plenty of options for adding due dates, durations, team members and all that. We really like how Wrike lets you handle and keep track of tasks.
However, projects are a different matter. Though it’s far from bad, we find the way you manage multiple projects a little cumbersome. While there’s a dashboard you can use, you organize projects in folders, which act like a project portfolio. You can then access these from the left-hand menu, but navigation just doesn’t feel as fluid as it does with some competitors.
Still, we will give Wrike’s folder system points for being flexible. It allows for the management of multiple projects at once, and you can even use it to manage Agile teams by assigning one folder as the backlog and another as the scrum board. It’s not as intuitive as Jira is for scrum, but it works enough to get Wrike a spot on our best scrum software list.
Wrike Review: Mobile Apps
We’ll finish up this section by going over the apps Wrike offers for Android and iOS. Like with most project management solutions, these are not meant to be full-fledged clients, more a way to check something or make a small change quickly. In this, Wrike does not disappoint.
In fact, it’s a little better than most, with especially the list view working really well on mobile. Though it still gets nowhere near the functionality of the web or desktop client, it gets more done than many competitors. Wrike is definitely worth looking into if you expect to be managing projects on a smartphone or tablet.
Security & Privacy
This costs Wrike a lot of points in this section, redeemed by its security, which is excellent. Unlike almost everybody else, Wrike hosts its own data and encrypts the living hell out of it, using AES-256 both at rest and in transit. Even if somebody somehow got access to your files, they won’t be able to read them.
However, one downside remains: two-factor authentication is only available on the Enterprise plan, which isn’t great. That plan also includes advanced security features like Wrike Lock, a form of zero-knowledge security, but we still feel that basic abilities like 2FA shouldn’t be hidden away. Overall, this section makes Wrike lose some of its luster.
Service & Support
As we mentioned in the user-friendliness section, Wrike’s tutorials are a bit sparse when in the actual program, but that clears up once you go to the customer service page on the website. The customer support portal is full of guides in both written and video form, so you won’t be lost for long when you use Wrike and run into a snag.
The guides are easy to understand and get through, and especially the written articles have great step-by-step information. There seem to be no common — or uncommon — questions left unanswered, so you and your team should be good to go.
However, if you’re still stuck, there’s a very lively community in the forums that can help, as well as email and chat support. While most answers seem to involve links to the relevant knowledgebase article, answers are fast and polite, making the whole experience worth a high rating.
Wrike Review: The Verdict
Mind you, it’s still one of the best project management software solutions out there. We just don’t like it as much as we do monday.com, Asana or even Jira. Still, we recommend that if you’re shopping around, you give the 14-day free trial of Wrike a shot.
We hope you found this Wrike review helpful. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or questions in the comments below. As always, thank you for reading.