Detailed Review of Wrike

Samurai with Wrike Checklist

Wrike Pinnacle is reviewed against 200+ project management software requirements on a downloadable spreadsheet. Wrike Pinnacle is scored overall and for each of the ten project management processes. This post provides a summary of the key strengths and weaknesses for each of the processes.

Download Wrike Pinnacle Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to add the Wrike Pinnacle Excel spreadsheet to your basket. Visit the basket page to complete the download.

Wrike Summary Findings

Wrike has come a long way since I first used it several years ago. It has a very functional and robust scheduling tool which is better than most cloud-based tools. Probably, not good enough for large complex construction projects, but good enough for regular business and IT projects.

Wrike Pinnacle also has budget and resource management functionality. However, this functionality isn’t robust enough for a professional services firm looking for a professional services automation (PSA) tool. There are better dedicated PSA tools on the market with much more extensive functionality. Best Salesforce PSA Tools.

Wrike has major gaps in its out-of-the-box functionality. However, it is so flexible that the gaps can be filled through configuration so Wrike got lots of partial credit in the scoring process. For example, it doesn’t have dedicated risk management functionality. But it scored well in this category because it offers a template than can be used to build a risk log, which is the equivalent of a risk log in a spreadsheet. Just be aware that to achieving the full functionality will require considerable configuration work.

Wrike
Total Score53%
Communications Management14%
Cost Management32%
Integration Management52%
Procurement Management13%
Quality Management25%
Resource Management79%
Risk Management75%
Schedule Management71%
Scope Management44%
Stakeholder Management29%

Wrike Pricing

Wrike has five pricing plans. This review was based upon the highest priced plan: Pinnacle. Below is a summary of key differences between the plans for full details see: Wrike Pricing Comparison. I couldn’t find any rumors of Enterprise or Pinnacle pricing on the Internet, so you’ll have to contact Wrike.

The main takeaways are:

  • Almost every company is going to need a Business plan or above
  • Wrike requires an Enterprise plan to get basic security features. Any large IT org isn’t going to allow implementation without these:
    • Minimum password requirements
    • Multi-factor authentication
    • User audit reports
    • Single sign-on (SSO)
    • Controlled admin permissions
  • If you are a professional services organization using Wrike as a PSA, then you will need the highest priced plan: Enterprise

Almost everyone in your organization will require a Wrike license if they are being assigned Wrike tasks. Wrike does offer a Collaborator user type that is free but limited and intended for external users such as, contractors and clients. A Wrike plan comes with a free number of Collaborator licenses: 20 or 15% of paid licenses, whichever is greater. Collaborators can:

  • View projects and folders shared with them
  • View and update tasks assigned to them
Plan$/User/MonthKey Differentiators
Free$01) No Gantt/Timeline view
2) No automations
3) No custom fields
4) No dashboards or reports
5) No resource management
Team$9.801) Custom fields
2) Gantt/Timeline view
3) Dashboards
4) Automations
5) No reports
6) Max 25 users
Business$24.801) Group projects into portfolios
2) Reports
3) AI functionality
4) Custom task types (bugs, user story, etc.)
5) Approvals
6) Basic resource management
7) Salesforce integration
EnterpriseCustom1) Full security (except locked spaces)
PinnacleCustom1) Advanced resource & capacity planning
2) Security for locked spaces

Wrike Scoring Methodology

I performed this evaluation using a free trial of Wrike Pinnacle. I also reviewed Wrike demos and documentation. Finally, I reviewed online reviews and comments for any user insights.

I’ve been evaluating all of the project management software and sharing the results to help others save time in making an informed decision. I started the evaluation as marketing research for the Salesforce project management app I built: Project Lifecycle Pro. I’m doing my best to give a unbiased review, but I’ve attached the detailed Excel spreadsheet which you can use to perform your own analysis. Here are detailed instructions on how to use the spreadsheet to weight requirements and compare multiple software packages side-by-side.

I structured the analysis around the Project Management Institute’s (PMI)© project management process. This is outlined in the PM Book of Knowledge (PMBOK)©. First, I listed the project management processes and then the activities within each process. Finally, I developed a list of requirements related to each of the activities. The list of requirements is based upon my thirty years of project management experience and experience evaluating project management tools for clients. When I come across novel functionality in the software I’m evaluating I add it to the requirements list. Of course, I’m sure I missed some requirements and welcome any suggestions.

I gave all processes and requirements equal weights, but you can adjust the scoring weights in the Excel spreadsheet to suit your needs. Each requirement was rated as either:

  • Yes – As Is – Meaning, the requirement is met with out-of-the-box functionality. This rating is awarded four points.
  • Yes – With Configuration – Meaning the requirement can be met with minimal configuration or no-code updates. Since, Salesforce is highly configurable I used this rating for simple things like changing picklist values, adding a field to an existing data object, creating a report, etc. This rating is awarded two points.
  • No – Not Available or Requires Customization – Meaning the requirement cannot be met without significant investment of time or money. I assigned this rating if custom coding would be required, or a new custom data object, or a new custom flow. This rating is awarded zero points.

Finally, the scoring spreadsheet totals the ratings by process to show how the tools compare by process. Therefore, you can assess the tools based on which processes are the most important to you.

Download Wrike Pinnacle Scoring Spreadsheet

Click here to download the Wrike Pinnacle Excel spreadsheet.

Communications Management

Like all the project management tools I reviewed so far, Wrike doesn’t have any significant communications functionality. If you have a large initiative that requires managing a large amount of communication or training, you’ll need to research learning management systems (LMS).

Cost Management

Only Wrike Pinnacle has any out-of-the-box cost management functionality. You can create custom fields on the other plans to track costs.

While Pinnacle will capture hours and billing rates, Wrike doesn’t have the ability to issue invoices. I’ve given Wrike partial credit to track invoices, because you could create the equivalent of an invoice tracking spreadsheet in a folder, but this is a far cry from the functionality found is best-of-breed PSA tools.

Strength: Optional Rollups

The custom cost fields you create on the tasks can be rolled up to the project. A nice feature is that you can turn the rollup on or off. This is useful early in a project. You can manually enter a high-level cost estimate for the project before you have all the individual cost line items identified. Later, you once you have the details you can allow the automated rollup. This ensures that any reporting against the rollup field is always accurate.

Strength: Project Specific Rate Cards

The billing and costs rates can be varied per project. This is key if you want to use Wrike to sum billings, to be used in another system to create the invoice.

Strength: Pre-Populated Timesheets

A team member’s timesheet is automatically pre-populated with any completed tasks. This serves as a reminder to enter their time and not miss a task.

Weakness: Doesn’t Generate Invoices

While you can capture and sum the hourly billing data, Wrike doesn’t have any functionality to generate an invoice. Wrike does have standard integrations with common accounting systems, so you should be able to pass Wrike data to your accounting system to generate invoices.

However, many of the best-of-breed PSA tools do have native invoicing functionality and can create different types of invoices: fixed fee, T&M, etc.

Weakness: Doesn’t Handle Expenses

I couldn’t find any expense management functionality. This would be a huge gap for a professional services firm that needs to bill clients for expenses. Team members can’t enter expenses on their timesheet and submit for approval.

Weakness: No Daily or Overtime Rates

Wrike only supports standard hourly rates. It does not support billing based on daily rates, which is fairly popular in professional services firms. It also does not support billing extra for overtime.

Integration Management

With configuration, Wrike has strong overall integration management functionality. You should be able to build good status reports and to easily collaborate. The only major gap I found was the inability to manage programs.

Strength: Detailed Project Access Controls

You can control access rights individually by project. You can make projects public or confidential. Also, you can assign edit vs. read-only rights to team members.

Finally, you can control access to financial data. So a team member can access a project, but not be able to see financial data like the budget or billing/cost rates for resources. However, if you create custom cost fields to track costs, they will be visible to anyone with access to the project.

Strength: Custom Fields at the Project Level

When you create a custom field you designate which objects it should be used on:

  • Tasks, projects and folders
  • Projects and folders
  • Just projects

This gives you the flexibility to create whatever project meta data fields you want. For example, you could add a ‘Project Health Comment’ or ‘Project Path to Green’ to be included in the status report.

Weakness: Doesn’t Support Programs

Wrike allows projects to be grouped in folders. You can then perform consolidated views and reporting against the folder. I consider this portfolio functionality. It doesn’t support program functionality since it doesn’t have programs as their own entity type. Therefore, you can’t define a program, define a team or set a budget for a program.

Procurement Management

Wrike like all the rest of the PM tools I’ve reviewed, doesn’t have any procurement management functionality to manage contractors and purchases.

Quality Management

Wrike doesn’t support any quality or testing functionality out-of-the-box. You could build the equivalent of test scripts in spreadsheets but this is a far cry from the functionality of a true quality tool.

Resource Management

Wrike provides the ability to view consolidate resource assignments and to record time on timesheets in the Business Plan and above. The Pinnacle plan is required to:

  • Define and assign job roles
  • Create budgets based on staffing and rates
  • Measure utilization

Strength: Soft Book Resources

Resources can be soft booked by either role or individual using the ‘Resource Bookings’ feature available with the Pinnacle plan. This allows the resource manager to see open resource requests by role, and also when resources have been tentatively assigned so that they can be re-assigned if necessary when balancing workloads.

Strength: Resource Allocation by Project

Wrike’s ‘Resource Booking’ feature allows people to be assigned at the project level. Many PSA tools only assign resources at the task level. This is an issue in the early planning stages of a project, and on internal business/IT projects where effort won’t be estimated to the individual task level.

Weakness: Can’t Forecast Demand Based on Sales Pipeline

The ‘Resource Booking’ process used to forecast demand by role is a manual process. Many other PSA tools can associate a standard project template’s roles to opportunities in the pipeline to create an automated forecast. In Wrike, you would have to manually create a booking for every role in every opportunity in the pipeline.

Risk Management

Wrike provides a standard risk template (RAID Template) to log all risks within a space. You can also add custom fields to this template to match your risk management methodology. However, this is equivalent to using a spreadsheet for a risk log/matrix. This poses issues for reporting and resolution which I note below.

Strength: Assign Tasks to Risks

Many tools lack the ability to assign tasks to a risk. Often, a project manager is going to want to assign and track task such as, investigations or mitigation steps. In Wrike, you can create subitem tasks for any of the risk records.

Weakness: Can’t Associate Risk to a Project

The provided risk template works at the space level, and therefore if you have multiple projects in a space you won’t be able to tell which project a risk pertains to. I know this sounds crazy, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I think it is a limitation of Wrike not be a relational database. You can ‘related’ the risk record to a project record.

You could create a custom field to manually enter the name of the project or select from a custom dropdown list. However, this isn’t the same as relating to the project record and could eventually cause reporting issues.

Schedule Management

Wrike has strong scheduling functionality. It has better functionality than most of the other cloud-based scheduling tools. The gaps it has are shared by most of the other cloud-based tools:

  • Only supports one constraint type: Start No Earlier Than
  • Doesn’t support effort-based scheduling
  • Doesn’t support automated load leveling
  • Doesn’t reschedule based on actual completion date

It does have a few odd gaps, which aren’t a high priority but are usually standard with other tools. I’ll comment on these below.

Strength: Dependencies and One Constraint Type

Wrike supports all dependency types (SF, FS, SS, FF), lead/lag, multiple predecessors and the Start No Earlier Than constraint.

Strength: Inter-Project Dependencies within a Folder

I’m not sure if this is a strength, I’ll let the reader decide. If you consolidate multiple projects into a folder, you can assign inter-project dependencies within the folder view. However, I believe it would be rare for a folder to contain projects run by different project managers. Therefore, you wouldn’t define inter-project dependencies for projects managed by different project managers.

Weakness: Doesn’t Support Releases

You can’t create a release record with meta data and associated records, such as, user stories. This is a large gap for IT projects. You could work around this partially by grouping your tasks/user stories under a parent task that represents the release.

Weakness: Can’t Assign a Task to a Team

You can assign tasks to multiple people, but you can’t assign a task to a predefined team, and then have a member of that team work the task from a queue.

Weakness: No % Complete for Tasks

This gap seems odd to me, but you cannot record a % complete for a task. You can only calculate a % complete for a project based on several options (% completed tasks, % completed hours, etc.). If your tasks are short than this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if your tasks are large this could have implications for accurately calculating the Cost Performance Index (CPI).

Scope Management

By adding some custom fields, you could create a decent scope management solution. One big plus, is that Wrike has a standard template and forms for handling change requests.

Stakeholder Management

By adding some custom fields and custom folder templates you could build the equivalent of a stakeholder management solution in spreadsheets. You won’t be able to do advanced company-wide reporting like you could do with a relational database, but it should suffice for all but the most complex change management efforts.

In Conclusion

I was expecting to slam Wrike in this review because I hated it when I used it a few years ago. However, it has come a long way and I’ve scored it higher than Asana or Smartsheet (Comparison of Project Management Tools). It appears to have more flexibility in the definition of custom fields than the other two tools and therefore is more configurable.

While I can see Wrike being a good tool for a small organization or a simple project process, I feel its architecture will limit it for use in larger use cases. It feels very similar to Asana and Smartsheet, like it is a user interface on top of spreadsheets and not a true relational database. I worked with a client that had outgrown Smartsheet and I feel many companies may eventually outgrow Wrike.

Professional services firms should not make a purchase decision until first evaluating some of the dedicated PSA tools, such as: Kantata, Certinia, Cloud Coach. These tools have much broader and robust PSA functionality than Wrike.

If you’re interested in integrating Wrike with Salesforce: Detailed Review of Wrike and Salesforce Integration

Regards,

Brian

Additional References

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