Wrike vs Asana: A Breakdown of How the Two Products Stack Up
Project Definition and Description
Wrike provides a default, rich text field called “description” in its projects to document key information such as the project description, project scope and processes. It also gives you the ability to create custom fields to capture specific information.
Not to be outdone, Asana gives you three easy ways to create a project. Keep in mind that a user has to belong to a team like marketing or HR to be able to create a project. With that requirement out of the way, you can name a project, add a project description, view a project as a list or board and set permissions for any project.
It’s also possible to convert a task into a project. This is useful if you discover a task has grown beyond its original scope and would be easier to manage as a project of its own.
Pre-Built Project Templates
If you want the ease of use and saved time that out-of-the-box templates offer, both these products have you covered.
With Wrike, you get project templates for various types of methodologies like agile teamwork and traditional timeline-driven projects. Another benefit is that it supports a variety of use-cases including:
IT & engineering
This flexibility means you can rely on the software to handle all your template needs so you can spend time overseeing projects rather than worrying about getting the right template for your team.
Asana also provides templates, though with a few limitations. You can choose from a set of eight different project templates. But if you’re budget-conscience, choose wisely. Only two of the templates are free.
After selecting a template, you can rename it for easy tracking, choose which team the project should go to and share the project. And if you choose the premium route, you can enjoy the benefit of a handful of custom fields with every template.
Custom Project Templates
Customization more your thing? Asana allows you to create reusable templates. Personalize things like the sequence of tasks as well as add fields, sections, attachments and project descriptions. Once you fill in the details, all you need to do is click the project header dropdown and select “Save as a Template.”
Wrike also gives you the option to build custom templates that you can reuse as needed. When you’re creating a template, you can configure items such as task dependencies and project milestones.
All in all, both products excelled in this category. However, because Wrike had a bit more to offer with pre-built templates, it took the first round in our comparison.
Wrike’s main building blocks are folders, subfolders, projects, tasks and subtasks. Use folders and subfolders to contain and organize data.
Tasks in Wrike are the equivalent of items on a to-do list and help to keep track of action items. You can add tasks to folders or projects. However, if you want to track project progress or utilize reporting capabilities, you’ll need to keep tasks in your projects, since folders don’t have trackable attributes.
Wrike lets you easily manage task details.
On the Asana side, tasks are the basic unit of action. It’s possible to manage every aspect of tasks. You can create, duplicate or merge tasks tasks; print a task; set permissions or delete tasks.
And you can create tasks in a jiffy. Simply type them into a list or take advantage of the “Quick Add” option from the dropdown list in the upper right-hand corner of any screen view. Other options for creating tasks include sending a message from your email (just make sure it’s the one associated with your Asana account) or using your iOS or Android device.
Subtasks let you drill even deeper if you need to. Since they’re embedded in a parent task, they offer the same fields. However, a subtask won’t show when the parent task is due, who’s assigned to the task or any of the project info.
Wrike doesn’t provide a comprehensive feature that lets you automate actions, such as defining rules, triggers, validations and conditions, along with status change functions. The most you’ll get are basic features like auto-assigning users based on status.
Unfortunately, Asana follows suit when it comes to lack of process automation. You can set priority levels using custom fields, but you need to manually change them.
Given the popularity of Kanban layouts, it’s no surprise that Wrike and Asana include this functionality.
Wrike provides this view via its Kanban Project Template, allowing you to visually manage your project. And Asana has Kanban boards that use columns and cards to help your team visualize the progress of each project as well as spot roadblocks.
A Kanban layout in Asana.
If you want the ability to create task dependencies with Asana, you’ll need to use the Premium version.
This feature lets you highlight a task as waiting on another task. When the first task gets completed, whoever’s assigned to the next task receives a notification that he or she can start. The dependent task displays a banner in its right pane that indicates it’s waiting for another task to help avoid confusion. You can make one task dependent on multiple tasks and vice versa.
Task dependencies are also a feature in Wrike. The four types of dependencies you can create are finish to start, start to start, finish to finish and start to finish.
This category was fairly even, with Asana and Wrike each receiving excellent ratings from our analysts for task and subtask creation, Kanban views and task dependencies. Wrike, however, nudged ahead for the business rules feature, earning it the win.
Giving outside guests the ability to join a project and setting their permission levels is a key part of running projects in today’s collaborative environment. Asana and Wrike both do an excellent job on this front. Here’s how:
Wrike provides four user roles: administrator, regular user, external user and collaborator. You’ll turn to the external user role for creating guest accounts.
From clients to contractors, Asana has guest accounts for your project. You can add someone to specific tasks or projects instead of the entire workspace for added security. Guest permissions include adding, editing, assigning and following tasks. They can also invite other members but are restricted from deleting a project.
User Groups Creation
Asana also handles internal collaboration. You can set up teams across your organization to collaborate on projects. The platform gives you full control over your team’s groups, including changing team names and permissions, managing members, deleting a team and more.
Users can assign each team its own members and projects, along with conversations and a calendar. Asana sorts members into two categories: full members and limited-access members. Anyone who’s part of your company can belong to multiple teams.
Wrike offers similar capabilities. You can create user groups and subgroups, and then customize details such as the group’s name, members, color-coded avatar and more. It only takes a few clicks to add users, move them between groups or remove them from a group.
When you share tasks, folders and projects with a group, Wrike automatically shares it with that team’s subgroups. If you want to turn this feature off, you’ll need an Enterprise account, which gives you more flexibility on who sees what.
Both products were neck-and-neck for this category and received identical ratings from our analysts. For that reason, we declared a tie.
Both Wrike and Asana enable you to build custom workflows so your teams can use the processes that work for them.
In Wrike, this starts with statuses, which show what stage a task is in. Each basic workflow falls under either active, cancelled, deferred or completed.
If you want to get into customization, you’ll need a business or enterprise account. You have the ability to edit the default settings or build and edit your own workflow. When you’re ready to apply the new workflow, you can do so by changing the current workflow for either a project or an entire folder.
At this point, you can move into advanced territory and automate actions such as assigning a user to a task based on the task’s status.
Asana also gives you custom workflow options that help you facilitate a workflow that fits your team. For other workflow management options, you can turn to third-party apps that integrate with Asana and let you set various rules to effectively manage your projects.
Though both products offer this feature, our analysts gave Wrike the slight edge, so consider it the winner here.
If streamlining your reports is important to you, Wrike is definitely the better choice. With this system, you get pre-built templates you can customize. Get full insight into your projects, with reports that show active or overdue tasks based on a range of criteria, such as assignee, projects due this month, weekly project status and more.
Asana doesn’t offer pre-built report templates as of this time.
A key function of project management tools is showing you what the big picture looks like. Summary reports are a great way to get that sweeping overview.
Asana gives you a couple ways to accomplish this. First, timelines. You can keep your project on track from a central location, which lets you monitor your project plan, as well as share and modify it as problems arise. If you want Gantt charts, Asana integrates with the app Instagantt for greater control.
Wrike, on the other hand, has Gantt charts natively built in. Users can get a visual view of tasks for every project and folder you have.
Gantt charts let you visually lay out a project’s deliverables so your project stays on track.
Asana allows you to generate reports using the Advanced Search feature, which gives customized options to track things like project progress, work completed every quarter, projects that require follow-up and more.
Wrike’s intuitive interface boils the custom report process into four easy steps:
First, you choose the type of report you want to create, such as tasks.
Then you choose what data to include.
After that, you can apply filters based on the report type.
When you’ve built the report, you can then save it in either a table or column format.
This flexibility lets you drill down to get exact insights on your KPIs.
Want options? Wrike has them. 15 widgets, to be exact, which you can use to create a variety of dashboard layouts with various visualizations.
Because of the widgets, you can add pretty much any tasks you want to a dashboard, such as what’s pending approval, active or completed. The drag-and-drop features make it easy to move tasks between widgets so you keep all your information current.
Asana dashboards, on the other hand, are a thing of the past. The news broke in October 2018, and the dashboard feature officially disappeared on December 1.
Now, if you want access to dashboard capabilities, you’ll need to use the new portfolio feature that Asana rolled out as a replacement. While the new feature has a lot more to offer, there’s a major downside: it’s only available for enterprise accounts and you’ll pay double the cost for it.
The portfolio view in Asana shows a summary of each project’s status.
Your other option is to turn to Asana’s Screenful integration. The Screenful app gives you a powerful view into project data such as sprint progress, cycle times, completed tasks and more.
If you’re a graph person, Wrike may not be your best choice. It doesn’t offer many types of visualizations to display data. A tabular display of filtered data and column graphs is as far as you’ll get.
The same goes for Asana. However, a portfolio feature is available for paid accounts. If you need a 360-degree view of your projects, this is a good option. The ability to identify risks and dig into specific projects’ details enables you to see if you need to make adjustments to meet deadlines.
Resource Utilization Chart
Finally, what about tracking your team? Unfortunately, neither Wrike nor Asana offers any sort of chart for monitoring team member workloads. If that’s a key requirement for your company, you’ll have to get creative.
When it comes to reports and dashboards, Wrike was once again the winner. It outranked Asana in every feature except the last and earned four excellent ratings from our analysts.
Neither product rises to the top in this area. Wrike doesn’t provide a comprehensive feature to handle budgets and expenses. Your best bet for tracking budgets is using some workarounds and custom fields. And Asana doesn’t have any capability to track budget and expenses.
Wrike also doesn’t offer features for keeping tabs on project risks. The same as with budgets, you’ll need to rely on custom fields and workarounds to get risk management functionality.
Asana, however, gives you a bit more to play with. It does this through custom fields for any given project. Using those fields, you can create an approval process for every task. From there, it’s possible to pinpoint any work that’s at risk using the advanced search tool to create reports that you can reuse.
It’s not a three-clicks-and-done process. But it does let you manage risks without getting dozens of updates from your team. Because of this advantage in risk management, we gave Asana the upper hand for the tracking category.
Asana also integrates with popular email clients including Gmail and Outlook. If you use other email platforms, it offers a workaround to ensure you can still integrate your account. Similar to Wrike, Asana gives you the freedom to manage tasks and participate in conversations seamlessly.
Finally, both products make it easy to manage your documents via Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and OneDrive. Given that, and the comparable capabilities in CRM and email integrations, this final category once again resulted in a tie.
We’ve looked at how the products compared when placed side-by-side for a range of main project management features. But who takes home the grand prize?
Wrike is the clear winner, based on our research. It beat out Asana in four categories and tied in two more. The only specific feature it failed to support was tracking team member workloads, but Asana didn’t provide a solution for that, either.
If you’re looking for a feature-rich, comprehensive project management platform, Wrike is an excellent option.
We may have named Wrike the winner in this matchup, but Asana is still a strong — and popular — project management tool. Our goal is to help match you with the best solution to get the job done at your company. So we always encourage you to look beyond the reviews and analyses. While helpful, they can’t account for the unique requirements at your company. That should be your chief selection criteria.
For example, a system that’s decked out with all the bells and whistles may be detrimental if you’re looking for a simpler solution. Wrike and Asana both offer free trials, so it may be worthwhile to give the products a turn around the block in the real world to see how well they match your needs.
Want to dig deeper? Check out our free pricing guide. You’ll be able to compare Wrike, Asana and dozens of other project management software so you can make the most informed, accurate decision possible.
Which features in our Wrike vs Asana comparison would be most valuable for managing your projects? Drop a comment below to let us know!