August 3, 2015

Wrike vs. Asana: Which Should You Choose?

Thanks to project management (PM) software, overseeing complex tasks has become simpler.

Project and collaboration technology has come a long way, and now allows teams to track progress, simplify processes, communicate clearly, and easily collaborate from one central platform. No matter what your business does or how teams work, there’s a solution tailored to your needs.

But with so many apps and systems to choose from, they quickly blur together when you start to compare project management software.

Wrike vs. Asana for Project Management

Take Asana and Wrike for example. They are two of the most well-loved project management programs, and have likely come up in your search. You may even have an embarrassing amount of browser tabs open right now trying to decipher the difference between them.

Don’t worry. Your struggle ends here.

We’ve placed them head-to-head to assess their strengths and limitations. Read on to find the best one for you.

Wrike vs. Asana

Named after the yoga term, Asana is on a mission to enable teamwork without email. It’s a web and mobile-based software created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and former engineer Justin Rosenstein, who both worked to improve employee productivity at Facebook.

Here’s an overview of Asana in action:

As you can see, the main focus of Asana is to plan and manage projects and tasks without relying on email threads. They firmly believe that email holds employees back by creating data silos that can cause friction when trying to communicate the right information at the right time.

Their answer?

“Stop working out of email — get into Asana.”


Founded in 2006, Wrike is a work management and collaboration platform that streamlines teamwork for enterprises and SMBs. Their goal is to help you go beyond traditional task and project management.

Here’s how Wrike works:

Wrike wants you to use their platform to “work smarter and get it all done faster.” To do this, they focus on putting all your tools in one place. The platform should be thought of as your command center, where you interact, connect, and collaborate with your team. In 2014, Wrike was named a “Cool Vendor” in Social Software and Collaboration by Gartner.


How They’re Similar

Asana and Wrike are both strong players in the task and project management space. Since each vendor is solely focused on collaboration, they offer similar functionality.

Project Management  

Projects lie at the heart of both systems (though Wrike uses the term “folder hierarchies” to organize projects). Inside projects of either system, you can create, assign, and schedule tasks, as well as organize them with color codes. Depending on your preference, you can view projects based on status, tasks, due dates, or percentage complete. You can also see the status of each project on the right panel of both systems.

In Wrike, you view statistics with the folder snapshot:

Wrike Folder Statistics

Wrike Folder Statistics

 

And in Asana, you get a project overview with the progress metrics:

Asana Project Metrics

Asana Project Metrics

 

Both platforms also make it easy to comment and discuss projects using @ tags to mention people, which helps eliminate siloed information by looping everyone into the conversation:

  • Asana:
    Screenshot of Asana Chat Feature
  • Wrike: 
Screenshot of Wrike's Communication Capabilities

To wipe out pesky status emails, both platforms allow you to create custom workflows. For example, not every task is simply complete or incomplete — there are often multiple stages attached to each. Instead of wondering if a task is finished or forgotten, both systems allow for additional transparency.

In Wrike you can create statuses to match the actual stages your tasks follow in the work process:

Wrike Custom Workflows

With Asana, you can set up “sections” to represent each phase of a unique project:

Manufacturing Sections in Asana

One of the most helpful features of both systems is the ability to relate one task to multiple projects — without duplication. This is useful when a task is relevant to concurrent goals or when due dates are applicable to multiple projects.

Lastly, both systems help keep you out of your inbox by offering integrations with popular email providers. Asana allows you to turn emails into tasks, and Wrike lets you transform an email with one click: 

  • Asana: 
Turn Emails Into Tasks with Asana

 

  • Wrike: 
Create a Task From an Email With Wrike

 

Asana provides a dedicated project inbox:

Asana Project Inbox

Wrike’s activity stream records about all updates happening in your workspace:

Project Management Activity Stream

Apps and Integrations

Beyond functionality, both Wrike and Asana offer Android and iOS apps to keep you productive on the go. They also have a wide variety of app integrations, which helps connect the tools you use frequently with their platform. Current integrations include:

  • WordPress
  • Google drive
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • Calendars
  • Wufoo
  • Okta
  • Hipchat
  • Slack
  • Zendesk
  • Zapier

User-Friendly Interfaces

Both Wrike and Asana offer beautiful, easy-to-navigate interfaces to help track progress and understand performance at a glance. You can take a high-level view, or drill down to monitor individual projects.

Asana Dashboards: 

Screenshot of Asana Dashboard Asana Dashboards

 

Wrike Dashboards: 

Screenshot of Wrike DashboardTasks, Statistics, and Conflicts in Wrike

How They’re Different

With so much in common, it’s easy to see why people have trouble deciding between them. But there are several internal differentiators that aren’t addressed on the surface. Let’s examine them below.

Pricing

Asana and Wrike both use the same pricing structure: a freemium, tiered model. They both allow unlimited third-party collaboration (“guests” for Asana, “collaborators” for Wrike). This means outside clients, vendors, contractors, freelancers, or other third parties can all access approved projects for free.

Asana is free for 15 users with limited functionality. Once you upgrade to their premium version to access more features, five users costs $21 per month, and 15 users is $63 per month. Wrike is free for five users with limited features. Their professional version is $49 per month, and 15 users is $99 per month.

Both vendors offer additional pricing for larger companies as well. Asana recommends companies over 100 members should contact them, while Wrike offers an enterprise tier for five or more users.

Gantt

Wrike provides built-in Gantt charts to help you track project progress, although this feature is not included in free versions:

Gantt for Creating Timelines

Asana offers no native bar chart capabilities, but does offer integration with the (currently free) app Instagantt to provide Gantt tracking:

Instagantt and Asana Integration

 

Integrations  

Wrike and Asana both offer over 30 integrations. Though many of them do overlap, there are a few differences of note:

  • Time Tracking: Wrike offers built-in time tracking, whereas Asana integrates with Everhour and Harvest.
  • Marketing Automation: Wrike integrates with Hubspot, whereas Asana integrates with MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.

While it’s worth mentioning that none of these integrations are inherently good, bad, or better than the other, it’s an important factor to consider when weighing both programs. Asana has prioritized integration with many SMB tools, whereas Wrike favors many enterprise-focused integrations. In the end, each company also offers a flexible API, so if you already have your heart set on one, don’t be discouraged — there’s a good chance it can customized to fit your needs.

Support

It’s not healthy to expect the worst, but when things turn sour, you’ll need all the help you can get. Asana provides email support, FAQs, a knowledge base, and videos for troubleshooting. Wrike offers the same mix of electronic help, in addition to phone and live chat support.


Final Thoughts

In yoga practice, Asana represents the art of sitting still while restoring and maintaining well-being. Their software was built on this foundation. Asana was created to help teams remain mindful of one another, provide transparency, and “approach work with calmness and composure, even (or especially) when things get hard.”

Asana on laptop and mobile devicesAsana’s strength lies in its simplicity. It supports team communication and workflows, as well as individual work. It’s easy to get a clear view of priorities and tasks, and collaborate on those tasks that relate to other people. Asana isn’t trying to be all things to all people; they don’t care to create tailored versions for one industry or company size. In fact, Asana actively avoids feature bloat:

“We have a perspective that we hold very dear, which is to keep our team small, keep our product tightly honed, and to not expand the surface area of the product so that we confuse people about what is important to us and what they can expect from us. Focus is what ends up winning.” — Kenny Van Zant, Business Lead at Asana

This explains Asana’s simple sophistication. It puts all the information you need to do your job at your fingertips. Asana aims to get companies of any size out of the inbox, and they deliver on that promise. If you need something additional à la carte, or already have an app that you love, then take advantage of their interactions and API to support your specific use case.

Wrike Display on a LaptopIf you value communication and coordination, but want to go beyond traditional task management, then Wrike may be for you. They offer many enterprise grade features, their built-in time tracking, for example, could be especially useful for large companies or remote workers.

Where Asana is focused on getting you out of the inbox, Wrike is focusing on getting you out of all your apps. For example, their new native document editor lets users edit collaboratively and see changes in real-time. Your team can change documents freely without saving any attachments to your computer, or email document updates:

Native Document EditorWrike released over 30 new features last year, and their dynamic platform can be customized to your needs. Not every businesses needs this, but If you’re past the SMB phase, and want to consolidate your projects and apps — not just connect them — Wrike can help you manage distributed teams and enterprise projects.

***

Which is best for you?

Choosing project management software can be overwhelming, but having options is ultimately a good thing. It means that rather than forcing you to adapt to a system, you can find technology that aligns with your workflow.

Before choosing a vendor, map your current processes. Analyze it to make sure it’s as efficient as possible, then use it to pinpoint your requirements for a new system. To some business, integrations may be the most important aspect. For others, language support or product demos will be the deciding factor.

If you still need help choosing between Wrike and Asana, download the guide below to learn more about choosing a project management system. Or, use our software comparison tool to find the right option for your business. You may find a third option that best helps you achieve your goals.

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4 Comments

  1. Mitra

    Would be interesting to see how the comparison changes with Asana’s UI downgrade this weekend, the Project-centric view has disappeared, hidden away many clicks deep now. Major s**t-storm, which of course is I’m out looking for Asana v. xxx to see what else there is out there.

  2. Alyas

    Love the header image with the reference to the Indiana Jones “Choose Wisely” thing. I’ve used Wrike before and have only started to use Asana. I personally found Wrike to be a bit more intuitive but I’m learning more about Asana. Maybe I just haven’t gotten used to it yet.

  3. Ellis

    Not sure about wrike or asana, but we have been using proofhub and it has worked wonders for me! I feel all the above mentioned features in wrike as well as asana have been excellently collaborated in proofhub which is extremely easy to use.

  4. Ali

    Jenna, that was a spot-on comparison between two of the most popular project management software in their particular niche. I have used different task management softwares like Trello, Redbooth and Asana too, and have managed teams effectively. Currently testing out a new project management software nowadays, TaskQue, which seems pretty decent too. I would recommend every start-up and companies in their initial stages to use a project management software as it greatly enhances the collaboration between teams and creates transparency.

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