Asana vs Wrike

July 4, 2019

12:59 pm

Asana and Wrike are two of the biggest brands in project management software, making Asana vs Wrike a prize title-fight in the category. Asana is a popular choice for project management with its attractive and modern interface, but San Jose-based Wrike has plenty to challenge it. But which software brand should you choose?

Overall, Wrike may have the edge over Asana. Wrike is ideal for teams who want their project to have a very strict organizational hierarchy. Asana, meanwhile, appeals to teams who just want a list of tasks, with milestones and task dependencies to help guide them along.

These two products use the same basic idea of a left-rail interface, and a double pane primary interface. Even so, they couldn't be more different.

At first glance, most users are likely to prefer Wrike. It’s easier to navigate, and packed with useful features. That's not to say Asana won't also satisfy – in our full guide, we explain the merits of each of these tools.

In this Guide:

Asana vs Wrike – Which is Best?

Asana and Wrike are two capable project management tools that differ greatly in terms of execution. Deciding on which is best really comes down to the needs of your company, but we feel overall that Wrike has the edge in a few regards:

  • Asana is best for individuals and personal projects, with its simpler hierarchy and more generous collaborator rules on the free tier
  • Wrike is best for large organizations that want a very clear hierarchy for their projects
  • Wrike is best for marketing teams, boasting a specialized service geared towards the industry
  • Wrike is best for mid-sized teams, thanks to its many helpful integrations

Wrike Review Summary

  • Built-in time tracking
  • Capable free tier
  • Multiple views, including spreadsheet
  • Customizable calendars

Wrike Board ViewIf you compare Wrike to other project management services, you'll notice its more conservative interface and approach. For example, Wrike uses a folder hierarchy by default, although you can opt to ignore this uncommon approach and use a Kanban-style board instead. There is also a spreadsheet-like view, rather like you'll get with Microsoft Project.

For those who like a well-organized hierarchy of tasks, Wrike is the ideal choice – but a well-structured way to keep your data sorted isn't all it has to offer.

For example, Wrike provides you with multiple customizable calendars, which can be assigned to individual projects, teams, or even a specific folder.

Another great feature is document history, which is available for files you upload to Wrike. It requires Wrike's desktop plugin, but once that’s up and running, you can make changes to a document and view past versions in a single location. Document versioning is a must-have feature for any company, and while you can find it in online services such as Google Docs, it's nice that Wrike offers it as part of a project management tool.

Asana Review Summary

  • Clean design
  • Free tier allows up to 15 team members
  • Portfolios and Workload are helpful features for large teams
  • Useful project templates

Asana My DashboardAsana is a popular option for project management. It has a great interface, and offers all the key features required for basic project management in its two lower tiers. Tasks, subtasks, dependencies, and milestones are all available with Asana Premium. There's also a timeline as part of Premium for those who need it.

Asana's project templates are helpful if you're just getting started with project management. The idea is to create the bare bones of a basic project, and then have the team fill in the rest. Asana's basic templates include a cross-functional template for projects that involve team members from different departments. There's also a template for marketing, product launches, and many other options. There are a number of templates available at the free tier, with other options only available for Premium subscribers and upwards.

For those with larger teams, Asana offers a number of solid options to keep projects on track. These include Portfolios, which offers an overview of all team projects and their current state. Workload complements this by providing a look at each team member's workload, to help better manage the team's overall effectiveness.

Best for Individual Projects – Asana

  • Asana Basic (free tier) is likely to be enough for most single users
  • Free tier supports up to 15 collaborators
  • Going beyond the free tier is overkill for most individuals

Asana is a great option for individual projects, or for freelancers looking to keep their work in order. Most people should be able to get by with the free tier, Asana Basic. This tier doesn't include sub-tasks or dependencies, but as long as you can do without those features, Basic should be all you need.

Basic's essential features include task creation (naturally), as well as list view, board view, and calendar view. Basic supports up to 15 team members, meaning you can invite collaborators as needed. Basic also lets you assign tasks to others when you’re collaborating.

For anyone who needs more than that, it'll cost $9.99 per user, per month to move up to Premium. This tier is where the feature set really explodes, offering milestones, dependencies, subtasks, timeline, and advanced reporting. It's a lot of functionality – so much, in fact, that it’s probably overkill for most single person projects.

Best for Mid-sized Teams – Wrike

  • Folder structure makes it easier to keep ungainly projects organized
  • Good amount of storage for video and documents
  • Built-in time tracking and document versioning

When teams start to grow to a certain size, keeping your data organized so things run smoothly becomes even more important. Wrike offers a good way to do this with its folder structure. Many project management services offer a project, and then lists of tasks under that. Some of these services allow you to create lists to better organize your tasks.

None, however, allow as much depth of organization as Wrike, with its ability to create folders and sub-folders within a project. That may be too much organization for some teams, but for those who need to keep an unruly project on track, those folders are a big help. There's also built-in time tracking for the Business tier and higher, as well as a large amount of storage.

The document versioning history, which requires a desktop plugin, is another great feature to have. A centralized place for keeping tabs on document changes that the whole team can access may be standard for online document editors, but isn't all that common in project management software.

Best for Marketing Teams – Wrike

  • Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Wrike Proof lets teams invite stakeholders to view assets within Wrike
  • Tailored Workspace helps marketing teams jumpstart new projects

Wrike for Marketers is a dedicated version of Wrike’s project management software designed specifically for marketing teams. This tier includes key features that make it easier for marketing teams to integrate assets with their projects.

For example, it includes the Wrike Extension for Adobe Creative Cloud, which lets users access Wrike from within Adobe CC and improves collaboration between team members. Wrike for Marketers also integrates with Wrike Proof, which allows teams to invite stakeholders to view PDFs, videos, Word documents, and other assets within Wrike. There is also a marketing-specific template – Wrike calls it a Tailored Workspace – that features “a preconfigured Marketing & Creative workflow, dashboard with file previews, reports, request forms, [and] folder structure.”

Beyond those marketing-specific features, Wrike for Marketers includes everything in the free, Professional, and Business tiers to actually get the project done. That includes everything from real-time reports to branded workspaces and Gantt charts.

Best for Large Organizations – Wrike

  • Key enterprise features such as SAML 2.0, Active Directory integration, and password policies
  • Integration via API for Business Intelligence tools, plus a Wrike-built integration for Tableau
  • Access reports and whitelisted IP addresses offer greater control for large organizations

Wrike doesn't mess around when it comes to adding features that large companies and enterprises will benefit from. It comes with the usual features, such as SAML 2.0 for single sign-on management, password policies, and two-factor authentication.

It can also integrate with many business intelligence tools via the company's application programming interface for moving data. There's also a built-in integration tool for Tableau, a popular data management service.

Other key features for enterprise include network access and compliance policies to restrict Wrike to white listed IP addresses. There are also “advanced user access controls” for controlling inheritance permissions on folders and sub-folders, as well as access reports to see who can get into all the various company projects.

Wrike's Enterprise tier also inherits features from all the other pricing tiers except for Wrike for Marketers. Those lower tiers include helpful features such as Salesforce integration, branded workspaces, and time tracking.

Asana vs Wrike: The Verdict

Both of these project management services are great, and it's hard to go wrong with Asana. For mid-sized and larger teams, however, Wrike comes out on top, thanks to its organizational structure and helpful features. Despite its emphasis on folders, Wrike is also surprisingly easy to navigate and understand.

Asana does have its advantages over Wrike, and some may appreciate Asana's simpler approach in its list view. Wrike is also lacking a Portfolios feature, which provides an overall look at all ongoing projects.

Nevertheless, most companies with mid-sized or larger teams will find that Wrike ticks all the boxes they require.

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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has worked as a technology industry reporter and critic for more than ten years. He’s written for PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, Yahoo, Lifewire, and The Huffington Post. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, security software, and browsers.