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Wrike Custom Workflows & Task Dependencies: How To Choose Between The Two

Category: B2B News

wfOne of the things that make Wrike so popular among project management users is the flexibility it offers when choosing methods to accomplish their goals. In fact, Wrike is one of the rare systems that support multiple ways of creating projects and tracking their progress, which as good as it is for certain users, tends to confuse others looking to maximize its potential from the very first moment. As Wrike experts explain, it is like being offered 20 different flavors of ice cream, and looking forward to trying them all.

The truth is all progress tracking mechanisms in Wrike are divided in two basic streams. The user will either reconcile with the standardized task dependency chain or customize workflows to comply with the specific needs of his business. Depending on the case the user is about to manage, Wrike will also offer him the possibility to combine both methods and manage work effectively. Check out our full review of Wrike features to get more info about the service or read on and learn more about workflows and dependencies.


The benefits of using Wrike’s Task Dependencies

The rationale behind task dependencies is to link apparently unconnected activities in the same workflow chain, so that we could follow when, how, in what order, and by whom they’re being completed. For companies with project-exclusive operations and delivery teams this may as well be the most value-adding Wrike feature. Plus, the whole concept is flexible enough not to limit the user from adding/removing tasks when needed.

Basically, there are two main scenarios that would require a Wrike user to trigger task dependencies:

Auto-adjusting the order in which tasks are about to take place

If you’re not exactly running a deadline committed business, you will appreciate the possibility to move tasks back and forth on the timeline simultaneously with your project updates. Once the project takes few days less/more than what has been planned, task deadlines will follow accordingly. This doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t be able to tackle prioritization or shift tasks manually when shortening/prolonging their duration, which eventually ends up saving the bucks you’d spend implementing changes upon delivery.

Spillover effect on accomplishment

One of the most common problems in digitized project management is running a disconnected team, and thus being unable to trigger action right after a task has been completed. We’re not denying there are teams where everyone is on the same page, but unfortunately, we know there are more of those where managers rely on their team members to signalize delivery.  

Instead of waiting for a green light to proceed, you can use Wrike’s up-to-bat emails to keep an eye on task progress, and adjust dependencies in a way which would empower a spillover effect on accomplishment. As soon as Agent 1 completes the task he was in charge of, Agent 2 will receive an email incentive to start working on his own, and that’s exactly how Wrike perfects and accelerates project management.

Obviously, dependencies won’t work that well with every project, as there will be deadlines that can’t be postponed just because an agent has been procrastinating for most of his working time. As you will read further on, Custom Workflows are easier to manipulate in that aspect, as there will be no need to reorganize workflows each time a delay happens. On the other hand, those believing that task dependencies can help them formalize and improve project management should definitely consider it, and learn more about Wrike metrics such as risk management and critical paths. If you need a viable Wrike alternative capable of handling dependencies in a similar way we advise you to check out list of popular competitors.

The pros of relating tasks in dependency chains

  • Fairly disciplined timelines where delivery milestones and due dates are easy to anticipate
  • Transparent task & responsibility assignment (all agents know what, when, and how to do it)
  • Layered insights on complex PM initiatives, where even tiniest personal contributions are being followed (ideal for partners and freelance coworkers)
  • A Baseline Chart that compares task accomplishment to previously set and estimated goals
  • Ideal for relating fewer dependent tasks with up-to-bat notifications

The cons of relating tasks in dependency chains

  • Being dependent on strict PM practices and collaboration agreements for each timeline
  • Demand for constant monitoring and premature planning
  • Extra efforts to accommodate unanticipated approvals and alteration with ongoing projects

The benefits of using Wrike’s Custom Workflows

Many Wrike reviews praise the software’s custom workflows which can be leveraged for more flexibility, and refer to giving tasks a special and unique status regardless of the projects. There are two main reasons why you should consider using Wrike custom workflows:

Storing information

If you’re running a business involving content creation by multiple contributors, relating tasks in dependencies may end up wasting more time than simply storing the file you’ve created. Wrike allows you to attach docs to common tasks, so that the next person from the line would know when to start working on it. The best part of it is that you can do this infinitely, changing only the assignees and status for the task in question. Wrike makes this easy with its file versioning features, because it stores all important content and its new versions in a single, universally accessible location.  

When transited from one contributor to the other, files can be complemented with commenting and description fields, so that every following person would know what changes have already been made. If necessary, you can also consolidate all versions in a single task, making sure that the most recent version will appear first.

Regaining control over progress

Wrike streamlines most processes involved in project management, but can’t foresee all necessity to switch steps, means, or people as needed prior to delivery. As tricky as they are for productivity, mess and duplication are common and perfectly normal in all companies, and tend to become even worse when there is no prescribed path and dependency chain to follow.

Custom flows allow users to easily bounce from one task status to the other, and move back and forth undisturbed, assigning people upon need. Content generation is once again a great example: The first thing agents do is to come up with ideas, and then draft samples and revise them multiple times before the final version is approved and posted. In such case, there is no chance to accurately predict how many revisions will be necessary, or how content will move from one hand to the other. With custom flows, you can easily include all phases as they happen, by simply changing few fields at the current stage. If you’re wondering which popular apps work best with that approach our comparison of Asana vs Wrike may be of interest to you.

The pros of customizing your workflows

  • You can manage your projects in a flexible way
  • You can use your Dashboard for in depth reporting, so that you will know what needs to be reviewed or approved at any moment.
  • You can keep your workspace free of fuss, because adding and removing tasks has never been easier.
  • All contributors have access to progress markers, and can trigger an immediate status update meeting.

The cons of customizing your workflows

  • A change in the task’s status won’t automatically trigger a change in the due date, and you’ll have to import all edits manually to ensure the next steps won’t be affected
  • The task’s status is also not tied to assignees and performers, meaning that the manager must remember who is in charge of what, or assign people one by one as the task goes from one stage to the other.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. From pitch deck to exit strategy, he is no stranger to project business hiccups and essentials. He has been involved in a few internet startups including a digital route planner for a triple A affiliate. His advice to vendors and users alike? "Think of benefits, not features."

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