Everything's gonna be...all-wrike!

Posted by Mike Stephens

Mike Stephens

Mike Stephens

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Have we finally found the perfect project management tool? It’s a good question that I don’t yet know the answer to but I will share my story about the journey I haven been on in investigating different tools and how I came to select Wrike as the project management tool for our digital design agency.

Getting Started

This journey started back in February of this year when I joined the Ayup team. I came from a background of larger organisations where Microsoft Project was the software of choice, supported by a plethora of Microsoft Office tools.

Ayup were using JIRA and adopting an agile approach to Project Management. The developers loved JIRA….me and the designers, not so much! I struggled to understand the best way to structure projects so that I could track the progress. I missed my gantt chart view and dare I say it, even my excel spreadsheets. I would add all the tasks into JIRA for the developers to use then I would create a timeline schedule in excel so I could see when the project would be delivered. This was a massively tiresome and onerous administrative task as every time something was delayed or moved then I had to manually amend my timeline in excel. I quickly realised this was not a viable, long term solution.

So now that I had some control over all the projects, albeit, with a lot of administration and manual intervention, I needed to investigate a more efficient, long term solution. I had to be careful not to just look for a MS Project type solution and actually find something that was right for Ayup:

  • Geared around small teams
  • Helped us to organise our work
  • Increases efficiency
  • Improved longer term view of scheduling

So, keeping the above points in mind, the search began!

Thus started the trawling of the Internet for Project Management software options – of which there are many! From searching “best PM Tools for design agencies” to “the best PM tools” to “top 10 PM tools” etc, etc, etc, I had literally hundreds to choose from. Some were discounted as too complex, some too pricey, then others for being too basic or simple. After much research, I finally decided to test Wrike.

One of the temptations of Wrike was that I could trial it for free. Perfect, or so I thought… The reality of actually trialling one piece of PM software whilst still maintaining all the other tools we were currently using was easier said than done. I couldn’t just put everything into Wrike as the trial might prove that it was not suitable so then I’d need to revert everything back to JIRA so I selected a couple of projects to play around with.

The Wrike team were really helpful and answered my many questions, through the handy instant chat feature. After a number of extensions to the trial, I was finally ready to recommend Wrike as the solution to Ayup.

Where are we now?

We’ve now been using Wrike for about 4 weeks and I’ve managed to input all projects with tasks. After a bit of trial and error, I have found a way of structuring the projects to satisfy all our needs.  There is a useful feature that allowed me to export existing tasks from JIRA to excel and then into Wrike therefore allowing me to have all the current work in one place.

Already I feel that I have improved control of the projects through the various useful views – table / timeline / list. And the reporting features are pretty nifty too, as well as providing a snapshot of the project data online, you can export to excel to analyse further.

Happy Ending?

Well, from my PM perspective, I am happy bunny and the team find it simple to view their tasks, log time, provide and request updates. From a techy perspective, it lacks some of the features that JIRA had so our developers are learning new ways to work out some of those gaps. So is it a happy ending? Too early to say but definitely a positive start with Wrike.