But I still see a few common, problematic tendencies that create confusion for new Wrike users over and over again. Use these tips to avoid the typical hiccups and get the most out of Wrike from day one.
Problem 1: Creating "Orphaned" tasks
When users create a new folder, they might assume it's automatically shared with everyone. Or they simply forget to share certain folders. You need to manually share them with your chosen colleagues.
If you assign a task to someone without sharing its parent folder, the task will show up in that person's workspace as an "orphaned” task. Since the parent folder wasn't also shared, the recipient can't see it. So the shared task will appear to be homeless — a lone task in the root folder of the account.
Orphaned tasks cause two problems:
1. They're often forgotten. It's difficult for the assignee to find the orphaned task, since it doesn't appear in any existing folder. Generally speaking, the account's root folder is not a place people frequent. As a result, tasks that are there are often unseen or neglected, hindering the progress of the larger project.
2. There is no context. Assignees can't see how orphaned tasks fit into the larger picture of a project. Without the context that the parent folder provides, assignees can have a hard time figuring out which project the task belongs to, or how best to proceed.
TIP: Share folders as you create them. When you first set up your folder tree, share each folder with the relevant people. This way, when you create and assign tasks within that folder, you don't have to worry about orphaned tasks getting lost.
Problem 2: Vague task and folder names
Within a project, don't name subfolders with generic titles like "Content," "Social," or "SEO." Why? Because when a notification is sent out from a task within the "Content" subfolder, its title will look like this:
[Content] Update front page content
But does the task belong to Client A's content folder or Client B's content folder? Your colleagues will have to click into the email to discover the exact folder path, plus all the relevant information they need to proceed.
TIP: Include the project title in the subfolder name. For example, under a project folder such as "Client A," have subfolders that include the client name: "Client A Content," "Client A SEO," and "Client A Social." Now, any notifications that are sent will include the necessary context so your teammates can get right to work.
TIP: Start the name of each task with a verb. Instead of "Video," use "Create video" to make the task more specific. Then provide even more details in the task description. Describe the end result you want to achieve, so the assignee can then break it down into even smaller steps via a checklist within the task description.
Problem 3: Forgetting about filters
You run a search in Wrike and get the message: "X number of tasks in this folder, but nothing close to your needs." But what does it mean? Where's your task? Whenever you see that message, you're seeing the effects of one or both of these settings: status filters and show descendants.
Tasks can have one of four statuses: Active, Completed, Deferred, or Cancelled. A new task is active by default, and remains active until you manually change its status. Once a task is done, you mark it complete — and as soon as you do that, the task seems to disappear. It hasn't been deleted, it's just hidden from view because only active tasks appear in a folder's contents.
To see completed tasks (or tasks that have been cancelled or deferred), check underneath the folder name located at the top of the middle panel. You'll see the word "active."
TIP: Clear your filters. By hovering over the active tag, an "X" appears. Clicking on it clears the "active" tag and the filter is set to "status: any." All tasks residing in the folder will appear regardless of their status.
Even after you've cleared the filter, you might still see the message: "X number of tasks in this folder, but nothing close to your needs." Why? It's due to Wrike's "show descendants" setting, which is located underneath the search bar in the middle panel. Sorting tasks into subfolders can help keep work organized, but it can also hinder visibility. The trick to see into subfolders is the next tip.
TIP: Click "Show Descendants." Clicking "show descendants“ allows you to view all tasks within a folder and its subfolders. By clicking "hide descendants," the default setting is restored and only tasks in the parent folder are shown.
Bonus Tip: Task filters and "show descendants" are two settings that only need to be changed once every session. For example, if we've cleared the "active" filter in a folder to see tasks that are "status: any," this setting now carries over to all the other folders we click into during the same session. Once we log out and log back in, our status filters will be reset to "active," and folders will no longer show descendants.
Problem 4: No "next action" for overdue tasks
Wrike is great for allowing visibility into project progress, seeing which tasks are complete or overdue. But this transparency only works if everyone keeps tasks updated. When a task is overdue, you need to either reschedule it, mark it complete, or delete it altogether. In other words, overdue tasks shouldn't be left hanging.
Overdue tasks without "next actions" tend to fall through the cracks. If one person stops updating their progress, colleagues will turn to other channels to get the updates they need. Before you know it, everyone will revert back to email threads and chasing down face-to-face status reports. In the long term, fewer and fewer of your teammates will log onto Wrike, hindering your team's organization and collaboration. Besides, logging in every morning only to see a long list of overdue tasks sitting on the Dashboard widget can be pretty demoralizing.
TIP: Use Dashboard widgets wisely. There are two default widgets that are perfect for this: "My Overdue" and "Overdue by you." To add them to your Dashboard, simply click the three dot menu next to the word "Dashboard" and select the appropriate checkboxes.
The "My overdue" widget contains all the overdue tasks that you're responsible for, while "Overdue by you" shows all the tasks you've created that are overdue. It's a useful tool that project managers can use to keep track of tasks they've created or assigned to others.
Once you get the hand of it, Wrike is quite intuitive and easy to use. By following these tips for success, nothing will trip you up.
Please let us know in the comments below what other "mistakes" or "misconceptions" you or your team members experienced when first using Wrike. It will serve as a great reminder for other new Wrike users!