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Wrike Tips & Tricks

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What’s the best Gantt chart maker? 3 types of tools
Project Management 10 min read

What’s the best Gantt chart maker? 3 types of tools

Here, we’ll show you the software people commonly use to build Gantt charts, with an introduction to some of the best Gantt chart makers on the market.

Wrike employees on how they use AI to reinvigorate their hobbies
Project Management 5 min read

Wrike employees on how they use AI to reinvigorate their hobbies

AI is not just for work. Our team members report how they use AI tools in their personal lives, from entertaining their kids to boosting their interior decorating skills.

New series: How Wrikers use AI in their professional and personal lives
Project Management 7 min read

New series: How Wrikers use AI in their professional and personal lives

We’re revealing how our team members at Wrike use AI to increase their productivity, save time, and have a little fun.

How to create an approval workflow for your team
Project Management 10 min read

How to create an approval workflow for your team

A great approval workflow helps your whole team work smoothly and efficiently. Here’s how you can create an approval workflow that’s customized to your needs.

Championing Change: Casey Shew on the Secret to Perfecting Processes
Wrike Tips 5 min read

Championing Change: Casey Shew on the Secret to Perfecting Processes

Welcome back to another episode of Championing Change, our blog series designed to give you an inside look into the project management processes of real Wrike customers.  The goal of this series is to highlight the ways Wrike users are leaning on specific Wrike features to increase adoption, improve efficiency, enable transparency and visibility, and move their organizations closer to their business objectives. That’s a wordy way of saying we’re nosy, and we love learning how other people use Wrike — it’s one of the best ways to pick up new Wrike tips and tricks.  We hope this series opens your eyes to new ways you can use Wrike to improve your own processes or make your life that bit simpler. If you missed the inaugural edition, you can catch up here with Jennifer Mariotti, Global Head of Creative and Design at media company Circana.  This week, we sat down with Casey Shew, who serves as Online Learning Solutions Architect and Project Leader, as well as Technical Solutions Lead, at eCornell. eCornell is Cornell University’s external education arm, offering online professional and executive development to students around the world. eCornell has over 100 professional certificate programs in a variety of disciplines, including project management, marketing, finance and business, and leadership. Casey has a complex role that involves mastering processes for eCornell. He spends his days identifying and implementing novel technologies and techniques within learning programs, collaborating with course development and program delivery groups to enhance efficiency, recommending creative solutions and plans for using new tools, and helping create reusable templates in the company’s project management system.  In his quest to improve efficiency at eCornell, Casey has become a natural proponent of a critical platform, Wrike, which he uses to design and implement effective processes across the campus.  Try Wrike for free Migrating to Wrike was “a breath of fresh air” eCornell previously used Jira for project management, but migrated the course development team to Wrike to align better with their processes.  “Given that this team’s project management processes were more aligned with traditional Waterfall project management methodologies than Agile methodologies, by and large migrating to Wrike was like a breath of fresh air for their use case,” Casey explained.  He also credited the smooth transition to having several admins onboarded into Wrike first, giving them a head start on adapting processes having already familiarized themselves with the platform. “There’s almost always skepticism when a new piece of software is introduced to solve a difficult problem — and rightly so! Software is often a shiny new toy that can be used as a distraction from complex challenges.” Casey said that within the admin team, it helped to ensure that several people were “versed in taking a business analyst approach to adapting processes to software.” He explained that Wrike’s capabilities are typically able to adapt and absorb a team’s workflows, but “the roadblock is often less about the capabilities of the software and more about the difficulty of understanding and translating processes into the software effectively and, most importantly, holistically.”  From his experience, he learned to ensure that teams take a thorough approach to setting up projects. “Do not skip the requirements gathering stage of bringing a new process or team into Wrike — this is where you can set the project up for success.”  Features that increase visibility Every Wrike user has favorite or most-used features. Personally, I’d be lost without my dashboard telling me what’s my most urgent task every day. Well, eCornell is no different. Casey specifically called out the tools that allow individual users to manage their tasks at scale more efficiently, such as dashboards, reports, and calendars.  “These tools enable us to set up views that centralize and organize tasks from a variety of projects into one place, for easy visibility and triage,” Casey said. “We manage many projects at once so these tools Wrike provides are critical in managing at scale across projects.” eCornell’s teams also rely on Wrike to help them cut down on time spent in meetings or updating stakeholders by including critical information about a project in fields with shared visibility.  “Task descriptions, comments, and custom fields definitely reduce the need to reiterate that information as frequently as would be needed otherwise,” Casey explained. This visibility also reduces the risk of duplicative work while building a broader shared understanding among teams. Using Wrike’s additional resources While Casey has incredible knowledge of how Wrike can help the wide variety of teams at eCornell, he knows where to head when he’s looking for more information. “I leverage the help center regularly both to educate myself and provide educational resources for others on features we are utilizing,” he said.  When an issue arises, he heads straight to the top — of our customer service, that is. “The request submission process is also very smooth and I appreciate how quickly I get responses to issues that might arise,” he explained.  Casey also pops onto the Wrike website regularly to stay abreast of any new features or use cases being released or highlighted. “I always check the release notes each week for relevant features that may benefit the various teams I work with that use Wrike,” he said.  “I’ve been very pleased to see the enhancements coming to the native automation engine in the recent months as well, and look forward to seeing that engine becoming more and more powerful in the coming years.”  And we look forward to delivering more powerful features, from AI to workflow management and beyond, in the coming years.  If you’re interested in bringing Wrike to your team, start a free two-week trial and take a few of Casey’s tips on board to promote efficient processes and improve your change management process for wider adoption.  Try Wrike for free

Wrike in Action: Check Out Our Uniquely Powerful Customization
Project Management 7 min read

Wrike in Action: Check Out Our Uniquely Powerful Customization

Discover why Wrike’s customizable platform is the most powerful on the market, delivering versatility as well as scalability, governance, and turbocharged efficiency.

Wrike Delivers Unprecedented Transparency to Global Solutions Provider Syneos Health®
Wrike Tips 7 min read

Wrike Delivers Unprecedented Transparency to Global Solutions Provider Syneos Health®

Learn how Sherrie Besecker of Syneos Health harnesses Wrike’s power to unite multiple teams, streamline project management, and achieve unprecedented transparency.

Introducing Our New Customer-Focused Series: Championing Change
Project Management 3 min read

Introducing Our New Customer-Focused Series: Championing Change

What we hear time and again from our customers is that they love to learn how other people use Wrike. While we’ve shared hundreds of organizational use cases and customer stories that give you a macro perspective of how Wrike can help your company thrive, we know our customers also want to know the nitty-gritty details of how Wrike will affect their team’s day-to-day workflows.  So today we’re introducing a new series called Championing Change, where we get an inside view into the specific ways Wrike impacts people’s daily work. We’ll highlight the features each user relies on to increase productivity, eliminate roadblocks, and create processes that make their work lives easier.  Whenever I’m on a Zoom call with a colleague and they offer to share their screen to show something they’re doing in Wrike, I’m fascinated. Watching someone else in action using Wrike is simply the best way to imagine how you can use it to your advantage. Even working at Wrike, we benefit from gathering ideas for new use cases from our colleagues, and we’re excited to share the ways you can too.  To kick off the series, we get a peek inside Jennifer Mariotti’s Wrike processes. Jennifer is the Global Head of Creative and Design at Circana, a media company with around 5,000 employees. She did considerable research into work management platforms that would work best for her creative teams. When her team doubled in size, she was able to easily onboard new team members to Wrike — an experience that left her impressed with the platform’s ability to scale when necessary.  In her day-to-day work, Jennifer leans hard on Wrike’s dashboards to create seamless workflows with high visibility into her teams’ workloads and progress. And as part of a creative team, she uses Wrike’s in-app proofing tools so she doesn’t have to download files, mark them up, then re-upload to send them on for approvals.  We encourage you to read the full infographic to learn more about how Jennifer uses Wrike’s project management tools to help her creative team deliver results.  And check back regularly for more insight into how our customers use Wrike in our new Championing Change series!

Wrike in Action: How Wrike Lightspeed Powers Our Professional Services Team
Project Management 7 min read

Wrike in Action: How Wrike Lightspeed Powers Our Professional Services Team

Learn how Wrike Lightspeed powers Wrike’s professional services, helping the team deliver game-changing results to teams, departments, and organizations around the world.

4 Must-Read Resources for IT and Enterprises
Project Management 3 min read

4 Must-Read Resources for IT and Enterprises

Discover four key resources that prove Wrike is the perfect all-in-one solution for IT and enterprises, combining trusted security, accelerated delivery, and streamlined operations.

5 Top Resources for Project Management Offices 
Project Management 3 min read

5 Top Resources for Project Management Offices 

Centralize your operations, align strategy with execution, and deliver projects on time, every time, with Wrike’s five must-read resources for PMOs everywhere.

8 Must-Read Resources for Professional Service Teams
Project Management 5 min read

8 Must-Read Resources for Professional Service Teams

Drive profitable growth, deliver better outcomes, and make your clients happier than ever with eight vital resources for modern professional services teams.

Wrike in Action: How Wrike Professional Services Leveled Up Our Marketing Teams
Marketing 7 min read

Wrike in Action: How Wrike Professional Services Leveled Up Our Marketing Teams

Discover how Wrike’s professional services team upleveled our marketing operations, increasing productivity, boosting efficiency, and helping us do the best work of our lives.

Step-By-Step Process How To Build a Wrike Request Form
Wrike Tips 5 min read

Step-By-Step Process How To Build a Wrike Request Form

Work requests can be big, or small, come in via email, direct message, conference call, and of course, the most dreaded — the "pop-in" request. With a variety of channels, it can be chaotic and difficult to keep track of everything and what projects are high priority. Not anymore with Wrike’s custom request forms. What are Wrike request forms? Wrike's request forms help you automate your work intake, route all requests to one place from internal and external customers, and ensure requesters provide the information you need. Translation: you have more control and can kickstart work immediately. Request forms don’t just streamline work intake, they also enable you to create tasks, workflows, and entire projects automatically — saving you and your team hours of time. Wrike request forms can also launch blueprints, which are templates for new work items and are designed to replicate recurring tasks such as writing a new blog post or press release. During this process, all necessary tasks, owners, and due dates are automatically created as well. When you create a project from a blueprint via the request form, project progress settings are preserved, along with the date and custom field rollup settings and the statuses of any subitems.  In the end, request forms and blueprints both increase efficiency, helping you save time and eliminate admin work so that you can start focusing immediately on more impactful work. How to build request forms in Wrike Step 1: Navigate to the space where you want to create a request form Step 2: Click the gear icon in the top-right corner Try Wrike free Step 3: Select Request forms Step 4: Click ‘Create a Request form’ if it’s the first request form in the space, or + Form if the space already contains existing forms. Step 5: Insert form information Enter a name for your request form (Optional) Provide a description for the form to help users understand what it’s for and when to submit it. Move to the right-hand panel and specify: The space your form should belong to Who should be able to see the form (everyone in your Wrike account, specific users and groups, or nobody in your account) If the form should create a new task or project, duplicate a task or project, or create an item from a blueprint Note: to create an item from a blueprint, first select ‘Duplicate task’ or ‘Duplicate project’ from this dropdown, then select ‘template task,’ and finally, the ‘blueprint’ tab. (Optional) Designate whether you want to enable a public link to the form (for non-Wrike users) and if it should trigger email notifications or contain a CAPTCHA security feature (Optional) Select the folder, project, or space where the items created via the form should be placed Note: If you don’t select anything at this step, the item created via form submission will be placed in the ‘Shared with me’ folder (Optional) Select a status for the task or folder that will be created after form submission. If you don’t select a status, tasks and projects created via request submission will have the first active status of the workflow applied to the folder, project, or space where they’re created. (Optional) Select a user to assign the created task or project (Optional) Set up an approval to be created via the request form (Optional) Add a prefix. You can set a prefix for tasks and projects duplicated via a request. The prefix will be a specified answer and is added to all associated subfolders, subprojects, tasks, and subtasks upon submission. Step 6: Customize form inputs After completing the steps above, click + Add question Select the question type you’d like to add from the dropdown menu Try Wrike free Step 7: Customization continued Enter your question and available answers (depending on the question type) (Optional) Enter ‘helper’ text to add additional information about the question. This information is visible to requesters but won’t appear on the resulting task or project. Click ‘Required’ to make a given question mandatory to complete and submit the form. You can also make questions and answers in your request form conditional, so requesters are redirected to different questions based on their form inputs. You can also map responses telling Wrike how to use certain answers in the created task or project Publish or save your new request form How will you use Wrike request forms to organize work?  For more details and to learn more about Wrike’s request forms, visit our help center. To set up an approval process in Wrike, please take a look at this how-to article.

Customer Spotlight: Educational Insights’ “How I Wrike” Story
Wrike Tips 7 min read

Customer Spotlight: Educational Insights’ “How I Wrike” Story

Customers are at the heart of what we do at Wrike. Over the years, customers have provided feedback and valuable insights that have led to us releasing some of our best features to date. We love hearing their feedback and take every opportunity to highlight their experience and stories in case studies, testimonials, and our customer advocacy program Wrike Stars.  Today we’re highlighting Kelly Recinos, Project Coordinator for the creative department at Educational Insights, a 60-year-old educational toy company based in Torrance, CA that produces learning toys, games, and educational materials. What department do you work in and how is your team structured? KR: I’m the Project Coordinator for the creative department. We recently went through a massive growth spurt, which inspired us to look closely at our processes as we brought in new talent. We had Wrike blueprints already created from the previous year's production cycles, so we dove right into process mode and built RACI charts for each type of asset we generate. We spoke with the stakeholders in every process and got their feedback. I then updated our request forms and blueprints to mirror more closely what actually happens during development. I use Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed custom fields in the blueprints to add the roles our stakeholders hold in each project. Since the infusion of new talent, we now have a brilliant copywriter and two widely skilled creative teams. Our digital team creates assets for marketing, social media, eCommerce, video, photography, and our website. Our print team designs packaging, guides, and products in tandem with the product development team along with catalogs and sales collateral of every type. Our Sr. Creative Director guides our brand strategy and ensures our design aligns with product positioning. What is your job function? Describe a typical workday using Wrike. KR: I usually start every morning with my Wrike inbox. Most of the messages roll in before 9 a.m. and after 2 p.m. Clearing the inbox first thing in the morning gives me a few hours to attend to other priorities.  My inbox has three main priorities: Automated notifications: These alert the assignee (and me) of any potential risk. The triggers are tasks due in three days, approvals in review for three days, and anything overdue. New requests: We have a request form for each type of asset we create. I verify that we have the information needed to get to work right away. I either assign the tasks to the designers or hand them off to the design managers to alert them of anything new. Questions, comments, and general project management: After the first two priorities are addressed, I review all other messages that require my response or feedback so that work can continue moving forward. After clearing my inbox, then it’s meetings, non-Wrike communication, and general project management. I spend a little time each day reviewing allocation so we can reassign tasks if necessary. For that, we’ve just started using Wrike effort to track capacity in our teams. At the moment we estimate, but I expect to track real numbers by this time next year.  Next, I check in with Wrike Stars to hear about updates and see what the black belts are up to. I get the best ideas from the workarounds and processes posted in Community. The rest of my time in Wrike is spent building or learning to refine tools and features. Try Wrike free Which Wrike features do you feel most comfortable using or most knowledgeable about? KR: I love a really robust automated request form! Anything that provides the information we need to get right to work without multiple rounds of clarifying questions — that’s my kind of feature.  The project intake process is wonderful, but Wrike’s approval feature is what sold us on the platform four years ago. The ability to assign specific approvers to review a file with a deadline and notifications is helpful. An asynchronous review platform with tools to mark up the file and comments linked directly to the marks on the file? That’s a game-changer. The approval feature easily cuts 25% off the time it used to take us to review designs. Having all comments collected in iterative versions is the icing on the cake.  In the last six months, I have become a huge fan of Spaces. Each department now has a dedicated Space for better access in finding their files. Users can now see specifically what they need to see and not an avalanche of all the projects and tasks of the last four years. Since Wrike is very robust and includes a ton of useful functionality, I always build a “How to Use Your Space” guide with screenshots showing their views and tools. What are 2-4 examples of processes you use Wrike to support? KR: Our new product design work is seasonal. We start working on the new product line in March for release in September. Late summer is extremely busy as we are finishing packaging and product and submitting every piece for approval. At Educational Insights, 95% of our approvals happen in Wrike, with the final sign-off meeting being face-to-face with the executive team.  As we are finalizing the new product line, we are ramping up the marketing launch. Photography, video, eCommerce pages, website landing pages, GIFs, giveaways, every type of marketing asset, and thousands of words of marketing copy are captured and managed in Wrike. And that’s just the new product!  The digital team is working on these marketing assets for our existing product year-round. Our OEM team creates “exclusive” versions of our products for big retailers. OEM projects have a concept phase and a design phase so they needed a Space due to their interrupted product cycle. We create concept artwork the sales team presents to buyers at big retail stores. The concept project sits until we hear from the buyer. If the project is picked up, the concept goes to development immediately. The OEM team Space has a calendar for meetings, reports, folders for each product phase, and their user guide. When we have a very big project outside of standard production, I create a Space for it, so it doesn’t get mixed into the standardized requests.  So far this year, we’ve designed the interior of our new office, written an enormous brand book, and launched a robot pet (Meet PYXEL!) each with its own dedicated Wrike Space. This year we started with Wrike Analyze and I spend as much time as possible learning how business intelligence streamlines project management. Recently, I earned the Wrike Report Mastery Silver certification and build analytics boards of all sorts looking for the best visuals to illustrate the work we’re doing. Try Wrike free Which Wrike features or use cases do you want to learn more about? KR: Custom item types, in particular, because I use a recurring meeting template that creates three active tasks at a time. I created a meeting workflow and when I change the status to Next Meeting, a message is sent to the managers so they can add to the agenda.  I’d like to create Custom item types for some of our quick-turnaround asset requests to make them simpler and differentiate them from other tasks. I need to see examples of ingenious Custom item type templates on their own, not just in Space templates.  I also want to keep up the continued development in dashboards and analytics board widgets. I haven’t even started to use all the fantastic new updates added this month, but I will because creating clean, visual stories for my stakeholders is critical to my success. How do you Wrike? Want to join Wrike Stars or be featured in a customer spotlight story? Join our exclusive customer advocacy program that celebrates top supporters! Once you’re a member, you can earn points, badges, and rewards by completing fun activities, participating in the Wrike Community, and amplifying the Wrike brand.

How Brand Management Teams Can Leverage Wrike to Achieve Great Results
Wrike Tips 7 min read

How Brand Management Teams Can Leverage Wrike to Achieve Great Results

For a business to thrive, effective brand management has become more important than ever. Brand managers, in particular, are tasked with overseeing all aspects of a company's brand, including its identity, reputation, and positioning in the market. To achieve success, these professionals need to be highly skilled at collaborating with team members across different departments, managing tasks and projects, and tracking progress toward goals.   Try Wrike for free Understanding the Role of Brand Management Teams Brand management is an essential aspect of business strategy, as it allows companies to build and maintain a strong brand identity while increasing their client base. The brand management team plays a crucial role in developing and executing strategies that will ultimately establish a consistent brand presence across all touchpoints.  Effective brand management requires a deep understanding of the company's values, mission, and target audience. The brand management team must work closely with stakeholders from across the organization to develop messaging, visual assets, and marketing campaigns that resonate with the target audience.  Well-managed brands will be viewed as more trustworthy, reliable, and authentic. This directly translates into increased revenue and a superior customer experience. On the other hand, poorly managed brands will risk losing their credibility, and this comes to the detriment of their sales and customer service. Key Responsibilities of Brand Managers The brand management team must execute several important responsibilities, including: Developing and maintaining brand guidelines and style guides: Guidelines and style guides must be consistent and align with the company's values and mission. Creating marketing campaigns: Marketing campaigns should align with the brand's mission and values, resonate with the target audience, and establish a consistent brand presence across all touchpoints. Monitoring brand performance: Conduct research to better understand audience preferences and behavior, as this will inform future brand-related initiatives and improve the overall customer experience. Collaborating with internal teams: Work together with internal teams, such as product development and marketing, for cohesive messaging and branding across all touchpoints. The primary objective is to establish and maintain a consistent brand presence. Managing budgets and resources: Allocate resources responsibly to specific campaigns and initiatives so that all brand-related efforts are cost-effective and aligned with the company's overall goals. Introduction to Wrike as a Project Management Solution Project management software is essential for brand management teams to work together efficiently and achieve the objectives of brand management. One of the most robust and effective project management tools for brand management is Wrike.  Key Features of Wrike A cloud-based project management tool that offers a wide range of features to help teams collaborate on tasks, track progress, and manage workflows, read on to learn why your company should consider adding Wrike to its arsenal. Wrike offers: Customizable workflows that can be tailored to fit the unique needs of different teams and projects Task management tools that allow team members to easily assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress Real-time collaboration features that make it easy for teams to work together, share ideas, and provide feedback Advanced analytics that provide insights into team performance, progress toward goals, and areas for improvement Integration capabilities with other tools and platforms, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, and more than 400 others. Benefits of Using Wrike for Brand Management Using Wrike as a project management tool can have numerous benefits for brand management teams, including: Increased efficiency and productivity through streamlined workflows and better task management Enhanced collaboration and communication among team members 360-degree visibility into project status and results Improved accountability and transparency Reduced risk of errors or miscommunications due to the centralization of project information   Try Wrike for free Streamlining Brand Management Processes with Wrike Wrike assists brand management teams in streamlining their workflows and achieving better results via improved collaboration, task management, and overall project visibility.  Improved Collaboration and Communication With Wrike, your team will be able to collaborate, share files, and communicate with each other in real time. Everyone will be on the same page regarding project objectives, timelines, and other important details. Brand managers can use Wrike to create tasks and assign them to team members with specific due dates. Employees can then collaborate on these agenda items using comments and file attachments, ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goal. Efficient Task Management and Prioritization Easily manage and prioritize tasks so that the most important work gets done first. Wrike’s customizable workflows make it easy to tailor task lists to fit a specific team's needs and create templates for recurring projects. Brand managers can conveniently set up a workflow in Wrike for creative projects. Begin with a brainstorming phase, followed by the design, review, and production stages. Moreover, each phase can be broken down into smaller tasks and assigned to team members with specific due dates, making it easy for everyone to stay on track and meet deadlines. Enhanced Visibility and Accountability Wrike provides clear and detailed visibility into the progress of each project. Brand managers can use the tool's dashboards to monitor progress and identify potential roadblocks or areas for improvement. Additionally, the tool's tracking and reporting features enable managers to generate reports, watch the team's progress, and evaluate performance over time. Brand managers can utilize Wrike to receive real-time updates on project status, see who is working on what, and quickly flag where bottlenecks or delays are occurring. They can also create custom dashboards with key metrics for each project, such as completion rate, total time allotted, and budget information, so that everyone can view project progress in real time. Tips for Implementing Wrike in Your Brand Management Team If you're interested in implementing Wrike for your brand management team, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition and easy adoption: Customizing Wrike for Your Team's Needs Take the time to customize Wrike for your team's unique needs, workflows, and processes. This will likely involve creating templates, custom fields, and workflows that are tailored to your specific projects. Integrating Wrike with Other Tools and Platforms Consider integrating Wrike with other tools and platforms with your existing tech stack, such as Slack, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams. This will streamline collaboration and make it easier for team members to stay on the same page, even if they're working in different tools. Training and Support for a Smooth Transition Ensure that you provide adequate training and support to all team members so that they feel comfortable using Wrike and understand its features and capabilities. Providing sufficient training and support will allow for a smooth transition and minimal disruption to workflows and processes. More brand management teams trust Wrike Brand management teams that are looking to improve collaboration, increase productivity, and achieve better results can benefit greatly from using Wrike as a project management solution. By using our system, teams can streamline their workflows, improve communication, and gain better visibility into project status and progress. With our advanced features and ease of use, Wrike is an ideal solution for brands aspiring to create a consistent and effective brand identity. Your company can be well on its way to greater success and improved results. Discover how teams use Wrike to deliver outstanding results. Test it yourself with a free trial of Wrike and experience the power of effective collaboration.   Try Wrike for free   Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

How to Implement Consent Mode on Your Website: Tips and Tricks
Productivity 10 min read

How to Implement Consent Mode on Your Website: Tips and Tricks

Data protection is a new trend. Users want to be confident that their privacy is the highest priority. Companies need to collect information about their users to make their products more targeted and personalized. Every target audience is limited. And it’s hard to create a target audience and make personalization better without the user’s data. Consent Mode is used to manage tags, scripts, or services’ behavior based on the given user’s consent. The default settings for Consent Mode and the banner requirements depend on the user’s location. There are different options regulated by the data protection laws, for example: GDPR — protects European Union users LGPD — protects Brazilian users CCPA — protects Californian users The main principles are the same: You have a default consent statement and, after the user’s reply, you change the data collection process based on the received answer. Many vendors on the market propose so-called out-of-the-box solutions, but several implementation steps are needed to start. These tools are named Consent Management Platforms (CMP) and mainly consist of two components: A consent banner that is shown based on the described rules inside the tool A consent mode mechanism that sends the user’s consent to your system In most cases, the blocking mechanism is not on the vendor’s side — meaning that you and your company are fully responsible for legal compliance. There are a lot of protective laws, but let’s concentrate on one of the most important ones: GDPR. You can’t collect a user’s data without direct consent if the user is from a GDPR country. The consent mode system works in the mode “fire tags/scripts/services — not fire tags/scripts/services.” Several options could improve the data collection process. The most significant is Google Consent Mode, Google’s solution for improving data collection techniques. Of course, it requires a separate implementation. It’s useful if you use Google infrastructure (Google Consent Mode, Google Analytics, etc.). Try Wrike for free Problematics In a nutshell, we want to collect as much information as possible, be legally compliant, and integrate both CMP and Google Consent Mode (GCM). But what challenges do we face? CMP integration with GCM is quite hard to prepare CMP and GCM work on different principles. Even if the selected vendor has a direct connection with Google Consent Mode, it means that you would have a delay between the page load and the consent received. There is also a problem with returning users. For example, let’s say a user from an EU country visited your website two days ago and gave their full consent. Today, they visited the website again. If you use the built-in GCM mechanism inside your CM platform, there would be the following steps: Default Google Consent Mode command for EU users (denied all the storages) Waiting for the CMP info about the user’s previous consent Google Consent Mode update command In this case, you‘ll either wait too long to fire Google and other tags or collect information that you could collect without consent (which would be extremely limited). And, of course, many vendors don’t have Google Consent Mode integration. There would be a delay between the CMP-sent events and the page load If you have several third-party services on your website, you most likely use ready container solutions like Google Tag Manager (GTM). GTM allows you to simply and quickly implement and change all the code snippets inserted on the website. CMP sends the events that help you understand the user’s consent level. This information influences the tags’ behavior change. That means the user’s consent information could only be sent after the GTM has loaded. It causes a delay of several seconds — and that’s crucial! Most tags should fire as soon as possible. Users could leave the site soon, and you wouldn’t be able to track them at all. No one can confirm that 100% of events are sent properly from the website to the GTM, which is the second reason why we cannot fully rely on this mechanism. There could be restrictions connected to the website structure, performance issues, etc There are some CMPs that (based on their instruction) can be implemented directly via GTM — “no developers needed,” as their advertising promises. In this case, the delay between the user’s consent statement and page load would be so high that data collection becomes meaningless. A CMP is also a third-party system that could negatively influence your website performance, which is crucial for SEO optimization, organic search, and user experience. For example, the site could take too long to load. Implementation issues Let’s come to the moment when you select the CMP. First of all, it doesn’t matter if it has direct implementation with GCM or not. Secondly, if the selected solution has a GTM installation option, don’t use it. Let’s discuss why. Why you shouldn’t implement CMP via GTM 1. GTM should be implemented at the head of the website. Unfortunately, this is not always so due to site performance, load time, security reasons, etc. Because of this, there’s a delay between the site loading and the GTM load. That leads to a delay between the site load and the CMP load, which means potential data losses. 2. We can’t control that GTM will be loaded in 100% of cases. That means you can’t control whether CMP will always work on your website. It could lead to data losses and a fine for a data protection breach. Even large companies like WhatsApp and Google have faced GDPR problems. The biggest fine in history was paid by Amazon in July 2021 to the tune of $877 million. 3. There would be a delay between the page load and banner appearance. The main problem is that you need to wait until GTM loads, run the CMP default state, and only after that set the default consent state. That’s why the delay between the Consent Initialization trigger and the Default CMP mode is too great. We should also be aware of the delay caused by GTM implementation. Those are the three main reasons why it’s not the best idea to implement CMP via GTM. Of course, if you have a simple site structure, you could experiment with different implementation issues, but my common advice is to implement CMP directly on the website. Process flow Let’s discuss the process scheme. The baseline can be found in the picture below. The main idea is to separate the data load process into two main branches: new users and returning users. At the same time, the new user group also should be divided into two parts: users without data collection restrictions and the opposite group. Consent mode loading process With the presented scheme, we achieve the following goals: We are fully law-compliant and collect data only for those users who consent. We manage Google Consent Mode and, based on the received data, the Google-based tags are updated automatically. We avoid delays between page load and data collection beginning. I guess that, at this point, we could call ourselves the Consent Heroes!   Try Wrike for free The processing speed: Hints and tricks One of the best ways to speed up the default statement load is to prepare the cookie on the website side, which contains the consent values for the user. There can be different cookie categories. For example, Google separates all cookies into five different buckets. It depends on your company’s needs and the expected user behavior. You need to carefully review the services, tools, and cookies you use and find the balance between the desired categories, implementation issues, and user experience. Be aware of the fact that you should represent each category on your CMP banner. Let’s consider the most classic situation with the three main groups: Requirement bucket: Strictly necessity cookies. The site can’t work properly without them Functional bucket: Supports the site’s functionality and common stat Advertising bucket: All services and functions connected to advertising The idea is to code the bucket values in a cookie that should send the values directly to GTM based on the user’s IP location. For example, you could code a functional bucket as “2” or “b.” In this case, we improve the loading speed because: We should not wait for the CMP full load on the website The default statement will be received before the container loaded trigger when the majority of tags should fire Another option is to unite the region-specific and basic Google Consent Mode default commands. There is an option to manage the Google Consent Mode default state for different locales, which means you need to wait for both events before any other tags can fire. There is a small trick that could improve this stage, which we’ll discuss in the next chapter. CMP and Google Consent Mode alignment: Step-by-step instructions Say you have selected the CMP solution that perfectly meets your needs. You conducted the tests, discussed the process with the developer’s team, and solved all the issues with GTM. What should you do next? How do you align the selected CMP with Google Consent Mode? Here is a simple step-by-step guide. 1. Create a custom template in GTM Templates are needed to create the custom tags and variable definitions, so others within your organization can use them alongside the built-in tag and variable templates. In the case of GCM implementation, there are two main options: Use the custom template created by one of the developers, GTM researchers, or vendors; or prepare it on your own. If you want to use a pre-prepared custom template, you need to carefully review it with security because the template will need to write and read access. Options: Pre-prepared custom template: The best template found during my GCM research is Simo Ahava’s template, which is pretty simple to use and adapts to your needs. Here’s his article with the full description. The Google Consent Mode template instruction: This has the same instruction but needs to be adopted. 2. Implement custom CMP on your website The basic implementation consists of copying and pasting the CMP implementation code. But two action items should be completed first: The place where you implement the CMP code. The basic instruction usually requires you to implement it in the head of your website code. But this can harm your website performance and SEO optimization, so it should be carefully checked If you decide to add a custom cookie to improve the processing speed, this is the right stage to do so. Remember, the main point here is to collect consent before the final CMP load and send it to GTM before the container-loaded event. In this term, we could launch the tags earlier and collect more data. 3. Turn on Google Consent Mode in Google Tag Manager Go to the admin interface and turn on the Google Consent Mode setting. You will see the following sign in your tags section. 4. Make small adjustments in the Google consent mode template Update the region formula. As we discussed earlier, every company wants to collect as much data as possible while remaining legally compliant. The more markets you have, the more laws you have to follow. For example, in some countries, you can collect data by default. However, there is a GDPR law in Europe, so the user’s data can be collected only after the user’s consent. That means you have to use region-based behavior: two separate default commands for the specified regions and all the others. The small trick here is to use the same consent default command for all the regions and make it region-based at the same time. There are two steps to consider: Create a custom constant variable and make it region-based. For example, create a constant variable with the list of countries where you want to specify the user’s behavior. Specify the values for Google Consent Mode storage with the help of custom JavaScript variables. The baseline here is to deny or grant them by default, but change them when the consent is updated. That’s why two commands are usually needed for region-based behavior. I suggest changing their value from the very beginning based on the geo-location rules with the help of the custom variable from the previous step. For example, you could use the following points to make analytical_storage denied or granted from the very beginning before the container has loaded — specify it as the custom JavaScriptvariable: Use CMP country value if applicable to set the storage value for granted countries where it’s normal for the new users. Compare the received value with the region constant variable created in the previous step. Update the value based on the customer-created cookies — this helps update its value for returning users earlier. For example, if the cookie collects “2,” that means that functional storage is allowed => analytics_storage = granted The structure of the default command tag will be the following: 5. Change your tag’s behavior based on the received consent There can be three main categories: Google-based tags Triggers: only the standard one (like pageview) Exception triggers (no need) Change their behavior based on Google Consent Status Google-based tags have the building consent. They will check their values and manage their behavior based on the received data. Here is the description for the Google Analytics tag. Event-based tags — tags that should fire if the specific event occurs: Triggers: Selected event Exception triggers: Triggers based on the denied CMP consent — category-based Fires if the event occurs and we have CMP consent Not event-based tags and not Google-based tags There are two main options: Model their behavior based on Google consent — in this case, they are not modeling their behavior but firing when Google consent was given Model their behavior based on CMP events — the same, but CMP-based 6. Double-check the client Id and ga object settings In some cases, Google Consent Mode use could prevent the loading of ga object and client Id values. Mostly it causes harm if you use the Google Universal Analytics version (or GA4 and Universal Analytics at the same time). To avoid data losses, add the trigger “ga object defined” to the connected tags. For example, the trigger could be created as the custom event trigger that should fire at any event when the ga_object variable is defined. These are the main steps that should be taken to implement CMP and GCM and, of course, to connect them. The next step is to start testing. The best indicator that something is wrong is Google Analytics data: both in the interface and the database if you use the Google Analytics data import (direct or via API). The best practice here is to prepare a list of key and additional metrics and add them to the control dashboard with alerting issues. After this very last step, you can finally be named the Consent Mode Hero! These steps can help you improve your data collection cycle, avoid data losses and page load delays, and eliminate GDPR problems. This article was written by a Wriker, in Wrike. See what it’s like to work with us and what career development opportunities we offer here. Also, hear from our founder, Andrew Filev, about Wrike’s culture and values, the ways we work and appreciate Wrikers, and more here. Try Wrike for free

How Wrike Puts Strategy, Goals, and Sprints in Sync
Productivity 10 min read

How Wrike Puts Strategy, Goals, and Sprints in Sync

A company with a big product or product portfolio has to work to synchronize strategy with the daily efforts of each employee. If teams act out of order, the strategy remains just a beautiful document. In this article, we’ll unveil how our company aligns goals at different levels, what goals are set at different stages of planning, and who is involved in planning. Wrike has three levels of product goals: Annual Quarterly Team-specific sprint goals At each level, there are employees who build processes and are responsible for achieving the goals. Strategy and annual goals Wrike has a company strategy and a product strategy that supports it. To understand how they relate, let’s look at an example. If a company wants to operate more in the enterprise segment, certain product changes should follow — that is product strategy. Company strategy is much broader. In addition to product changes, we need, for example, to change the way we hire people in the sales department, restructure marketing, etc. Company strategy is about which market segments we want to go into, while product strategy is about how the product needs to be changed to enter these segments effectively. Since product strategy and company strategy are closely related, their updates occur synchronously. We usually review the strategy once a year. Company strategy is the ​​responsibility of the executive team, in which the product organization is represented by the VP of Product. The executive team meets regularly and, as a result, defines the overall strategy of the company. That is how it becomes clear what we want to achieve as a company. The product team is less involved in this process: for example, the VP of Product can ask someone to work on a specific issue or prepare the necessary data. The product team is much more involved in product strategy. The VP of Product is responsible for this process and all product teams are engaged. To better understand the product strategy process, it is important to understand how our product team is structured. It consists of separate divisions (units). Each unit has its own leader. In this article, we will call them Lead Product Manager, but it can also be the Director of Product or Senior Product Manager. Within the units there are product teams, each headed by a product manager. The formation of the product strategy takes place in two directions: top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top. Top-to-bottom is the general vector of product development formed by the VP of Product. To do this, they use different input data: company strategy, general market trends, competitive research, reports from analytical agencies like Gartner, product sales analytics (e.g., stronger segments, growing segments, etc.). All this information helps us understand what to focus on. In addition, it allows us to understand our limitations. What resources can we invest in product development this year? What percentage do we need to spend on mandatory support processes, such as improving the technical platform and fixing defects? Top-to-bottom direction forms the framework within which concrete proposals for strategic initiatives need to be formulated. Bottom-to-top direction is ideas for strategic initiatives from the product team. They are formulated by Lead Product Managers but generally, they first consult with product managers from their unit. This is an opportunity for PMs to submit their ideas and participate in the formation of product strategy. When all proposals are collected, they are discussed at a series of meetings of unit leaders, where each idea is evaluated. We consider investment areas that will later be included in the product strategy according to different criteria. The prioritization processes are constantly refined and improved. For example, we can calculate the possible ROI from the implementation of some idea, see how it fits within the company strategy, and evaluate each idea according to ICE. After discussions and prioritization, the VP of Product analyzes the results and draws up the product strategy for the next year. The formed strategy first goes through a feedback loop. Lead product managers carefully study and discuss it, and then bring it to a meeting of all product managers. The output is a refined product strategy: Investment mix: This includes where and how much in percentage we will invest this year. High-level product goals of the year: An example of such a goal could be to release a solution for a new market segment or make the product cover some new big business needs. High-level goals serve as inspiration and usually turn out to be quite abstract in the sense that it is not at all obvious how exactly these goals can be achieved. There should be quite a few such goals. This year we have three of them. For each goal, we define a core metric on how we will measure success. Specific sub-objectives for each goal: These chart the path to the higher-level goals that we all believe in as a team. At the same time, this path is still formulated quite abstractly at the level of intermediate goals that we want to achieve, not specific features. For example, I’m currently in charge of a goal called “Improve Configurability of Platform.” A specific Lead Product Manager is responsible for each of its sub-objectives. Their task at the planning stage is to clarify the sub-objectives and, together with the product analyst, determine the metrics for those. We will work on the goal metric throughout the year, so for the metrics at the sub-objective level, we set quarterly goals. Quarterly Goals Quarterly goals stem from the sub-objectives defined during the yearly planning and may, to a limited extent, overlap with them. By the beginning of quarterly planning, we already have, in first approximation, Objectives (sub-objectives for top-level annual goals) and Key Results (goals for the metrics that we have defined for each quarter). But since the beginning of the year, some changes could have occurred, so some of the goals may be revised. We may decide not to work on some goals in the next quarter and instead focus only on part of the goals. There may also be additional new targets in a particular quarter. Like annual goals, quarterly goals are first discussed between the VP of Product and Lead Product Managers (who confer with their product management team). After discussing quarterly goals with unit leaders, the VP of Product presents quarterly goals at a general meeting of all product managers, answers questions, and collects feedback. The next task for product managers is to propose concrete initiatives that will help achieve this goal and the desired change in the metric. Ideas for initiatives are discussed within the unit with all product and development managers (after all, initiatives must be realistic). We hired unit managers in our company to be responsible for development within units. They help to plan how, where, and which teams to assign. Plus, the teams themselves can assess their capabilities and understand which initiatives they are ready to take on in the next quarter and which they are not. Ideas may also require discussion with other teams and units. Wrike is a large and complex product and you often need the help of other teams to achieve a goal. In order to properly formulate quarterly plans, it is necessary to take into account and calculate all these dependencies and agree on how we will achieve the overall result. After all discussions, plans are brought into the Wrike app, which is our main management tool. To make sure that we have the same understanding of what the plans turned out to be and why, a general meeting is held, at which the Lead Product Managers present the plans of the unit. The meeting is attended by all product managers and development managers, as well as everyone who wants to. Sprint Goals A specific team is responsible for sprint goals, including their product manager. All teams at Wrike work according to Scrum with a two-week iteration (very convenient when the planning cycle is aligned across the entire company). Specific processes can seriously differ from team to team. It has to be convenient for the team, while all the company requires is for each team to have a product increment at least once every two weeks that brings us closer to the common goal. The team as a whole builds sprint goals to achieve the quarterly goals that we jointly formulated for the quarter. Usually, the team highlights progress against quarterly goals on the Sprint Review. All teams try to set ambitious goals, so sprint goals are sometimes not met. We believe that this is not a big deal because the team is tasked to plan each sprint so that the unit gets closer to the overall quarterly goal. Planning tools We try to make the most of the Wrike app, at least for dogfooding purposes. You can build different levels and hierarchies of goals. We feed it annual goals, sub-objectives, quarterly plans with metrics, and even sprint goals. Goals can be viewed in different sections. For example, if a product manager plans sprints, they may not look at other goal hierarchies at all. At the same time, the connection between the levels is preserved and can always be traced or visualized. We use Wrike primarily for the implementation stage. The development of different options for plans and brainstorming is often done in Excel or Miro since those are better suited for working with unstructured data. Structure of goals in Wrike Company strategy (exec team) — annually Product strategy — annually. Driver — VP of Product Inputs: Company strategy Market data (trends, analysts, competitors, win/loss, etc.) Current investment mix Proposed areas of investments (Lead PMs in collaboration with PMs) -> evaluation Outcome: Investment mix Annual goals with metrics (three this year) Sub-objectives with metrics (e.g., improve configurability of the platform) Objective priorities Each objective has a responsible Lead PM who refines the definition and drives metrics discussion Feedback loop Quarterly goals: Sub-objectives for this quarter Suggested by VP Product, feedback loop Clarified metrics for the quarter — Lead PM + Analyst Proposed initiatives — PMs+teams, discussed with Lead PM, presented to a broader group Cross-unit dependencies resolving Sprint goal (Set by PM + team) This article was written by a Wriker, in Wrike. See what it’s like to work with us and what career development opportunities we offer here. Also, hear from our founder, Andrew Filev, about Wrike’s culture and values, the ways we work and appreciate Wrikers, and more here.

Do More With Less: Wrike Is Ready to Help You Thrive
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