Wrike vs Asana vs Productive: An In-Depth Overview of Popular Project Management Solutions
If you want to find out which project management tool is best for your agency, look no further than our detailed Wrike vs Asana vs Productive breakdown.
All three of these tools are popular and useful choices for supporting your agency’s project progress. However, depending on what exactly it is you’re looking for, whether simple collaboration or advanced agency management capabilities, exploring their features more closely is key to making the right software decision.
This is why we’ll do a direct analysis of Wrike, Asana, and Productive by taking a closer look at each of the tools and comparing them on a feature-by-feature basis. By the end of the article, we hope to bring you one step closer to successful project planning with agency and project management software.
Wrike vs Asana vs Productive: A Brief Overview
Looking at these three tools, at first glance it might seem that they offer many of the same key features. However, if you dig a bit deeper, both superficial and significant differences start to pop up. Let’s address the most glaring ones briefly before heading into a more in-depth analysis: What do these tools aim to accomplish? How do they do it?
Wrike and Asana are both project management software, meaning that they are designed to support your agency’s projects from start to finish. However, Productive is more accurately described as agency management software.
This doesn’t mean that Productive doesn’t help project managers execute their agency projects, but rather that it goes beyond that by targeting overall agency operations. Therefore, right off the bat, we could say that Productive is tailored to be a comprehensive software solution for your business:
The fact that Productive is agency-focused means that the whole ecosystem fits together so that there are fewer tools we have to pull together in order to do what we need to do.
To be more precise, some of the main features that both Wrike and Asana offer are project management, which includes time tracking and task management support, simple resource planning with workload visualization and capacity allocation, and reporting through shareable dashboards with real-time data. Additionally, Wrike offers some essential budgeting and invoicing support.
On the other hand, Productive supports agency management by providing all of the features mentioned above, with the addition of advanced financial forecasting capabilities and a streamlined CRM system in the form of an integrated Sales Pipeline.
Interested in finding out more? Keep reading for a more detailed description of each software solution.
Productive – The All-in-one Agency Management Software
Productive is an all-in-one agency and project management platform. It’s designed to support agencies of all shapes and sizes with their day-to-day operations, from tracking leads all the way to collecting post-project completion insights. A unique feature of Productive is its advanced budgeting and resource management support, which offers full control over your agency’s financial future with utilization and capacity forecasting capabilities.
Productive’s main purpose is to help agencies streamline their processes and save the time and effort spent on managing multiple tools by becoming their single source of truth. Users of Productive comment the following:
We used to have a project management tool, a time tracking tool, a support tool, a way we handled opportunities and sales-driven processes. Those were all separate tools that we had, and it wasn’t good. It also meant that all that data was being lost every time we switched between tools, or we had to find a way to normalize the data between them. And now, the fact that it’s all in one, it’s really a game changer.
Let’s get a quick view into some of Productive’s key features to show how it manages to unite multiple tools into one comprehensive platform.
Core Features of Productive
- Project management: Productive’s Project Management offers six customizable project views, including Kanban and Gantt, which help teams organize their work as it suits them most. Additionally, there’s the Time Tracking feature, with an integrated time tracker that can used on the desktop, the option to manually add your times, or even pull them automatically from your resource bookings. You can invite clients to your projects for free and cooperate directly on the platform, streamlining your communications. Productive also offers project and task templates for easy project initiation and execution.
- Budgeting: With Productive’s Budgeting feature, you can get full control of your budgets on a single platform, whether you’re working on fixed, hourly, or mixed-price projects. Productive offers support for retainers with automatic budget creation, and for complex projects by letting you split up your budgets along phases. Budgeting also enables automatic Billing and Purchase Orders, which simplify the administrative side of financial management and ensure that you’ve got all of the correct data in one place.
- Resource management: Productive’s Resource Planning lets agencies book their employees’ time and check their hiring needs even before taking on new projects with placeholders. Because Productive integrates leave management into its resource plans, you can accurately gauge your real utilization, and even forecast it. Additionally, you can also forecast your budget spend until project deadlines, as well as your profit and profit margins. All of this gives you the chance to make informed decisions based on timely data and get the most out of your agency’s resources.
- Reporting: Productive’s Reporting comes with a library of 50+ agency-focused templates that you can customize with your own parameters thanks to custom fields. You can get a visual representation of your data by choosing between six main chart types, such as column, line, or donut. You can create reporting dashboards that you can share with specific teams and teammates. Finally, by setting up a Pulse you can automatically get key reports in your email, or even add additional recipients to share them with other project stakeholders.
Two additional features that Productive offers are Sales and Docs. With Sales, you can track leads through the sales funnel, manage reasons for lost deals, forecast your sales revenue, and convert won deals into projects automatically. With Docs, Productive lets you include your documentation with your project activities so that you can tag teammates directly from pages and simplify how you collaborate and share information across project teams.
Integrations include: Xero, QuickBooks, HubSpot, Breathe, Zapier, Slack, Jira, Google Calendar, and more.
Productive also comes with a macOS and Windows and mobile app version, so you can stay up to date with your project whichever devices you prefer to use.
Why You Should Consider Productive
Consider the data presented by the 2022 SoDa Global Agency Landscape Report: as many as 31% of agencies feel their financial visibility is “shaky”. Furthermore, only 14% of agencies have an integrated platform that enables real-time analysis, and only 33% track their project gross margin. All of this goes to say that having a solid grasp on your project and agency finances can put you a step beyond the competition.
This is exactly why you should consider Productive as your ultimate agency management software: compared to most other project management tools, Productive offers increased financial visibility and real-time insights into key data.
Profit margins are very important for us. Before we started using Productive, it was very hard to keep track of profitability and utilization rates due to not having consolidated data. We were growing rapidly and we were already in two offices, so we knew we needed more transparency in our data.
Another notable benefit of Productive is the fact that it’s so comprehensive that it can centralize your activities in one place, helping you cut down on the number of tools that you’re using. This will not only make your team’s life easier but also help you minimize the costs of your software subscriptions.
In short, choose Productive if you want to find a go-to solution for most agency operations, as well as take your performance to the next level with advanced financial management.
Want to learn more about the power of financial forecasting? Check out the webinar below:
Consider Alternatives If…
You’re looking for essential task management, without any extra embellishment. Since Productive is a robust agency tool, it’s best suited for agencies that are ready to dig deeper into their workflows in order to optimize profitability and performance:
From a managerial point of view, the main benefit of the tool is seeing your profitability in real time. It’s there. We don’t have to calculate it or ask for financial reports from our accountant.
Generally speaking, this might make Productive more complicated in comparison to streamlined project management software. Although Productive offers excellent learning tools, with both written and video materials, as well as highly-praised customer service and success specialists that can help you set up your accounts, teams that are looking to be onboarded in a matter of hours might not find what they’re looking for here.
However, even smaller companies could do worse than consider Productive, as it’s a solution that will be able to scale with your growth – this means that you won’t have to switch tools and export all of your critical data during sensitive times. Another great thing about this particular agency and project management software platform is that it offers a 14-day free trial, meaning that you can try it out first, with no strings attached.
- Plans start with the Essential plan at $9 per user per month, which includes essential features such as budgeting, project & task management, docs, time tracking, expense management, reporting, and time off management.
- The Professional plan includes custom fields, recurring budgets, advanced reports, billable time approvals, and many more for $24 per user per month.
- The Ultimate plan has everything that the Essential plan and Professional plan offer, along with the HubSpot integration, advanced forecasting, advanced custom fields, overhead calculations, and more for a custom price.
- You can also check out the Enterprise Plan with custom pricing for companies that would include more than 50 active users per month.
Check out Productive with a 14-day free trial.
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Wrike – A Good Project Management Solution for Team Collaboration
Wrike is a project management platform that supports diverse agency teams in driving their efficiency, improving visibility, and delivering business outcomes faster. It offers core work management and collaboration features, as well as some additional support in budgeting and resource management. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of its features.
Core Features of Wrike
- Project management: Wrike offers workspace configuration and project visibility through four main project views, including Gantt and Kanban. Additional features that support project management are pre-built project templates and custom item types for tasks. Wrike also offers time tracking with a live timer, manual input, and timesheet locking feature.
- Reporting: Wrike’s reporting provides all of the essential features you would expect from collaboration software, including shareable, customizable dashboards and data visualizations. Wrike also lets you schedule reports so they arrive in your inbox, as well as manage multiple projects by comparing data with project portfolio tools.
- Resource management: Wrike offers key workforce planning features with resource booking and workload charts that help project managers spot uneven workloads. With Wrike, you can also track your hourly rates on the platform for essential project budget management and oversight.
Though Wrike offers integrations with various collaboration and communication tools, such as Slack, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Jira, it doesn’t yet integrate with popular accounting tools such as Xero or QuickBooks.
Wrike provides a macOS and Windows desktop app, and an application for mobile devices.
What Is Unique About Wrike?
The main benefit of Wrike is that you’re getting solid project management software that comes with fully-fledged collaboration and project tracking features, with the added benefit of essential resource management, budgeting, and automatic billing support. It can be a good choice for agencies that are just now starting to branch out into automatization and project management software.
Additionally, Wrike can be a suitable pick for startups, as it offers a scaled-down free version that includes task and project management only.
What Could Be Better
Although Wrike is a good starter solution for agencies, it doesn’t offer fully comprehensive agency management support. There is no built-in CRM solution, and users report that some features that could be expanded and handled with more depth are reporting, resource management, and budgeting:
The reporting capabilities of Wrike are limited. Even if you can see who is handling each task and the due dates, you cannot generate a detailed report with insight into project time, individual performances, and other metrics you might need for decision making.
Consider that in Wrike, budgeting is only available if you invest in the most advanced plan. Compared to Wrike, Productive builds your agency workflows on the basis of your budgeting, meaning that essential capabilities are available from the most affordable plan onwards. Therefore, for agencies that want to invest in their future by getting a handle on their financial health, Wrike might not be the most suitable option.
Check out how Wrike squares up against ClickUp: Wrike vs ClickUp vs Productive: An In-Depth Comparison
Asana – A Simple Project Management Tool for Balanced Workflows
Asana is a platform for managing and streamlining work between remote and cross-functional teams. It offers a simple and efficient way for IT, marketing, operations, and other types of diverse agency teams to achieve their project-related business goals.
Core Features of Asana
- Project management: Asana offers five different project views, which include Gantt and Kanban. Some specific functionalities that make task management simpler with Asana are custom labels, the notification inbox for project alerts, and the personalized tasks dashboard. Asana also provides time tracking with an embedded timer or manual entry.
- Reporting: Asana offers key functionalities for supporting project analytics, including reporting dashboards, a templates library, and the option for various data visualizations. You can also filter your reports and share dashboards with various teammates.
- Resource management: Asana helps agencies manage their team’s workloads with a real-time chart for visualizing capacity on a timeline, with filtering for specific people or projects. Additionally, you can easily reassign and rebalance your bookings to adjust workloads across team members.
Asana offers a wide range of integrations with a range of solutions that support agency operations. It also provides a native desktop app for macOS and Windows, along with a mobile version.
Why Is Asana So Popular?
Asana can be a great choice for teams that are looking for simple project management. With streamlined functionalities that include task management, collaboration, and efficient resource scheduling, it can provide support for various types of client projects, including those managed with Agile or Scrum.
Due to Asana’s simplicity, users might find that the user interface is also somewhat more streamlined in comparison to more complex software, which can be compatible with smaller teams and startups lacking experience with project management software platforms.
When & Why Agencies Shouldn’t Use Asana
Asana is not the most suitable solution for agencies that are looking for more advanced agency management support. A review by a Capterra user reports the following:
While Asana offers a lot of functionality, some users may require more advanced features for complex project management needs. Enhancements in resource management, Gantt charts, and more robust reporting might be appreciated.
Asana also lacks the ability to manage your project budgets and get advanced financial analytics and forecasting features. While this might not seem like a large minus for smaller agencies, this also means that Asana lacks billing support, which is a useful feature for businesses of all sizes. It also means that if you go with Asana, you’ll be missing out on tracking key agency data that can help you realize your growth potential.
Wrike vs Asana vs Productive: Feature-by-Feature Comparison
In the final section of our comparison guide, we’ll take a look at the key features that these tools share and compare them side by side.
- Project management: Asana, Wrike, and Productive all offer extensive project management support in the form of a time tracking tool, task management features, automated notifications, and various project views. Although all three solutions are a strong pick, some users have reported dissatisfaction with Asana’s inability to open a task in full-screen mode (Source: Capterra), while some Wrike users had issues with notifications disappearing instead of being stored in their inbox (Source: Capterra, G2). However, these differences are slight enough to say that all three tools can be a good choice for project management support.
- Budgeting: While Asana doesn’t offer much in the way of budgeting, Productive and Wrike both have certain budgeting software capabilities. Both tools let you monitor your billable vs non-billable hours, set hourly rates, get budget-related analytics, and generate invoices from the platforms. However, the two tools have different approaches, in that Productive offers the feature in its most basic pricing plans, while Wrike treats it as an additional feature for its most advanced business plan. Therefore, for agencies of all sizes who want to manage their projects with a larger focus on the financial side of their performance, Productive would be the best choice.
- Resource management: Asana, Wrike, and Productive all offer resource management in some capacity, including workload charts that help project managers visualize their resource capacity and balance allocation. However, two advanced features offered by Productive are built-in leave management and financial forecasting. Although both Wrike and Asana offer integrations for managing days off and absences, Productive lets you define and associate leave on the platform. Additionally, Productive lets you forecast financial metrics such as utilization, profit margins, and project budgets for robust financial management. Therefore, for advanced resource scheduling and management, Productive is your best bet.
- Reporting: Although all three tools offer reporting capabilities, users frequently mention that Wrike and Asana have certain cons in this area. For example, an Asana user mentioned that “reports that did exist were sometimes frustratingly incomplete” and that Asana should “provide more exhaustive reports” to give project managers a better idea of project performance (Source: Capterra). As for Wrike, a review by a Capterra user has mentioned that “customization options” are lacking, making it difficult to tailor data to specific agency needs. Productive might be able to resolve these issues by providing a large number of agency templates, with custom fields that help you add parameters not tracked by the platform. Due to this and the financial forecasting feature, our vote goes to Productive as the best choice for reporting, though all three types of software support it to an extent.
Learn more about how Productive supports agency reporting:
Wrike vs Asana vs Productive Takeaway: Which Tool is Best for You
Finally, after going in-depth into each of these three agency and project management software platforms, we’ll summarize our findings here.
Your choice between Wrike, Asana, and Productive will likely amount to the question of how robust you want your platform to be. If you’re looking for simple project management and you’re ready to supplement some missing features with additional tools and integrations, Asana is a fine choice. If you’re looking to address some of your agency’s financial considerations with budgeting and billing, and you’re ready to commit to a custom business plan, Wrike is a potential solution.
But, if you’re looking for comprehensive software that approaches management through a financial lens, you might want to go with Productive. With Productive, you can support your project management, resource planning, financial management, and simple sales tracking, all in one platform.
Interested in learning more? Book a demo with Productive today to find out how you can scale your business with an integrated solution for agencies.
Is Asana better than Wrike?
Whether Asana, Wrike or any other software such as Productive is the best solution for your agency will depend on your industry, your agency size, and your team composition. However, speaking generally, when comparing Asana vs Wrike, Asana’s streamlined approach to project management might be a better choice for smaller agencies or those with teams that are more used to thinking creatively, such as design agencies or marketing agencies. However, teams that are looking for software that has some advanced features such as budget tracking might want to opt for Wrike as the better alternative software.
Why is Wrike so good?
Wrike can be a good choice for agencies that are looking for comprehensive project management capabilities with built-in time tracking, essential resource management features that help manage larger teams across individual projects or different ongoing projects, and some basic budgeting capabilities in the more expensive plans. However, for more advanced financial management, a more all-in-one agency management software that supports forecasting might be more suitable, such as Productive.
Do project managers use Asana?
Project managers can use Asana to manage their projects in various ways, from setting up custom workflows to implementing popular methodologies such as Agile or Scrum. Asana offers multiple project views to support this, as well as custom task fields that can help you define your daily tasks and cooperate with the entire team however you best see fit.
What is the alternative to Asana?
There are many alternatives to Asana, such as Wrike for somewhat more advanced project management capabilities with basic expense tracking. Productive goes even further by serving as your source of truth for all your agency operations on a single platform, from sales tracking to advanced financial insights.
Does Wrike support Waterfall?
As a generalized project management software platform, Wrike can support various popular project management methodologies, including Waterfall. Some of Wrike’s features that support Waterfall’s sequential and planning-based approach to project execution are Gantt charts, workload charts, and task dependencies.
Is Wrike an Agile tool?
Although Wrike is not specialized Agile software, as a customizable solution for project tracking and management, Wrike can support Agile methodologies. Wrike helps managers organize their projects and manage tasks with Kanban boards with drag-and-drop task cards, create and prioritize backlogs, plan roadmaps, track sprints, and more.
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