Smartsheet vs Wrike: Different Ways of Viewing Workflow

Smartsheet Vs Wrike is a battle of the project management platforms.

Both applications aim to empower teams to collaborate and communicate effectively. How should you judge the success of these platforms? Well, it all depends on the demands of your project and to some degree personal preference.

However, all project managers would like a platform that:

  • makes communication simple and straightforward, reducing the amount of time needed in meetings;
  • gives a space for the sharing of ideas and essential questions, as well as a formal place to post important documentation;
  • visualises the whole project, with key dates and dependencies;
  • helps to make key staff accountable for work that needs completing;
  • reports, with access to real-time analytics.

If these are the criteria for a successful project management platform, let’s assess Smartsheet and Wrike to see how well they fair.

Smartsheet Features

Smartsheet is based on a spreadsheet interface, which makes it seem immediately recognisable. Each row is a task, and it is possible to assign the work, set a deadline and attached files to the row.

The project can then be viewed as a Gantt chart or as a Kanban chart, depending on your preference.


The sharing of your Smartsheet is as simple as clicking a sharing button, which sends permission to another via email to view your project overview. The option to share the whole sheet or share a row is smart. This means you can share a task, as represented by a row, or share the entire project dependent on the role of the recipient. There is also the option to publish to the internet as a read-only file or as editable files. This makes sharing your project simple.

There is also the option to enable notifications should any changes be made to the Smartsheet and emailed reminders as crucial milestones approach.

Idea and File Sharing

Idea and file sharing is as easy as writing a note and attaching a file. You can store documents by attaching them from your computer or Google Drive, OneDive, Box, Dropbox, Evernote and Egnyte. This file sharing is clever, as it keeps it relevant to the task and therefore automatically organises shared files. Adding notes is similarly straightforward. All comments and notes are equally attached to each row, keeping all ideas in a centralised place.

Project Visualisation

Smartsheet is clever in allowing multiple views of the same information. The spreadsheet interface itself acts as a to-do list, with all tasks broken down by row. However, there is also the option to view this in cards, as a Kanban chart, or as a Gantt chart, with the dependencies laid in shaded squares.

In card view, there is the option to include custom fields, images and colour coding to focus the team on what they need to know or do. You can move the cards around, categorises them into “lanes” as Smartsheet calls what others would call lists. There is also the ability to prioritise cards by dragging and dropping them into a specific order, which is mainly handy if you are in the midst of an Agile sprint!

In the interactive Gantt chart, you can create subtasks that can expand and collapse by clicking on the shaded area. You can also create dependencies by dragging and dropping shaded areas along the timeline of the chart. Dates are also reviewable in a calendar view.

Finally, to help customers enter data, there is a form view. This captures all essential information that is then easy to review and edit your project. This ensures an error-free collection of data.

Task Allocation

Task allocation is as simple as assigning a row to the person responsible for the completion of the task. The project manager can then set up alerts and notifications that email the assigned professional with deadlines and details of what needs to be done. The alerts help keep team members accountable to the completion of the task, and the Gantt chart allows professionals understand their part in the whole project and related deadlines.

It is also possible to set up automated actions, which makes management of tasks that much easier. You can create automatic approval requests and update request that are triggered based on rules that you devise.


There is a feature within the platform called Smartsheet Sights, which is a reporting tool that aims to give quick, visual status updates of the project. This could be a summary report on goals, a list of relevant deadlines and more. The views available are customisable.

There is also an archive and review history option. You can work out what has been changed about the project by reviewed what actions have been taken on the platform. You can filter this activity by action, person and date – so it is easy to see what happened, when and by whom.

Wrike Features

Wrike presents itself as a work management tool, rather than explicitly a project management tool. This is because the platform looks to managing ongoing activity rather than limit work to a specific goal or outcome.


There is a chance to communicate with anyone involved in the project with an @Mention. This message appears wherever the message is relevant but also appears on the personal dashboard, known as My Work, of the colleague it is aimed at. This makes communication quick and simple and organises comments by task or activity.

It also allows for collaborative proofing and instant approval within the platform. Documents – whether it is images, videos or text can be reviewed with comments attached. There is then the ability to approve these changes or approve the whole document.

Communication is made even more simple by the live activity stream, which gives real-time updates on project activity and provides a one-stop status report. This reduces the need for email updates or meetings to explore progress.

Idea and File Sharing

Wrike offers the chance to edit live together by uploading a link or documents that need work on. This can be done in real-time, and there is an automatic version history created, preventing the need for V1, V2, etc. file naming.

These files, and all the information related to tasks can be organised into projects, folders, tasks and subtasks. This file organisation helps you to create the building blocks of work in the way that you work.

Project Visualisation

Wrike has a Dynamic Request Form. This is a customisable form that customers can use to enter essential details about the service or product they require form your company. These tailored pages collect all data and avoid potential errors from data entry and miscommunication.

All the work needing to be complete, with deadlines, can then be viewed on the Timeline. This is a Gantt chart that visualises the dependencies and gives managers easy access to deadlines, with the ability to adjust these and help the team keep on track.

Task Allocation

There is a resource management view, which makes Wrike particularly unique. This allows managers to see the workload of the whole team and make choices in task allocation that rebalance activity performed by individuals. Tasks can also be allocated automatically. It is possible to set up the Dynamic Request Forms in such a way that if customers request a particular product or service, this is automatically directed to the person responsible for completing that work.

Each team member, on their My Work personal dashboard, has the tasks needing completing posted for easy visualisation. Date organises these tasks – whether they are due that day, week or month. This makes it easy for individuals to understand what needs to be done and by when, making it easy for managers to make them accountable for their workload.


As well as time and budget tracking, you can also use Report Templates to build real-time views of your workload. You can schedule updates of reports, with email notifications that these reports are available to view. All reports are custom and easily built using Wrike’s Report Wizard.

Smartsheet Vs Wrike

Smartsheet and Wrike have different ways of viewing workflow.

Smartsheet is a project management tool, and the spreadsheet style is perfect for capturing the tasks and subtasks needed to complete a project. You can create multiple sheets for multiple projects, and the system is well-designed to help you organise communication and file-sharing to work being completed. The various views offered in Smartsheet is a strength and one that makes it adaptable to different methodologies of project management.

Wrike’s strength is in the automation of task allocation and the view of team members workload, making it easy to calibrate the activity of all team members. Collaborative editing and proofing, with a view of version history, is also a significant strength of Wrike. Smartsheet has the option to track the history of a project but does not offer the same online collaboration.

However, Smartsheet offers a simpler organisation of materials that are much more intuitive on first use.

Overall, the answer to Smartsheet Vs Wrike is: it depends. What do you need your platform for?

The management of individual projects or the management of the workload of a team. If it is a project – choose Smartsheet. If you are managing the work of a team – choose Wrike.

Read about other Project Management Softwares.

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