When to Use: Tasks, Subtasks, Folders, and Projects

Your Wrike Workspace includes several building blocks, which allow you to set up a flexible work structure for your account. The key blocks: Folders, Projects, Subfolders and Subprojects, Tasks and Subtasks.

We often get asked about the key best practices on when to use these items, so let’s take a dive into each of them.

Folders and Subfolders

Folders are perfect for organization. They can be used to categorize anything in your Workspace: tasks, other Folders and Projects. Most account structures include top level Folders 1, which in turn contain all other Subfolders and Projects. In the example screenshot below, our top level Folders are:

  1. Projects -  contains our company’s projects. To make it easier to find what you are looking for: break down the structure even further and add Subfolders based on the Project types you work on. Below, we grouped Projects by “External” and “Internal” categories. You can also group by Project Manager, Project Type, or any other groupings you use internally.
  2. Departments - organizes work by department. Additional Subfolders 2 are added for each department, and the teams working from these Folders can choose to create their own Folder/Project hierarchy within these containers.
  3. Company - stores all general company related tasks and Folders.


More ideas for when to use Folders:

Projects and Subprojects

Projects 1 are meant to contain all the actionable steps you need to take to reach a certain goal. These aren't actionable items, but they are perfect for housing them. Some great use-cases for Projects: trade shows, feature releases, renovation projects, and any other goal which requires multiple steps. Using Subprojects allows you to break down larger Projects into phases 2 or categories. Another difference between Folders and Projects is that the latter have additional attributes 3, such as:

  • Start and Finish dates
  • Owners
  • Status


Quick Tip: If multiple teams/departments are working on the same Project, you can use Folder Tags to categorize the tasks. Doing this makes the tasks accessible from both the team Folder and from the shared Project.

Tasks and Subtasks

Tasks and subtasks are the action items in your Workspace; this is where work gets done. You can add a detailed description 1 and attachments to provide relevant information about the task, as well as fill out other attributes 2:

  • Assignee
  • Start and due dates
  • Status

If there's one action item that's made up of various smaller action items, you can use a task for the main action, and subtasks 3 for the supporting items. This allows you to set different dates and assignees for task microsteps. Here are some best practices for choosing between a task and subtask:

  • If a task includes several microsteps which can be completed without adding additional information to Wrike, try creating checklists for these items in a task’s description field.
  • If a parent task includes steps which can be executed at the same time (but which don’t rely on each other) you can create subtasks for these steps, while keeping the parent task description empty. The task itself acts as a base to structure its components. Information about progress and updates can be tracked in the subtasks.
  • If all subtasks rely on the same information, try to include the details in the parent task. Users can easily click on the parent task name (right above the subtask title in the Task View) to view details needed for completing their part of the job. Subtasks can be used to record detailed information, while only results or summaries are carried out to the parent task.


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I moved my comment/question from here to the How To section, as

Best Folder and Project Setup for cross-project and cross-department visibility.

Seemed like a better place for it to live. Feel free to delete this.

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Anastasia

@Marc, thank you for starting the discussion about Folder Structures! In case anyone else is interested in setting up a Project/Department structure, here's a link to Marc's post:  Best Folder and Project Setup for cross-project and cross-department visibility

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@Anastasia The article link you included in your comment is not working.

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Anastasia

@Marc, thanks for the heads up! I updated the link and now it works :)

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I have a task set up with multiple subtasks.  I'm trying to find a way to print out a summary of that task and include the subtasks to be able to share with someone outside of Wrike.  The print task is great, but it only includes the parent task and not the sub tasks. Is this possible?  

 

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Anastasia

Hi Jason, welcome to the Community! :) You're right, printing a task doesn't include the subtasks. Are you looking for a way to include a list of subtasks, or the full info from their description field too?

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Just to check if the way I'm planning to work is correct:

Create a folder named after a client. Inside that folder, the differente projects we're doing for them and inside each project the tasks (and subtasks) needed to complete that.

Did I get it right?

Thanks in advance.

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Stephen

Hi Léo, welcome to Wrike! This seems like a very good way to set up your client's Folders. However, you might want to create a parent Folder called 'Clients' first and build it out from there, so that you can easily find where you're storing all your Client's information rather than having a list of them in your main Folder tree.
 
See the example image below, where 'Clients' is the parent Folder, then within that Folder, I have Subfolders; Client A, B, and C. Within each of these Subfolders I can create Projects, tasks, and subtasks for these clients (like you describe).
 

 
This will keep your Folder tree (on the right-hand side) tidier and simple to find where you have stored your client's information. 
 
I'd also recommend taking a look at this article if you have not already, which is very helpful to get you started with your Folder tree and there's an upcoming webinar on Setting up your Workspace which I think you'll find very useful.
 
Any questions on any of the above, let me know :)
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Hi,

What is the main difference using tasks/subtasks vs. projects, i.e. I can either create a top level task and then subtasks or project and tasks underneath.  They both have the same field except that projects have this additional 'status' with some color indicators that I cannot change.  Plus the other differentiator is that projects can be tagged to tasks but tasks cannot be tagged to another task. 

Suggestions to use project vs. task?

Do projects accumulate the dates and autoupdate on the start and end of the tasks within? I know they can be overriden but how can I make a project autoadjust to have the start of the first task and end based on the duration of the last task within?

 

Thanks.

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Stephen

@Ramkrishna, good question!

People find different ways to leverage the building blocks in Wrike. Take a look at this help article if you haven't already. It will explain what projects and folders can help organize your workspace.

  • Perhaps think about how you plan to generate reports too - this will be super important to you later when you want to see the results. You can report by task or by project. However, if you decide to use tasks as 'projects' and subtasks as 'tasks', reporting might become a little more complicated. Take a look at the above report link for more information on how this works.

My way of thinking:

  • folder: used primarily for storing projects so you can organize your Folder Tree. For example, you might have a folder for 'Clients', within this folder you might have subfolders for each client so all your clients' work is nicely organised in one folder which breaks into sub-levels. Within these subfolders, you can then create that client's projects - which are made up of tasks.
  • tasks: the list of work built into a project (like a to-do list) which is completed to achieve the project's goal.
  • subtasks: good for when a task needs to be broken down into smaller work and assigned to different people.

My advice is to only use subtasks when a task needs to broken into smaller parts, actioned by different people.

Another thing to think about when creating tasks vs subtasks vs projects is ownership.

  • One person should have ownership of each task (the items needed to complete the Projects). Then usually you have a project owner, someone who 'owns', plans and organizes the overall project and is assigned at the Project level as the owner.

I'd like to continue discussing, so it would be great to learn a little bit more about the work you do so we get a little more specific 👍

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Is it just me or is this article a hot mess? I can't make sense of it - seems to be written by an insider for insiders.It does not explain the difference between Folders and Projects, yet contains phrases like "Another difference between Folders and Projects..." and mysticisms such as "Projects contain all the actionable steps (...) These aren't actionable items". The whole thing reads like a machine translation.

Does anyone know a good place to start? There are over 38 "getting started" videos on the Wrike sites alone.Is there a getting started on getting started tutorial?

We are a small company currently using Google Calendar, a Gantt and plan board... I don't see any reason yet to ditch the marker pens... Sorry for the negative feedback; it's all very discouraging.

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Hi @Luuk, welcome to the Community and sorry for the long reply 🖖

First, if you have questions about how to use Wrike, you've come to the right place. You can post any questions and community members and Wrike team members will be more than happy to help 🙂 Please feel free to post (you can use our Onboarding Your Team or How To forums). 

I'd also suggest to check out this more recent post about the main building blocks of Wrike and how to use them. 

Checking out Wrike Discover courses should help too - these are interactive courses about different aspects of Wrike.

Hope this helps 😇

Lisa Community Team at Wrike Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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