Wrike Tip - Clean Reporting with Multiple Projects

If you manage a team with multiple concurrent projects using a phase/stage gate process, you may have created your project template with each phase as a sub-folder or sub-project (see image below).
Above is a mock-up of a simple phased project schedule.  I've duplicated this project a few times to demonstrate how cluttered reports may look when sub-folders/sub-projects are used for project phases.  If I needed to run a report for all project milestones, grouped by project and used parent folder grouping, it would look as shown below:

From this report, I have no idea at a glance what project I'm looking at.  I could remove all custom grouping, but it still produces a cluttered report that is difficult to read at a glance.  To clean this up, we used unassigned, backlogged parent tasks to represent our project phases.  To ensure the phase tasks assume the timeline of their sub-tasks, it must be set as backlogged.  Now your project template would look something like this:
...and the milestone report?  Well, it is much easier to read at a glance.
 
I hope some of you can find this tip useful.  I would love to hear how you guys are solving reporting challenges that you've encountered in your organization.  In my next post, I'll show how and why we are using custom fields to generate reports based on unique milestone "categories".
  

Cheers!

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Just want to comment again that the screenshots are not visible to me and, I assume, others. Since they would probably help a lot in illustrating your tip, would you mind trying to re-post them?

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Hi Daniel, thank you for letting me know.  I see them on my end, but I will contact Wrike help to see if they have the same issue.  Would you be willing to test in a different browser just to rule that out? 

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@Daniel, nevermind.  I tested with a different account and see the same thing.  They show up with the account I posted from.  Strange.  I'll contact Wrike Help about this.  Thank you!

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Stephen

I can see the images perfectly now guys! Let me know if you're still not seeing the images and I can look into it for you!

Really interesting to see how you've set up your process to align with what you want to see in your Report. I think often we get so caught up creating the items we need to complete a Project, we overlook the Reporting and Tracking aspect that suits us best.

Looking forward to hearing others approach here too 🖖 

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Thank you, Stephen!  I see them as well.

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@Trevor - Thank you for this.  You present things very clearly!  I haven't seen an organization like this before, using the backlogged parents.  I never even tried it, since I assumed backlogged tasks don't appear in the gantt at all! 

@Wrike - This would not be necessary at all, if you could group by "Project" more than just "Parent Folder".  The logic would start at the individual task, and look upward through the hierarchy, ignoring all parent folders until it hits a project. Then, if you need the "Parent Folder" context (in Trevor's example, for the project phases) you can always (a) add a 2nd grouping, or (b) sort using the columns. 

IMO, Projects need a lot of TLC.  This is just one example. 

One my my big beefs with Wrike is the focus on rolling out new features, while failing to refine and perfect old ones.  I find myself saying it in nearly every community post 😕

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@Sam - Thank you, and your points about refining the core functionality are spot on!  Grouping by Project is what I really wanted, but had to find a workaround.  I don't like using backlogged tasks; I would rather the sub-tasks simply drive the dates of the parent tasks.  And, I desperately need lag and lead times.  MS Project kills Wrike in terms of Gantt chart functionality, but the communication channel in Wrike is too good to leave on the table.

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Pretending "group by Project" existed... could you go back to using folders/sub-projects for phases, rather than parent-tasks at all?  After all, folders auto-adjust based on its tasks. 

The parent/sub task date linking is a hotly debated topic, and while many people want it, I can see reasons to not to... both from a user perspective, and from a logic perspective.  So I'm doubtful that will ever happen. 

Wrike's logic has pros and cons, relating to flexible organization method

Subtask can simultaneously exist within many other tasks, in other projects that I might not even be able to see.  So lets say I reschedule my parent, which reschedules my subs.  The subs auto- reschedules another parent in another project I'm not even aware of.  The person that owns that project, who maybe can't see mine, goes "WTF mate!" and moves things back, which moves mine back.  We fight for eternity.

That's just one example, but I could see things getting out of control, fast.

The alternative is to make an exception in the logic for subtasks.  Some people have suggested a toggle on/off feature to have the parent task get it's dates from subs, but then people would complain about having to check a box.  Or, they could break the dependency logic in the gantt chart, allowing a circular arrow flow which currently gives you an error if you try it (parent start > sub > sub > sub > parent end).

Either way, it still falls under my "refine old features" beef!

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