What is your folder structure?

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I know this subject has been talked about a few times, but it looks like it's been awhile since anyone discussed it. So, without resurfacing an older post, I thought I'd create a new one to see what the year 2018 looked like for companies' Wrike organization.

Here is our current set up (for context, we're a marketing technology agency, working on email, websites, video, analytics, content, etc).

All work and time logged is done within the 1. Efforts folder. This folder has 3 sub-folders used to further segment our work. Those are:

  1. Company Name is where we keep all of our company work, internal operations, etc.
  2. Clients is where we keep all of our (you guessed it) client folders. More on that in a little bit.
  3. Effort Categories is where we segment out all of our work into our main service offerings

Additionally, we use "2. Templates" to create all new work from using the request forms. Personal is just that, personal per user and Recycle Bin goes without saying.

Under our "1. Efforts > Company Name" folder, it's broken out by the following, prefixed by our company initials. In this case, I'll abbreviate "Company Name" as the example

  • [CN] Billing Tasks - when a project or invoice needs to be sent out, a task is created, stored and managed within this folder, also tagged with the appropriate client folder.
  • [CN] General Ops - a folder used to hold standard tasks people log time to if it doesn't belong any where else.
  • [CN] Holidays PTO & Outings - where all the time off tasks and log time are kept track of
  • [CN] Internal - this holds a ton of sub-folders for internal projects, such as new business, marketing, IT, promotional, and departmental ones
  • [CN] Third Party M.V.P. (MVP = Media, Vendor & Platforms), basically, all the services we pay for in order to better our clients marketing efforts. Those tasks are kept track of here and also tagged with their perspective client folder.

Under our "1. Efforts > Clients" folder, we have each client listed out with their own projects listed in their folders. Each of those client folders will usually consist of at least these items:

  • Client Parent Folder Name > [Client Name] Bill Requests
  • Client Parent Folder Name > [Client Name] Hourly
  • Client Parent Folder Name > [Client Name] Platforms & Media
  • Client Parent Folder Name > [Client Name] Project Name

Lastly, we have Effort Categories. Those are client projects broken down by service category and look like the following

I'll explain the - All Efforts - folder. This folder, every user has full permissions over. The reason being is that every client parent folder under "1. Efforts > Clients" (as well as a few other top-level folders) is locked down and only our finance department has the correct permission to put them there. This is to make sure they match up correctly with the client name within our accounting software for billing purposes.

This also requires that the team use a request form (using the 2. Templates folder above) to create a new project, which will assign out the correct folders and permissions. When that happens, they select the client the project is for and the request form workflow assigns the client parent folder to that project, the - All Efforts - folder and the other effort category it fits into. This also helps with capacity planning when in the Gantt Chart view.

There are a number of other things I'm leaving out as our workflow is concerned, but this should give you a good idea on our folder structure.

 

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Stephen

This thorough and your set up is so clean, I love this approach Tim.

One question. Do you use Request Forms and Templates to create all new Projects? So your team doesn't create new Projects within the Workspace from scratch? If so, I think this is a really good Best Practice because all Projects then have the same format (from the Template) so everyone can quickly understand what's going on in the Project at a glance and make changes where needed as the project progresses. 

Looking forward to learning how others do this, so I'll feature this post on the Community Homepage 👍

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Stephen, 

To answer your question, as a general rule yes. But this is just for folders and the initial tasks. Once that initial project folder is created, our users can add, modify or cancel tasks (we don't let them delete as a number of people have logged time to a task before it was deleted and their time is lost). This approach does save us a ton of time, where we're only making small tweaks to templates every month (instead of recreating the wheel).

For smaller, one-off projects, they can choose one of two methods to get that work into production.

  • They can use an hourly request form that creates one task, adding it to the client's hourly folder.
  • They can go directly to the client's hourly folder and create the task(s). Choosing this route doesn't necessarily put the task into our production schedule though, there are some additional steps they need to go through in order to do this. However, this is handy when they're working ahead and don't have enough details yet to put it into production.

One last note. A number of clients have us complete a standard set of tasks for them every month. So, our project managers create a new monthly folder with those standard tasks within the relevant template, every month. Then, when they've reached the end of the month or the end of the budget, they start to "close out" that monthly folder. This helps them balance their monthly bank of hours. 

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@Tim Hi there! 👋I'm working on a decision tree to help people find the Folder structure that works for them/their team. I'd love to hear what you think about it if you have a chance to take a look! Let me know if you think it would have worked for you, what's confusing/could be better. 

Folder decision tree

Stephanie Westbrook Community Team at Wrike Learn about Wrike’s killer features and best practices with our Online Training Webinars

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Hey @stephanie - I like that you guys are thinking through it for your customers. I'm not sure it would have helped us. For example, we use sprints, but don't use our folder structure to organizing and instead use custom fields.

Additionally, one recommendation I may give on the decision tree is when you get to a dead end, but before moving on to part 2, take a unique colored line, leading from that box and stretched it out "underneath" all the other boxes until it points to the box you want the user to journey to. Then they can semi-track where they should go to next. 

If it would help, i could probably come up with a decision tree we used within the next week or so. For us, it took a while to even understand the questions we needed to ask.

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@Tim thanks so much for that, you're the first non-Wrike employee to look at it so I'm extra excited to hear from you.  🙌 I would love to see how you guys went about coming up with your Folder structure!

Custom Fields are such an interesting facet because you can use them in some cases, but sometimes Folders are better - it depends on what you need to do (and honestly a little bit on just what works for your team). I see this as an evolving document and can't wait to really make changes based on what people say. 

Stephanie Westbrook Community Team at Wrike Learn about Wrike’s killer features and best practices with our Online Training Webinars

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Tim. 

Thanks for sharing your folder structure. We have been a WIP for about a year and getting our legs under us. 

One of the constraints we have had to work through is time reporting and billing. All of the time logged in Wrike needs to be imported into another system. We tried any number of things with the Wrike API and we were not able to successfully extract the data we needed. As a result, all tasks/work are aligned to a parent folder with a job number. This allows us to extract the job number using a script/formula in Excel after we have exported the data from the Timelog view. 

Here's how we break things down:

Office
We operate Wrike out of two offices - Atlanta and Chicago. The topmost folder is either CHI or ATL. All clients fall into those buckets.

Client Folder
Most of our projects revolve around a client so our primary organization is with the client folders. If you are working on a client you open the folder and you can find all the work. It also helps with using Boards and creating Dashboards that relate to client work. 

Project folder
The Project folder is structured job number first, project name second. Inside the Project folder are Components, Sprints, Project Management, and QA. 

Components = folders that hold individual tasks for a specific deliverable in the project
Sprints = Tasks from the Components folder are tagged as we develop our Sprints. So the task lives in both the Components and the Sprints folder
Project Management = All tasks the PMs and Producers need to accomplish
QA = All QA tasks are directed from our Forms into this folder. The PM/Producer determines the Component and Sprint the QA task should be associated with. The QA tasks are not moved from the folder, just tagged as to the appropriate Component and Sprint

Archive - that's where all of the closed projects go. The 0000 designation helps with the Excel export/import process. It's easy to see if people are billing to "closed" projects. 

Admin
At the top level we have an Admin folder for all non-billable time. 

We aren't super strict about who can see what folders and that seems to work out just fine for us. 

Backlog
We are considering a Backlog folder but I'm trying to solve that WITHOUT a backlog folder and see if there are views we can create that allows our Dev Manager to see the Backlog for his team across that doesn't require the PMs to create another folder.

That's us. 

 

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@Stephanie, I was curious, so i took a look at your Folder Tree. Following the prompts, it looks like our Folder tree is set up as it should be! Yay! 

We have a Quick Reference section, divided by Department as well, for fast and easy answers to common questions or issues.  All tasks are in the Departments folder, but not all tasks are in the Projects folder, just those that are projects.  Makes for easy Dashboarding of the projects, yet keeps them in the appropriate Department as well. 

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@Tom Napper - I did end up developing a script in PHP to pull our time data out of the API as well. It is possible, but difficult considering the number of foreach loops that need to be irritated through. Our end result ends up being this for each time entry:

  • client_folder_id
  • client_folder_name
  • meta_sprint_date
  • task_created_date
  • task_id
  • task_permalink
  • task_status
  • task_title
  • task_updated_date
  • timelog_api_count
  • timelog_comment
  • timelog_created_date
  • timelog_hours_logged
  • timelog_id
  • timelog_tracked_date
  • timelog_updated_date
  • user_active
  • user_email
  • user_id
  • user_level
  • user_name
  • user_production

With these fields finally extracted from the API, we're able to import it into Elasticsearch and evaluate the data within Kibana. It's worked out pretty slick.

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Thanks Tim.

Where this is failing for us that each timelog entry needs to carry a along with it several custom field variables which may or may not be directly associated with each task. 

userID: the timelog entry must be associated with a 5 character user ID. 
functioncode: this is basically what kind of function is being performed. FED= front end development, etc
component: what component number (given by the desitnation accounting system) should this be associated with
client code: a 3 character code for each client
job number: a 5 character code for each project

Final output would look something like this:

UserID: TNAPP
FunctionCode: PM
Component: 1
Client Code: ABC
JobNumber: 12345
Task Name: Do This Thing
Date: mm-dd-yyyy
Hours: 1.25

In an ideal world the PM creates the task with Component and ClientCode and JobNumber a the project level and all of the timelog tasks inherit that.

The devs at Wrike and an outside developer whom they recommended have spent lots of time trying to get this to work for us, but in the end we just export out of Timelog, run our scripts in Excel and we are golden. 

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Tom - the custom fields are tricky, esp if they're not a part of the task. That's the reason we requested the cascading custom field value feature request: https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360018897394-Cascade-Custom-Field-Value-from-Folders-Projects-to-Sub-Projects-Folders-Tasks - If you'd like, I'd appreciate the vote.

In theory, it's still possible to grab the custom field for the parent folder (at least the way we have it set up) and insert it at the time entry level. However, at this point, I would also be introducing at least one more nested foreach loop into the already heavy job. And i'm pretty sure it says somewhere in the Geneva Convention that we should limit that to 8 or less nested loops. ;)

Thanks for sharing Tom

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@Marj Wow, that's awesome! 💃 I'm curious - do you have tasks that live directly in a department's Folder, or do you create a subfolder for "random tasks" within a department's Folder? 

If anyone else wants to use this and see if it gives your a Folder structure that makes sense for your team that would be amazing. Feedback is extremely welcome.

Folder decision tree

Stephanie Westbrook Community Team at Wrike Learn about Wrike’s killer features and best practices with our Online Training Webinars

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@Stephanie. Yes, i have subfolders under Departments, and even more subfolders under those. 

Between my assistant and myself, we dip our fingers into a few different departments. This helps to keep it separate. Non-Marketing pretty much covers anything that doesn't fall into the other folders. 

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@Marj I really like that 🙌 Thank you so much for sharing. I have a personal "Meetings" Folder that I've recently started using and it's one of my new favorites. 

Stephanie Westbrook Community Team at Wrike Learn about Wrike’s killer features and best practices with our Online Training Webinars

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@stephanie I am new to Wrike.. when following your folder tree, I ended up with the client structure. This makes sense, however, I really want our internal teams (web dev, creative, adv, seo) to be able to view all the projects from various clients within their team.  I understand you can "tag" or multi-home projects. Would this be something you recommend? I don't know if that will create duplicate tasks in reporting.  

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@Brandie. If you tag a task to multiple folders it does not duplicate the task. There is only one task in Wrike, it just lives in different folders. 

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@Tom, I assume the same is true for projects as well?  Do you have any advice regarding the structure I am looking for? Below is an example of the structure I was thinking.

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@Brandi. Projects can live in multiple folders and the tasks or projects won't be duplicated. Looks like you are trying to share the projects with particular teams. My assumption is that you are wanting those teams to see what projects they are responsible for and not others. You could also accomplish this by creating user groups and sharing projects with those groups. It will limit what they see when the login.

If this problem is task focused, for example if you are wanting the SEO team to see the tasks that they for the week, I would recommend Dashboards. Our Dev and Creative teams have Dashboards for users and for the entire Group. It's a way to manage the tasks that each have. So for your project called "website" that lives in Creative and Dev our teams would see the tasks associated for that in our Designers dashboard and our Devs dashboard. 

Suffice it to say, that it looks like your organization is good, my suggestions just allow Wrike to do some of the filtering for you and keep you out of the job of remembering to assign projects to team folders. 

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@Tom Thank you, I appreciate your help!

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