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Wrike, an online project management and collaboration tool that we’ve covered previously, has received an update that aims to marry its project management functionality, like Gantt charts and report generation, with the real-time updates and ease-of-use of social networking tools.
The redesigned — and much more user-friendly — interface takes its cues from social networking tools like Facebook, aggregating relevant data from various projects into a single customizable dashboard-like workspace. It makes it easy to get an at-a-glance overview of the activity in all the projects that the user is involved in, and to see which tasks are coming up and overdue. The dashboard is composed of various widgets, which can be repositioned, added and removed as required; users can even build their own widgets if they wish.
There are activity streams and microblogging to help keep the whole team abreast of what everyone’s doing. Wrike features a team-wide general activity stream, as well as a dedicated activity stream for each project and task, providing a means to get an overview of the team’s collaboration on each particular item. There’s also a new “follow” feature (inspired by Twitter) that lets users monitor a particular task or project.
One innovative feature is the “backlog,” which is a place to store tasks that don’t have strict deadlines, but will still need to be done sometime in the future. When the team has time and resources, backlogged tasks can be prioritized, scheduled and assigned to a person or a group.
While I wouldn’t describe it as a full-fledged corporate social tool, the new Wrike is certainly much more intuitive than the previous iteration, which should make it easier to pick up for new users. One thing I did like (and I hope that more web apps offer this in future) is the “Previous version” link for users who were more comfortable with the old version and would like to go back to it.
Wrike costs $9.95 per user per month for Collaborator accounts, and $19.95 per user per month for Manager accounts. A 15-day free trial is available.
Let us know what you think of the new social Wrike in the comments