Use Wrike for project collaboration with third parties

Find out how and why you might want to open up Wrike to third parties working on your project.

Wrike, a Software-as-a-Service project management platform, enables organizations to open up their Wrike workspaces to third-party partners for collaboration on joint projects by adding external users or through selective data sharing between two Wrike accounts. These collaboration options are ideal for organizations that frequently rely on freelancers, contractors, and partners to accomplish specialized project tasks or to pursue joint business ventures.

Adding an external user

Wrike's external user role would be my choice when collaborating with third parties, because it's clean and simple to use. You grant an external user with the same abilities as your internal users. However, external users do have some limitations:

  • External users can only view the contacts of the other users in the folder(s) you share with them;
  • External users cannot grant access to folders and tasks to other people; and
  • Only your Wrike administrator can invite multiple external users to share a folder.

Granting an external user role to a freelancer, contractor, or business partner should be part of the project kickoff process (only a Wrike user with administrative privileges can add an external user). While Wrike does an excellent job of aggregating secure access to external users, you still don't want external user accounts floating out there after completion of the project, so remember to revoke access when the work is complete.

Follow these steps to add an external user:

  1. Click your name in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Click Add Users.
  3. Click Create New User. Another Wrike User Management page appears (Figure A).
  4. Enter the name of the external user in the Name field.
  5. Enter the external user's email address in the Email field.
  6. Click Invite User.

Wrike will send an email invite to the user with directions on how to log in to your Wrike project workspace. If the external user has an existing Wrike profile, the project you are sharing appears in their account and is accessible through existing workspaces.

Figure A


Invite users from outside your domain (See an enlarged view of this image.)

Adding a collaborator

Wrike also lets you add a collaborator from an outside organization to your project. A collaborator can view the contacts with other Wrike users with whom they share folders and tasks, comment on tasks and mark them as completed, and upload and download files.

Follow these steps to add a collaborator:

  1. Perform steps 1-5 in the previous section.
  2. Click Invite Collaborator.

Wrike will send an email invite to the user with directions on how to log in to your Wrike project and with the privileges they are granted as a collaborator.

Selective data sharing in Wrike

Wrike uses a feature called selective data sharing to share projects with clients, contractors, partners, and freelancers. This is cross-account collaboration, where two organizations are linking their Wrike accounts.

While Wrike likes to keep this collaboration "all in the family," selective data sharing isn't a premium feature. Even if both organizations aren't current Wrike customers, you can still use selective data sharing between a paid and free Wrike account if necessary.

Accessing multiple accounts from one Wrike workspace

Wrike promotes accessing multiple accounts through a single login as one of its greatest advantages. It plays into the concept of a workspace as a central project hub, which an organization can use when collaborating with partners or bringing in contractors to augment an in-house project team.

In the folder pane, you can see which account each group of folders belongs to and easily switch between them. The account name is set by the account administrator.

Wrike enables users to have different roles across multiple accounts. Wrike treats an account as a real organization, so each company would have a Wrike account. Here is how that could work for collaborators between two organizations:

  • User has full access to the Wrike account for their organization, which we'll call organization A.
  • The same user is set up as a collaborator in the account for organization B, so they can view and discuss tasks on the organization A and organization B joint project.

Because an account is a separate organization, Wrike doesn't let collaborators move tasks and folders between separate accounts. Although, the Activity Stream takes on a larger role, because it displays changes from all accounts involved in a joint project. The same is true for the dashboard and reports.

This method requires at least one of the organizations to have some Wrike experience, unlike adding external users and collaborators, which even a novice Wrike user with administrative privileges can do in a few clicks.


Opening up Wrike to third parties working on your project through selective data sharing or adding external users or collaborators ensures security and a consistent workflow over your project communications and collaboration.