Project Management & Planning Articles

Picking the Right JIRA Alternatives

by Matt Mullarkey-Toner
Published on 12 April 2016

JIRA's logo

JIRA is a powerful piece of bug tracking and task/project management software that was created by Atlassian. It also integrates with many different cloud apps. However, some of JIRA's features might be unnecessary for your business. Luckily, there are plenty of JIRA alternatives out there and we've compiled a list of some of them chosen them on factors such as cost, scalability, and ongoing support. We've based our choices on GetRank, user reviews on GetApp, and other relevant information (such as data from the software's website) to help make our decisions.

Cost

JIRA pricing starts as low as $10 per month for up-to 10 users. After that, it works on a tier-based system:15 users for $75, and 25 for $150. No credit card is required to try to JIRA and it's also available for free in select circumstances. JIRA's pricing is generally well-received by GetApp reviewers, though there are JIRA competitors out there that also offer reasonable pricing.

Alternative: Trello

Trello Screenshot

Trello is an extremely popular app that has a score of 4.37/5 on GetApp based on 500 reviews. Trello's Standard plan is free and mostly full-featured. It includes unlimited users, boards, and basic integrations with DropBox, Drive, and Box. Unfortunately, on the standard plan attachments are limited to 10MB. The next two plans, Business Class and Enterprise, cost $8.33 per user/month and $20.83 per user/month. They offer greater control through customization and security with features such as file encryption at rest and two-factor authentication. Trello placed third in GetRank for project management, project collaboration, and task management.

One reviewer on GetApp writes, "The freemium model is the real winner. I don't have to ask my boss for budget, and I get everything I need from Trello for the time being. If I outgrow the free plan, I have history and experience to take to my "I need to buy this" conversation."

Business Size

Some of JIRA's features (such as its highly-developed bug tracking) might not be necessary for all small businesses, which might prefer a tool that is a bit more familiar. It can be difficult for small businesses to train new employees on JIRA and it can also be a challenge to implement and deploy. One reviewer writes as a con for JIRA, "…Administrative interface severely needs an overhaul - Training isn't incredibly useful - Writing advanced or custom reports is difficult - there is not a lot of control over reporting on internally set fields, etc. without really digging into the base application's APIs".

Alternative: Asana

A screenshot of Asana

Asana, which was founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-engineer Justin Rosenstein, is a project management app that has the flavor of a social network. It scores well in our GetRank, placing fourth in project collaboration and task management, while coming in at seventh place for project management.

Reviewers say that its collaborative engine makes it easy to share work, but it also works well as a standalone task manager. Eduardo Estefano Neto, writes, "Either if you are looking for a simple web app to keep track of your tasks, or if you are looking to control a project made up of dependent tasks with responsibility assignment, due date, etc., Asana is an excellent tool for you. The app is simple to use for a single person or multi person team. You can do all sorts of things to a task, including adding comments, notifying team members, attaching documents and more."

Integrations

JIRA integrates with 45 percent of the most popular apps on GetApp, including Salesforce, Zendesk, and Zapier. JIRA also natively works with other Atlassian products such as Confluence, Bitbucket, and Hipchat. Integrating with almost half of the most popular apps on GetApp is by no means bad, but there are even some stronger candidates out there.

Alternative: Wrike

A screenshot of Wrike

Source: Wrike.com

Wrike is a beast: it is one of the best reviewed products on GetApp and ranks first in four different GetRank categories: project management, project collaboration, task management, and project portfolio management. Wrike integrates with 85 percent of the most popular apps on GetApp including Google Drive, Bitium, Hubstaff, Microsoft Outlook, and many more. Multiple reviewers write that, in particular, the Outlook and Drive integrations work exceptionally well. But overall, Wrike's integrations are just one of a number of perks of using the software. One reviewer writes, "My favorite features of Wrike are the ability to easily duplicate complicated projects using their excel import, Gantt charts, workload view, dependencies, Outlook integration, real-time editing, and helpful support team."

Mobile app

JIRA has a mobile app for iOS, but no app for Android. Although the iOS app works, it's not without its problems. Some users have reported trouble logging due to CAPTCHA errors.

Alternative: Zoho Projects

A screenshot of Zoho projects for Android

Source: Google Play Store

Zoho Projects, part of the greater Zoho ecosystem, has strong scores in Mobile for GetRank: a score of 15 in task management, project collaboration, and project management, and an 18 in Project Portfolio Management. Zoho Projects has mobile apps for both iOS and Android. available.

Although the Android app has some complaints about the design and bugs, Zoho is watching the comments closely and responding to users' concerns. For example, one user complained about the design and listed off what they would like to see in the app. Zoho responded within a week and wrote," @Nathan, sorry that you are not having a good experience with the app. We are working on a complete revamp of our existing app and would love to hear your insights. Do send out an email via the inbuilt feedback form of the app and we will get right back to you."

User reviews

JIRA is a great tool, but it's not without its issues. Users, especially those that are using Agile project management techniques, report that JIRA is an incredibly powerful tool that can be customized for your business. However, that same granular customization can be difficult to implement due to complexity.

Alternative: Wrike

A screenshot of Wrike

Aside from being in first place, Wrike has a strong score for user reviews in each category of GetRank it's listed in (project management, project collaboration, task management, and project portfolio management). Overall, Wrike has a score of 4.4/5 based on 171 reviews.

Troy Trone, web developer at United Church of God, writes, "Wrike came with the features we wanted. Email support, so you can respond to tasks inside emails. Task sharing with those that are outside the organization. A UI that is easy to understand. Cloud storage and document support. Wrike is also very reliable, it just works. Other software we tried was just to buggy and temperamental, it doesn't matter how many features you have if they don't work when the customer tries to use them (I'm looking at you Tracky, Microsoft, software developers in general). Summary: Wrike is worth the money, the system makes sense to users, they are adding great features with each update, and have great customer support and documentation. Spend the money and get software that really helps you and your team work better."

Scalability

Reviewers agree: JIRA scales exceptionally well. Kshitij Peter writes, "It has been an awesome tool with it customization and scalability. Why I would recommend is: 1. Scalable : You can be a 7 people organization and use the $10/mo licence or a 700 odd mid level organization. JIRA fits your use. 2. Customization: Everything can be easily customized be it issue type, fields, workflows, checks on transitions…. 3. The 3rd party add-ons are like cream and cherry on the cake." However, that doesn't mean there aren't other alternatives that also scale well. Sticking with Kshitij's simile, we're not going to knock the chocolate cake that is JIRA, but instead provide some vanilla and carrot (just kidding) alternatives.

Alternative: Wrike

A screenshot of Wrike

Reviewers write that Wrike works well with big organizations as well as small teams. One reviewer writes, "As a small growing business trying to scale up my operations and implement systems I was lost as to how to create processes. Wrike lets me do that. On the fly. This is an amazing tool." They also laud its versatility and write that it can "provide a platform for you to scale up the systems in your business."

Another reviewer, Chaitanya Motalla, also writes that, "I had been using Wrike for more than 2 years now. It felt like a basic product when I first started using it, but it's ease of use put it ahead of other software used by me earlier. We use it for all the projects that involve us and also use it for task creation and sharing among the team or create little sub-tasks for a huge task and assign to each individual responsible. Time tracking is very easy and with minimal administrative overhead reports can be generated."

User training

Multiple reviewers on GetApp have reported that JIRA's design and customization can be intimidating for new users. Jason Weiss, writes that JIRA's flexibility is its greatest strength and weakness. Under 'Pros' he writes, "Extremely flexibility in defining the configuration of a project to include screens, fields on the screens, notifications, security, components, etc." While under 'Cons' he writes, "Extreme flexibility is also a major con because it can be very daunting to remember all the different places in the admin screens one has to go to successfully define custom screens, fields on the screens, workflow etc."

Alternative: Trello

A screenshot of Trello

Trello's simple design and drag-and-drop style makes it intuitive to use. Nathan Guenther, writes on GetApp, "Trello offers a way to very quickly brainstorm and breakdown a project involving a small team. It's clean interface, easily web/mobile accessible, and simple features make it easy to get started."

Marc Herschberger, inbound strategist at Revenue River Marketing, also writes under the pros for Trello that not only is it easy to set up, it's got an excellent price. He writes, "Extremely simple to set up and use, even a non-tech-savvy person could get along with Trello. Easily customizable for different projects you want to use it for. Completely free (there's a pro version but there's almost no reason to pay for the seemingly unnecessary upgrades you get with it). Provides an at-a-glance view of all cards yet is also sortable for different variables (card owners, due dates, label types, etc.). Integrates with a number of other platforms including Slack, Google Docs and Salesforce to name a few!

Ease of implementation

As it's been mentioned, JIRA customization is powerful and (possibly) daunting. Sebastian Pereira writes on GetApp under the 'Cons' section, "The configuration of the whole system takes some time to do it. Of course if you want to implement the different processes, such as your development process, the issues statuses, etc."

Alternative: Project Bubble

A screenshot of Project Bubble

Project Bubble is great for task management and users on GetApp report that its simplicity cuts down on time that could be wasted on training or troubleshooting. Jim Moore writes, "The learning curve for PB was very short, and I've found through trial and error that it does way more than I know or use; whenever I run into some problem or need, I'll dig around and discover that the answer is already built in. Overall, this has changed the game for me. Much more time to spend working, much less on tracking and managing."

Ongoing support

The vast majority of JIRA reviews on GetApp list customer support as one of its big perks. Patric Schenke writes, "Only recently I set up a cloud-version for myself. At first I was frustrated because I ran into lots of problems when trying to migrate the content of my old hosted version. However, I clearly underestimated their support which helped to clear out all issues within hours." JIRA isn't the only project management SaaS app on the block that offers excellent customer support.

Alternative: Mavenlink

A screenshot of Mavenlink

Mavenlink is a heavy hitter in project management that regularly finishes strongly in GetRank for project management, task management, project collaboration, and project portfolio management. Users report that a pragmatic way of organizing information and excellent customer support are some of the reasons that keep them coming back to Mavenlink.

Julie Ferrand, project manager at Dauntless Agency writes, "Mavenlink is very user-friendly and made it really easy for us to introduce the software to our staff. All information is kept in one place, which makes information-sharing much easier and everyone on the project has a better and more realistic idea of timelines, deliverables, allocated time etc. The support and customer service has been excellent so far, so a big thank you to Vanessa! The live chat is very useful and I also love that Mavenlink listens to its clients' feedback and uses their experience to improve the functionality."

Best for regular updates

JIRA has been regularly updated since it first came on to the market. It consistently adds new features and more integrations. Long-time JIRA user Craig Taylor writes, "The first time that i used this product was 7 years ago, and then only started with it again last year. With a non technical background I find the product extremely user-friendly and intuitive. I would highly recommend this project planning and task management product to other companies and organizations."

Alternative: Bitrix24

A screenshot of Bitrix

Bitrix is a full-featured app that consistently does well in the GetRank for business management, task management, and project collaboration. In particular, reviewers write that Bitrix works exceptionally well for small teams and and its ease-of-use.

Richard Hoogendoorn likes the amount of features Bitrix offers. He writes on GetApp, "I had been looking at a bunch of options that would suit the needs of my company, which is small, new, and operating on a small budget. I began by looking for file sharing alternatives that could also sync to my hard drive. When I discovered Bitrix24, I was delighted. File sharing and sync are just the beginning. Most of my company work can be done within this environment - text and video chat, task lists, time tracking, calendar, and even CRM. I have not yet managed to use all of the features - and I may not need all of the features - but so far I like what I see. This is exactly the type of program that I was hoping to find."

Did we miss any alternatives to JIRA?

Do you agree with the list? Let us know if we missed a JIRA alternative in the comments below. If you are interested in finding out more info on project management software, be sure to check out the category page.


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