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Jira Review – The Good and The Bad for 2021

Jira Review - The Good and The Bad for 2021

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Jira will turn your IT team into one of the most productive in your industry. Want proof? It’s trusted by 65,000+ organizations worldwide, including innovative leaders like Cisco, Square, Spotify, eBay, and Airbnb.

In addition to project management, Jira is also known for its bug tracking functionality. That’s one of the many reasons why this tool is popular amongst software development teams. 

Compared to other agile project management solutions for IT teams and developers, Jira is second to none. Recently, Jira has attempted to pivot some of its products for all types of teams and organizations. This includes project management solutions for marketing, operations, HR, finance, legal, and other use cases. 

But the project management and issue tracking solutions for software developers remain Jira’s top software offering. We recommend Jira for technical-minded project teams.

Compare Jira to the Best Project Management Software

Jira is the best project management software for agile teams and software developers.

This agile solution makes it easy for team members and project managers to adjust throughout the complete project life cycle.

Jira has tools like scrum and Kanban boards that are ideal for organizing tasks and managing agile teams.

For software teams using an agile project management methodology, Jira is a no-brainer.

Here at Crazy Egg, we’ve researched and tested dozens of the best project management tools on the market today.

Jira ranks in our top five.

Our reviews also contain information on when it makes sense to invest in project management software and a buying guide with our unique methodology to find the best solution for your needs. See all of our top picks here. 

Jira: The Good and The Bad

The Good

Powerful Agile Tools: Jira is built for agile and Scrum project management. The software comes with scrum boards and Kanban boards so teams can visualize workflows and see the progress of tasks in real-time. It’s easy for managers to understand which tasks are doing well and which ones are delayed. Jira supports agile sprints and multiple project views, like user stories and story points. 

Bug Tracking and Issue Management: Atlassian initially developed Jira to track bugs in software projects. This functionality remains a core component of Jira’s project management solution today. The tool makes it easy for developers to locate, track, and record bugs within the software. All bugs and issues can be viewed in the backlog. With all issues in a single view, Jira makes it easy for teams to prioritize which bugs should be addressed first.

Fantastic Reporting: The software comes out-of-the-box with 12+ reports. These allow managers to gain actionable insights into their team’s performance in real-time. Burndown charts, sprint reports, velocity charts, version reports, burnup charts, and cumulative flow diagrams are just a handful of examples of the agile reports offered by Jira.

Highly Customizable: Custom workflows allow teams to create a visual representation of their processes. This helps improve accountability and transparency throughout a project. Aside from the workflows, other areas of Jira, like reports and scrum boards, can be fully customized as well. Developers can even use Jira to create custom filters using JQL (Jira Query Language). Jira integrates with 3,000+ third-party apps, so teams can truly extend the software’s functionality. 

Supports Multiple Use Cases: Jira is definitely geared toward software development teams. But with that said, there are some versions of Jira designed to support other departments in an organization. Marketing teams can use this software to plan complex product launches and large-scale events. Human resources teams can create custom workflows to improve their hiring and onboarding process. The software can even be used to measure operational performance. Jira has an extensive list of product offerings, covering everything from agile project management to ITSM. 

Safe and Secure: In today’s day and age, data security can’t be overlooked. Jira allows admins to create custom roles for team members with full control over who has access to what. The software is compliant with GDPR, PCI DSS, ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27018, SOC 2, SOC 3, and more. All data is encrypted using TLS 1.2+, and servers containing user data use AES 256 encryption. 

The Bad

Designed for Technical Users: Non-technical users will likely struggle with Jira. It doesn’t have the friendliest user interface, and the setup can be a bit challenging. Developers and software engineers won’t have any problems here, but the average person will find Jira confusing. 

Limited Collaboration Tools: Aside from the scrum and Kanban boards, Jira doesn’t really support team collaboration. You can always integrate Jira with a third-party app like Slack or another collaborative tool, but the software is limited out of the box. Atlassian offers other solutions for collaboration, such as Confluence and Trello. 

No Timeline Views: Lots of project management software comes with a Gantt chart or timeline view. Jira does not. Timelines are useful for seeing which tasks and subtasks are connected with one another. With a timeline view, project managers can adjust schedules if a problem arises in one task that will impact others. To get this type of functionality, you’d have to get a separate Gantt chart app and connect it to Jira through the Atlassian marketplace. 

Jira Pricing and Options

Let’s look at the pricing specifics Jira has to offer.

Jira Pricing

For such a powerful solution, Jira is surprisingly affordable. In fact, the software is free forever for teams of up to ten users. 

With that said, the free plan does lack some features that most teams need. If you want advanced permissions, project roles, and audit logs, you’ll need to upgrade to the Standard package. The free plan only comes with 2 GB of file storage. This jumps to 250 GB at the Standard level and unlimited storage on the Premium plan. 

In short, the free plan isn’t a viable business solution beyond basic use. Most teams begin at the Standard level, which starts at $7 per user per month. Larger organizations with advanced needs jump right into Premium, starting at $14 per user per month. There is also an Enterprise plan for larger organizations, and you’ll need to contact them for pricing.

It’s nice that Jira doesn’t lock you into a long-term contract. But if you know that you’ll be using this software for the long haul, it’s definitely worth signing up for annual billing. This essentially gives you two months free, compared a month-to-month payment cycle. 

Larger businesses and enterprises will benefit from bulk discounts. Once you pass the 100-user mark, the cost per-user decreases from the base level. For example, if you have 200 users, the Standard rate drops to $6.50, and the Premium rate drops to $12. At 500 users, these drop to $5.70 and $9.30 per user per month, respectively. 

Premium and Enterprise clients benefit from 24/7 support. The Standard plan only offers local support (9 AM – 5 PM), and users on the free plan must rely on community forums for help.

Overall, Jira is a great value. Compared to some of the other project management tools on the market today, Jira is one of the most affordable options. We’ve seen other solutions start as high as $45 per user per month. So Jira is a bargain compared side-by-side with those. 

The platform is built to scale and supports up to 10,000 users. You can also try it for free with a seven-day trial.

Jira Software

This is the project management and issue tracking solution that makes project management a breeze. When most people refer to “Jira” they’re referring to Jira Software, even though there are several other Jira products.

Again, this solution is designed specifically for agile software development teams. It helps agile teams plan sprints, allocate tasks, and prioritize work with total transparency and team visibility.

Most team members will spend the majority of their time on the Kanban and scrum boards. However, the issue tracking functionality will likely be a close second. 

Jira Software makes it easy for development teams to plan, track, and manage releases of software versions. Project managers love Jira’s total transparency and custom reporting options. The customized workflow tools help teams improve efficiencies at every level as well. 

Here are some of Jira Software’s top features and highlights at-a-glance:

Scrum and Kanban boardsBug and issue tracking3,000+ app integrationsAgile reportingCustom workflowsRoadmapsAdvanced permissionsProject roles and project archivingAudit logs

Overall, Jira Software is the gold standard in the world of agile project management for software development teams. There’s really nothing else on the market today that comes close. But for non-technical users and general project management, Jira Software will be too complicated to accommodate those needs. There are better solutions out there for use cases other than software development.

Jira Align

Formerly AgileCraft, this software was acquired by Atlassian in 2019 and rebranded as Jira Align. It’s a solution for enterprise agile planning. 

Jira Align is designed to connect the overall business strategy with technical execution. It’s more of a big-picture tool, as opposed to managing project-specific tasks. 

Executives can use Jira Align to see real-time team data across the entire enterprise. Visual tools and reports help decision-makers get their entire organization on the same page. In addition to executives, the software is a useful tool for portfolio managers, as it can help communicate the value of initiatives to potential investors and analysts. 

Jira Align supports flexible agile frameworks, including hybrid and custom frameworks at scale. Examples include Disciplined Agile, LeSS, Scrum at Scale, SAFe, and more. 

The estimated annual cost for the Enterprise version of Jira Align starts around $46,000. For teams of 100, the annual estimated rate is roughly $150,000 per year.

Jira Align is not for everyone. If you’re seeking a basic project management tool, look elsewhere. This is an advanced solution for enterprise agile planning.

Jira Core

Jira Core is a project management solution designed for traditional business use. This is essentially Jira’s way to target users other than software developers. 

The software centers around project workflows used to define processes and allow teams to track tasks. Teams will benefit from basic Kanban-style boards to visually track the progress of tasks and projects. 

You can also use Jira Core to create rules-based automation actions. 

Jira Core can be used to manage a wide range of projects across different business types and departments. Common examples include:

Product launches, campaigns, events, and creative asset development for marketersCandidate tracking, interview management, onboarding, and company policies for HRDocument tracking and searchable record keeping for legal teamsHardware and software rollouts for IT teamsInfrastructure management and manufacturing solutions for operational teamsApprove purchases, close the books, and track document preparation for finance teams

As you can see, the software can be extremely versatile. But with that said, other project management tools on the market can accommodate these use cases as well, many of which are more user-friendly.

Jira Core is free for up to 10 users. For teams of 11 and over, the rate starts at $5 per user per month. You can try Jira Core for free with a seven-day trial.

Jira Service Management

Jira Service management is an ITSM solution for Dev and Ops teams. It’s designed to improve the service management process for customers and internal employees alike. 

Here’s an overview of the plans and pricing:

Some of the top available features include:

Service request managementIncident managementChange managementProblem managementSelf-service portalsSLA managementCustom workflows

To be clear, Jira Service Management is not an alternative solution to project management. It’s an entirely different tool. The software is designed for IT teams and service-based organizations. 

Like the other tools, you can try it for free for seven days with the free trial.

Comparing The Best Project Management Software

Check out our top picks of the best project management tools to see some popular alternatives to Jira. – Most versatile project management softwareAsana – Best for small to midsize remote or distributed teamsTrello – Best project management tool for small projectsJira – Best project management system for agile teamsLiquidPlanner – Best project management software for large teams

Jira is our top recommendation for agile software development teams. Regardless of team size, Jira can accommodate any software development project. Jira does have products and solutions for other use cases, including enterprise agile planning, ITSM, and general business project management. But for non-technical users seeking a basic project management tool, check out one of the alternative picks listed above. Leave Jira for developers and software engineers. 

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