If you’re looking for a JIRA alternative that’s fast, gets out of your way, and helps you plan and track features your team is building, you are at the right place.
What is JIRA anyway?
JIRA is an agile project management tool that is used by software teams. It is developed by Atlassian and is used by over 75,000 teams. Clearly, it has done wonders in shaping the industry.
But the world has moved on. Today, teams don't just want a tool that is functional. They also want a project management tool that is developer friendly and built for speed and efficiency.
With JIRA, you can wring a list of issues and start working on your feature.
But you can’t get your team to care and update progress unless you put a gun to their head.
Not to forget the configuration hell you’ll have to go through before you can even create a user story.
if I was dumbledore I would've hid the philosophers stone in jira's ui— I Am Devloper (@iamdevloper) September 21, 2017
When looking for a JIRA alternative, you need to makes sure that the tools lets you work with members across teams, plan and track features, and more importantly lets you do what you do best - writing code and building features.
Contents of this guide
Why you need a JIRA alternative
“There are plenty of project management tools out there. Why have another one for software product teams?”, I hear you ask.
The thing about building features and products is, there are plenty of moving parts. Your team gets reorganized as you grow. And you’ll adopt new processes to increase visibility across teams and to improve the quality of the outcome.
The last thing you want at this time is a tool that forces a process on to your team. To name a few, here are some of the biggest drawbacks of JIRA:
- Hard to learn.
- Lacks the ease of use to enable teams to focus on building products.
- Often requires a dedicated person to babysit the tool.
Whether you want to run Sprints, use Kanban, a combination of both, or even simple task management, you need a project management tool that fits and adapts to your team’s process as you grow - something a JIRA Alternative can provide.
And more importantly, irrespective of what process you adopt, you need a project management tool that is fast, intuitive, simple and equipped with all features the your team needs to do their best work.
If you are looking for a JIRA alternative that does all this, continue reading this article. We'll cover the best ones in-depth.
Here are 9 JIRA alternatives Agile Software Teams can start using today
Zepel is the project management tool that’s built for software product teams.
You are probably wondering what makes Zepel a great alternative to JIRA. Sure, there are some feature differences. I’ll get to that in a bit.
But the fundamental difference is Zepel takes you beyond simple issue tracking, so you can streamline your development process and build products and features together.
That means Zepel doesn’t try to please everyone. If you want to plan, track features, get real-time visibility across teams, and build solid features that will delight your customers, Zepel has your back.
Why teams prefer Zepel as a JIRA Alternative
The biggest limitation with JIRA is the difficulty in understanding how it works, its slowness, and the clutter that comes with it. For anyone who has not spent several hours trying to learn the tool, it is nearly impossible to get them to update progress on your user stories.
With Zepel, you can create user stories, assign, and set a status, all before your JIRA issue create even loads.
Working on Zepel is so fast, you’d think you’re writing on a document. Want to delegate work or set due dates or statuses? It’s all just a
/ command away.
Developers spend a majority of their time on the code editor. Instead of switching back and forth between your project management tool and code editor, they can finally work with none of the distractions.
Zepel’s desktop widget lets your team view, edit, and update their progress right from the comfort of their desktop. And with Slack, GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab integration, your developers can link any item to a Branch, Commit, or a PR, and have its status automagically update in Zepel.
This allows your developers to continue working from their code editors and terminals, while you get all the updates they make immediately.
Configurations are helpful when you need that executive level dashboard. But what good is a dashboard if it confuses your team so much they don’t even want to update progress?
With terminologies like Epics that your team doesn’t use on a day-to-day basis, you end up alienating your team and make it even harder for them to adopt your project management tool.
Zepel uses simple terminologies like Features and does not force a process on your team. With the Desktop Widget right by your teammate’s code editor, your work is always updated and your reports will finally make sense.
And you can see how your entire Feature, not just tasks, is progressing. Across disciplines. In real-time.
Setting up and understanding how multiple Boards work in JIRA is hard. Let alone moving items from one Board to another.
With Zepel, creating Boards is as effortless as clicking a ( + ) button. Want to move an item from one Board to another? Simply change the status.
No, really. It is that simple. No need to code or set up rules.
Add items across features into a Sprint to keep your team focused on things that matter the most. Multi-select them and add them to a sprint with a simple right click.
The best part? As your teammates use Boards that fit their workflow and update progress, you get to see how it all connects back to your feature progress.
Every company can provide reports on your project. With Zepel, you can take a step further by getting reports that don’t confuse you, but aids in helping you move forward.
Whether you need to zoom in and see the progress of a specific feature or take a step back and see how the entire project is progressing, Zepel has just the right kind of reports for you.
2. Pivotal Tracker
Pivotal Tracker is a popular JIRA alternative. It is an agile based project management tool that helps teams collaborate and monitor progress in the project’s lifecycle. You can list down features, chores, and bugs, and keep a healthy balance between tech debts and bugs. It allows teams to list down actionable items, assign, prioritize, and set deadlines.
In addition to all these functionalities, it calculates the team’s velocity based on the average estimation points completed in the recent iterations.
Pivotal Tracker is designed for teams to follow only Agile methodology and is not flexible enough to fit other methodologies. This will make it hard for certain teams and team members to adopt the tool, get used to terminologies, and make the full use of the tool.
Pricing: Free – $62.5/month for up to 15 collaborators
VersionOne is an agile project management tool that supports Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), enterprise scrum, and kanban. It is a great JIRA alternative solution if you are working at an enterprise company. In terms of functionalities and features, VersionOne has plenty of them to address a variety of software development models.
This means, there will be a learning curve for your team to get up to speed and make the best use of it.
With agile portfolio management and providing more than fifty agile metrics, you can start tracking your team’s progress with reports and get insight into their progress.
Pricing: Free – $29/user/month
Workzone is a simple project management tools where teams can organize their work with tasks and subtasks, assign, and get notifications when it’s due.
Workzone is useful for service companies, ad agencies, and unlike many other JIRA alternatives, even for marketing teams who work with multiple departments or with clients. Projects that use similar processes can use templates and can help save time.
It provides expense tracking, file versioning, reports for each workspace, task dependencies, and can alert team members when the dependent task is ready to be taken up.
The tool doesn’t provide pricing upfront, but you can request a demo and quote for your team when you contact them.
Pricing: By quote
Binfire is a project management tool that is built for remote teams. Unlike other JIRA alternatives, the Binfire team itself is remote which helps them understand the intricacies of the day-to-day problems remote teams have when it comes to project management. This gives them the advantage of building a project management tool dedicated for remote teams and has nearly everything they would need to manage projects.
It offers task management where tasks, subtasks, and dependencies can be managed by adding multiple tags to each task. This makes it easier to sort and find tasks you're looking for. It offers the ability to add six-level deep subtasks and the ability to turn a project into a template.
Binfire offers a status report, interactive Gantt chart, and burndown report to allow teams to keep track of their progress.
Pricing: $5 - $15 per user/per month
Basecamp is one of the most popular project management tools that is effective at bringing people from different teams together (not just your engineering teams), so everyone can work on a project together and see it through to completion.
Basecamp doesn’t offer Kanban or Sprints like other JIRA alternatives for you to follow agile methodology, but provides plenty of other features for you manage your projects.
It allows you to organize tasks in to-do lists with due ranges and dates, assign to team members, so you can keep everyone on the same page. At then end of every project, it summarizes accomplishments and lets you generate reports.
Basecamp gives you a single hub for your team members to share files and documents, have conversations in group chat, and have automatic check-in questions for standups.
Its pricing isn’t based on number of members, so you can bring as many team members into your project as you want.
Pricing: $99 per month for unlimited users
Kanbanize is an agile project management tool that allows teams to visualize key initiatives and break them down into work items by combining kanaban with simple user interface.
It provides WIP limits per column, role based access, filters, and custom fields, so teams can easily visualize their work just the way they want. Since all of its features revolve around a kanban board, teams can create a different workflow that features a timeline and see the whole progress, but might not be easy to see work with different views.
It provides time tracking to see hours spent on tasks or projects and analytics to monitor performance.
Pricing: $119 per month for 1-15 users
Notion is the all in one tool that lets you take notes, capture tasks, move them across statuses in a kanban, and track them on a calendar. If you want to go a step further, you can even use it as a CRM tool.
Although it is known for its ease of use and its simplicity, some users have found it a bit intimidating to get started purely because of the number of ways in which you can use it.
Pricing: Free up to 1000 blocks. Starts at $4 per month.
Sprintly is a JIRA alternative that lets you see and track all your projects in one board. It provides a robust query language and filtering functions, so project managers can see in real-time who is working on what.
Sprintly integrates with Github, Bitbucket, Beanstalk, Crashlytics, and Slack.
Pricing: Starts at $19 per month
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