In this post, we'll compare two popular project management apps in the industry: JIRA and Trello.

In the process of writing this article Atlassian (which owns JIRA) acquired Trello. Atlassian will be keeping the two separate for the foreseeable future, so the question of JIRA vs. Trello is still very relevant for people who are searching for a PM tool that will solve their needs.

To make sure we give you an unbiased review, we used both JIRA and Trello extensively at Zepel, started paying for them like a regular customer, and finally have a firm grip of both the pros and cons.

And more importantly, we know the differences between the two and when you should choose one over the other.

If you're unsure about switching from Trello to JIRA this in-depth blog post should help you decide.

But if you're already using JIRA within your organization and you're spending more time managing your software development projects instead of building products, you should give Zepel a shot already!

Let's jump in and have a look at the differences between JIRA and Trello.


TL;DR Comparison of the two project management tools - JIRA vs Trello

If you're in a hurry, then this quick comparison of JIRA vs Trello should give you a good overview of what each of these apps is good at and how they are different.

JIRA Trello
Pricing Free up to 10 members for cloud version. Standard plan starts at $7/month/member. Free forever. Standard plan starts at $12.50 per user per month.
Hosting Cloud and on premise Cloud only
Top Features Kanban Board, Sprints, Access Controls, and Reports Kanban Boards and Power ups
Typical Customer Mid-market and Enterprise Freelancers and small businesses
Integrations Massive library of third-party integrations that meets use cases of CRM, test management, code review, and more. Hundreds of integrations including time tracking apps, Zendesk, Slack, and Salesforce.

What are the key differences between JIRA software vs Trello?

The key difference between JIRA and Trello is the target audience they go after. JIRA primarily focuses on software developers, engineers, and product managers in medium to large organizations. Trello on the other hand, goes after freelancers, developers, and other contributors in small businesses.

Trello, unlike JIRA, is flexible enough to support other use cases like wedding planning, marketing, and more.

This key difference drives the majority of their decisions in terms of the features they build and how they price their product.

Ultimately, making Trello far easier to get started with. Since JIRA requires you to set it up correctly and go through a steep learning curve, it is a lot harder to onboard your team and get started.

If you don't want to go through JIRA's tedious process to even get started, check out these 13 JIRA alternatives.


Self-hosting vs Cloud in JIRA and Trello

While there are certain advantages to using a cloud-based project management tool, it is understandable that some organizations would want to host and have their data within their network.

JIRA understands this and gives its potential customers both the options you can choose to self-host it or go for their cloud-based option. Trello, on the other hand, does not have a self-hosting option.

So, if you're looking for an issue tracker that lets you self-host, then JIRA is probably your best bet.


JIRA vs Trello: Pricing Info

If you're comparing Trello vs JIRA software in terms of their plans, it's pretty hard to come up with a clear winner today.

Until recently, their plans was one of the bigger differences between JIRA and Trello, since JIRA didn't provide a free plan in their plans. In September 2019, Atlassian, the maker of JIRA software, introduced their free tier. Prior to that, their lowest plan needed you to pay $10 for 10 members.

This, however, only applies if you choose their cloud-based version. If you decide to self-host JIRA by yourself, you will still have to pay $10 for 10 members once.

Trello, on the other hand, has always had a free plan that allows you to create an unlimited number of kanban, tasks, and collaborate with any number of members. However, they do have a restriction on the number of power-ups (their integrations) that you can add. If you want more capabilities on Trello, their “Business Class” plan tier starts at $12.50/member/month.

JIRA Cloud Pricing JIRA Self-hosted Pricing Trello Pricing
Free plan for 1 member Free $10 one-time payment Free
Standard plan for 1 member $7 per user per month $10 one-time payment $12.50 per month per member
Standard plan for 15 users $105 per month $3,500 one-time payment $187.50 per month
Standard plan for 25 users $175 per month $3,500 one-time payment $312.50 per month
Standard plan for 100 users $700 per month $13,300 one-time payment $1,250 per month

More information on JIRA's cloud paid plans.

More information on JIRA's self-hosted plans.

More details on Trello's paid plans.


Task Management and Team Collaboration in JIRA and Trello

Of course, task management and team collaboration are going to be fundamental capabilities you need in project management. When it comes to Trello vs JIRA software though, what they can help you achieve and how they define this varies.

Trello has everything you need when it comes to simple collaboration and task management - creating tasks, setting assignees, adding due dates, notifications, and moving cards from one column to another in a kanban to show progress. If you want to see who is working on what, you can simply use their filters to find this.

Trello vs JIRA comparison — Trello board
An example of a Trello Board

JIRA software, on the other hand, looks at task management from the perspective of agile development. It allows you to customize your workflow using the workflow builder and set up rules on how a card should move from one status to another.

You can even go as far as setting up advanced configurations to show only certain work items in certain kanban columns to certain people. Fancy stuff, right?

The downside to this is, if not done right, it can lead to a lot of miscommunication and lost productivity within your team.


JIRA vs Trello: Agile Project Management for Agile Teams

In the last decade, agile and its methodologies have gained a lot of popularity. And for good reasons too! When done properly, agile lets your team build and ship the right software for your customers, and allow them to quickly see value in your product.

JIRA was built specifically to let you and your team follow agile methodologies. Projects in JIRA software support both scrum and kanban. So you can use it either as a scrum tool with scrum board or as a kanban software.

JIRA structure
Here's the structure of a typical JIRA project

Trello, while known for its simplicity, doesn't support every aspect of agile project management. It lets you to quickly move work around using kanban software tool but projects in Trello does not have dedicated support for scrum teams. This makes using Trello for scrum a difficult task. Some scrum teams, however, workaround by naming columns as a backlog, prioritized, in progress, and done to run sprints.

If you're looking for an agile project management software, here's a comparison of the best Agile PM tools.


Reports in JIRA vs Trello

Every team that manages several projects requires the ability to report on their progress, performance, and a host of other metrics. They are not only essential but in crunch times they can help you make key decisions.

JIRA provides a highly configurable dashboard that lets you get insight into any information you want to see about your team. From burn up, burndown, cumulative charts, and many more, JIRA lets you see exactly what you want.

Agile reports in JIRA
Agile reports in JIRA

While Trello doesn’t have reports out-of-the-box, it does have some power-ups that you can use to get basic information from your project.

Here's the link to view all the power ups in Trello.

If your team needs agile reports out of the box and you're using Trello, then you might want to consider a Trello alternative.


Integrations in JIRA and Trello

Of course, not all data sits inside your PM tool. You will want to pull in some data from the other tools you use every day, say, your code repository, or Slack into your tasks and projects.

Both Trello and JIRA provide a host of third-party apps that you can connect with. But in terms of sheer quantity, JIRA has over 1000 tools that you can integrate with.

A list of Trello integrations
A list of Trello integrations

And of course, both tools also provide free access to their public APIs, so you can hit their endpoints and create your own custom workflow.


Wrapping up the comparison of JIRA vs Trello

As you might've noticed, when you take a step back and compare JIRA vs Trello, they are opposite extremes.

While Trello is extremely easy to get started, use, and setup, it doesn't have all the capabilities a growing team would want to streamline their product development process. Its biggest drawback would be its lack of reports and dedicated support to run sprints. This makes it really hard for project managers and leaders to keep track of the progress.

Being a powerful project management tool with exhaustive set of issue tracking and project management features, JIRA surely has the upper hand. This is especially true if you're looking for some complex project management workflows. However, its biggest disadvantage is its steep learning curve and an extremely unfriendly experience that makes developers frustrated and not want to use the tool at all. This creates outdated and stale data in your issue tracker which can lead to teams not being in-sync.


Is there a middle ground when comparing JIRA vs Trello?

If you are still unsure about which tool to choose, you should check out Zepel – a PM tool for software product teams.

It is the simple, yet powerful for software development teams.

With a dedicated view for Sprints, a document-like interface to plan your features, kanban boards, and reports, Zepel gives you everything teams need to build great products.

Hey, don't take our word for it. Here's a review from our customer.

User review of Zepel when compared to Trello vs JIRA
A user's review of Zepel on Product Hunt

If you haven't already, sign up to Zepel for free and share with us your feedback.


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