Project management meeting stock image.
Image: Gorodenkoff/Adobe Stock

Asana and Jira are top-rated project management tools that allow tasks to be organized, managed, assigned and tracked as a part of a larger goal or system. Both project management platforms are widely used in the professional space in both software engineering fields and industry specific fields like design, marketing and more. We’ll take a look at both Asana and Jira, compare their features and determine which comes out on top as the best project management tool.

SEE: Feature comparison: Time tracking software and systems (TechRepublic Premium)

What is Jira?

Jira is a web-based project management tool used to create, organize, assign and track tasks as part of a larger project using traditional agile or custom project management styles, despite being more geared toward software project management. It features built-in kanban board views along with agile reporting workflows, and it’s enterprise friendly with the ability to be hosted by Atlassian, or self-hosted on-premise in an organization. Jira has available iOS and Android mobile apps.

What is Asana?

Asana is a web-based platform used to track and manage projects and tasks across multiple divisions as a full system. Asana can handle multiple project types, including software development (complete with bug tracking), business development teams and marketing teams. Asana has enterprise-ready plans but does not offer self-hosted options for on-premise hosting. Asana has available mobile apps.

Jira vs. Asana: Feature comparison

Ticketing and methodologies

Jira and Asana both feature the ability to create tickets and assign them to individual contributors. Both packages can be used for general project management, but Jira is more geared towards software development tasks with its feature set.

Asana does not strictly conform to agile practices, though you can use the platform to complete agile-style project management design. Jira on the other hand comes built-in with agile-specific tools, along with the ability to use backlogging and story pointing to ensure your team is following agile methodologies. Jira also allows for the generation of agile reports that can be helpful for project managers when creating future sprints.

Organization and visualization

Jira and Asana both feature the ability to organize and visualize tasks in ways that can have project managers and contributors each see tasks in their own personalized ways. Asana can display tasks in a kanban board view, list, Gantt chart timeline or calendar. Jira supports the ability to display in a scrum board, kanban view or a roadmap that displays a timeline with tickets. Both services offer a backlog feature, though Asana requires users to set this feature up while Jira includes this feature preloaded for new projects.

Storage

Jira’s hosted options do not have a per-file size limit, but the entire account is governed by a 2GB, 250GB or unlimited storage quota depending on the selected plan.

Asana allows unlimited storage across all plans, with a per-file maximum size limit of 100MB. This unfortunately does not meet the needs of many organizations for sharing many larger design files, images or code samples in tasks.

Integrations and API

Asana and Jira both offer the ability to integrate with custom applications through an API toolkit available to organizations building their own custom appliances or integrations. In addition, Jira and Asana also both feature integrations with other platforms, such as GitHub for CI/CD integration when updating tickets. There is a large list of supported platforms and services for each, and you’ll need to find which tools you want to use and integrate to figure out if Asana or Jira is a better fit in this category for your organization.

In addition, Jira has a feature called Automation that allows for building workflows that automate tasks based on triggers with a rules-based editor. This is limited based on the number of runs per month depending on the plan you’ve selected. Asana has a similar feature that’s available starting in the premium plan, but it integrates other apps and services as well as a custom form builder to allow for even more integration. Asana doesn’t advertise any run-limits for these workflows, but it is noted in its forum that there is a limit of 50 workflows per project, which increased recently.

Jira vs. Asana: Pricing

Jira

Jira has both self-hosted and cloud plans. For this comparison, we will be pricing the cloud plans that are hosted by Atlassian.

Free plan: Jira offers a free plan that allows up to 10 users for a single site. The free version offers scrum and kanban boards, backlog organization feature, agile reporting, customizable workflows, apps and integrations, automation for a single project, basic roadmapping features and a 2GB file storage limit with no support and no SLA uptime guarantee.

Standard plan: Beginning at $7.50/user/mo, Jira has the ability to expand to up to 20,000 users for a single site on the standard plan. It adds administrator controls like project roles, audit logs and data compliance processes as well as a 250GB file storage limit and support without guaranteed SLA uptime.

Premium plan: The $14.50/user/mo premium Jira plan adds global and multi-project automations, advanced roadmapping and dependency management features, as well as sandboxing, IP allowlisting, unlimited storage, 24/7 support and a 99.9% SLA uptime guarantee.

Additional enterprise accounts are available for organizations needing global scaling, more security needs and data governance. Pricing for this is available by contacting Atlassian directly for sales.

Asana

Asana only features cloud-based plans hosted by Asana.

Free plan: Asana plans start free with unlimited tasks, unlimited projects, unlimited messages, an activity log and unlimited file storage (100MB per file) for up to 15 team members. For smaller organizations or teams, this might be a good option.

Premium plan: Asana premium starts at $10.99/user/month and adds tools like timeline views, workflow builder for automations, reporting across projects, advanced search, custom fields, unlimited guests, forms, rules, start dates and time, and an admin console for user management. This tier also allows for private teams and projects.

Business plan: Asana’s business tier starts at $24.99/user/month and adds all of the above features, along with portfolios, goals, workloads, custom rules builder, approvals, locking custom fields and integrations with premium products like Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, Tableau and Power BI.

Enterprise plans: Pricing is determined based on accommodations needed. Asana doesn’t advertise SLA for the plans above, but enterprise plans feature a 99.9% uptime SLA.

Conclusion

Jira is a very software development-focused project management software that offers customization to a point. Asana features a more general and user-friendly approach to task and project management while still offering the ability to fully customize the experience exactly to your liking.

If you are an organization specifically focused on software development project management, then Jira is the clear winner because it is the de facto standard across the industry, allows for larger uploads of files and offers a much stricter agile approach to management. Most of the tools you need to get up and running in Jira are already set up for you and require little to no additional time investment to set up.

If you are a more designer-focused organization, or want a more general purpose project management system across various industries and technical abilities, then Asana is a better tool for the job.

If you need to do software development or agile approaches in your project management, however, then Asana will require you to sink more time setting up the project just the way you want, although  it offers flexibility to meet many industry project types.