When it comes to managing tasks professionally, there are many options available to businesses and enterprise-level organizations. Today we’ll take a look at two such project management tools: Jira and Trello.
In 2017, Atlassian, the company behind Jira acquired Trello, adding the tool to the company’s portfolio of professional and enterprise-grade apps. Both Trello and Jira function as a task management and ticketing system system, but offer differing feature sets.
Join us as we delve into the features of Trello and Jira, compare and contrast the features and pricing, and ultimately give our opinion on which you should choose to manage your tasks.
SEE: 5 key resources to improve your project management (TechRepublic Premium)
An overview of Trello and Jira
Trello and Jira are both tools that can be used to manage tasks for small and large projects alike by a single individual or by multi-person teams. What makes these tools popular is how you can visualize tasks. Both services offer a feature called kanban board views, a column-style view that allows users to sort tasks into various states (columns) and move them through a system that can be custom-designed for a particular project.
Jira is a more sophisticated and complex tool, allowing for additional board types beyond just kanban and for complex tracking systems and methodology support, such as supporting agile and scrum processes. This makes Jira the ultimate tool when it comes to project management and specifically software development project management.
Comparatively, Trello is a much simpler tool and easier to learn. It’s great for general-purpose tasks, and it can be set up to support software development or industry-specific tasks with ease.
Both Trello and Jira support large and small teams alike, and the visualization views from each tool can support virtually unlimited numbers of users.
Jira supports an enterprise self-hosted solution that can be run on an organization’s own servers instead of using the cloud solution provided by Atlassian. For the sake of this comparison, we will be comparing the features of Jira itself and the cloud-hosted solution.
Although, keep in mind that while a self-hosted solution for Jira is available, storage and other features like that will be dependent upon the server the software is hosted on in your organization. Trello does offer an enterprise solution, but it is not self-hosted.
Trello vs. Jira: Features comparison
Boards and methodologies
Trello offers a simple kanban board view that is completely customizable. You can customize the titles of each column as well as how many columns. By dragging tasks between the columns, it is extremely simple to track them through to completion. If a user upgrades to the more premium option of Trello, they also get to see tasks laid out based on due dates via access to a timeline view, a calendar view or a map view.
Trello fits into the agile/scrum flow with the kanban boards, but it doesn’t offer any agile reporting to ensure users are conforming to the methodology. And while it does offer customizable workflows to automate tasks through the process, Trello boards do not have the ability to track multiple sprints over time, only allowing one Trello board per sprint.
Compared to Trello, Jira offers more functionality for its boards and methodologies. Jira offers many other board types like scrum, agile and kanban boards as well as roadmap boards to help teams plan features and dates for completion.
Jira also supports multiple planning methodologies including scrum, agile and more, and unlike Trello, reports can be generated for the chosen methodology to ensure the team is on the correct track. Moreover, Jira can also create multiple sprints per project and have boards for each of the sprints, allowing for deeper organization and team and sprint planning.
Trello offers a single-board guest option for paid plans (or a multi-board guest option for enterprise plans) that allows guests to join and interact with task boards.
Jira, on the other hand, has a full-access system in place with access policies that can be set per user depending on your paid plan options. Each user counts against the licensed users regardless of if they’re internal users of your organization or external guest users; although, this is only available with some paid plans.
Guest users in both systems can be granted full or partial access (available only on some paid Trello plans).
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.
Trello operates on a per-file size limit ranging from 10MB per file or 250MB per file for paid plans. There is unlimited storage, however, as long as your files meet those requirements.
Trello does not offer a backlog per se, but you can manually set one up by assigning a “Backlog” column to house all of the tasks that are yet to be assigned or planned.
Jira on the other hand offers a full backlogging solution that can house multiple tasks in a to-do list style view where upcoming tasks can be imported into sprint boards later on.
Trello does not offer any task or sprint planning features out of the box, though custom fields can be used for sprints. Jira, on the other hand, is built with task planning in mind and offers the ability to sort backlogged tasks based on sprint points, then determine team capacity around scoped work for each sprint.
Both Trello and Jira are available through a web browser and support that as a first-platform on each modern web browser. In addition, Trello offers iOS, macOS, Windows and Android applications, whereas Jira offers iOS and Android applications for mobile experiences but relies on the web version for desktop users.
Trello vs. Jira: Integrations
Trello and Jira both offer integrations with other platforms and services as well as full API access to write your own task creation, ingestion and automation tools to power your custom task management workflows. These integrations range from CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous delivery) platforms to business tools like Slack and Teams to designer tools like Invision and Adobe XD.
Trello also includes rules-based automation through a tool called Butler, which lets you stitch together various commands to execute on tasks, boards or a group of tasks. With the easy-to-use editor, you can create things like automated emails based on a task’s progress through the Kanban board or update due dates based on parameters. Various Trello plans have different usage limits on this feature and how many can be run per month, with a range of 250 runs per month to unlimited runs, depending on the plan.
Jira includes a rules-based automation tool for automating tasks and boards as well for all Jira cloud users. While it doesn’t have any per-run usage limits on these automations, depending on the plan, you may be limited as far as functionality goes.
Trello vs. Jira: Pricing and availability
Trello and Jira both have tiered pricing models that grow based on the number of users and the features needed. Below is a comparison of the two.
Jira offers a free plan that allows up to 10 users for a single site. The free version offers scrum and kanban boards, a 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 (service-level agreement) uptime guarantee.
Beginning at $7.50 per user per month, 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 with no guaranteed SLA uptime.
The $14.50 per user per month 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 99.9% SLA uptime guarantee.
Additional enterprise accounts are available as well for organizations needing global scaling, additional security needs and data governance. Pricing is available by contacting Atlassian directly for sales.
Trello offers a free version that allows unlimited items across 10 boards in a single workspace, unlimited file storage with a maximum of 10MB per file, and assignees and due dates. You also get 250 workspace command runs per month.
Increasing to the $5 per user per month plan adds advanced checklist options, custom fields, unlimited storage with 250MB per file, 1,000 workspace command runs per month, single board guests and saved searches.
Increasing to the $10 per user per month plan adds a dashboard view, timeline view, table view, calendar view, map view, unlimited workspace command runs per month, admin and security features, collections, observers, priority support, Google apps sign on and simple data export.
Finally, Trello also offers an enterprise offering for $17.50 per user per month that adds unlimited workspaces, organization-level permissions, public board management, multi-board guests, attachment permissions, and free SSO and user account provisioning support.
Trello vs. Jira: Which should you choose?
If you were looking only at features, then Jira is the clear winner, but the winning choice isn’t always that clear. It all boils down to what you will be doing with the tool.
Choose Jira if you are running a software business or planning projects in an industry-specific way that requires agile tools, reporting, and roadmapping features that can span multiple organizers. These tools, however, can be overwhelming to the large majority of users and can lead to the tool being underutilized or not used at all.
If you only need basic agile or kanban boards and don’t mind the file limits or the limited guest and board security options, then Trello is a great option for your team or organization.
If your organization chooses Trello and then outgrows the features and longs for more powerful features available in Jira, then a migration tool can help you move between the platforms with ease.
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