10 Best Jira Alternatives in 2023
Say the word “Jira” to a software developer and brace yourself for sighing, eye rolling, and disappointed head shaking - it’s needlessly complicated, way too slow, and turns tracking your work, something that should be easy and helpful, into practically a second job.
After all, you shouldn’t have to manage your project management software, should you?
Why not look for an alternative, customizable project management tool for your software team. Something that is not Jira.
Something, instead, that’s not so rigid and opinionated and formal; something that enables cross-team collaboration for even non-technical team members, like product and design teams, in addition to engineering; something that is lightweight, but still has powerful functionality; something… wait, a second, it sounds like I’m describing Shortcut… 🤔
But before we get into that, let’s start at the beginning: What is Jira, why should you look for alternatives, and what are your options?
Read More: Best Issue Tracking Systems for 2022
What is Jira?
Jira is an issue tracking tool for software engineers developed by Atlassian. Jira is the default; Jira is the oldest (which has its pros and cons; for example, its interface is quite outdated); Jira is a widely used project management tool for engineers specifically.
Software developers and agile teams turn to Jira because of its core functionalities: such as issue tracking and bug tracking, and it facilitates reporting and follow-through on issues until they are resolved.
But pricing-wise, compared to its alternatives (many of them free) Jira is expensive. Even its free plan has many limitations.
- Custom fields
- Permission settings
- Customized workflows
- Incident management
- Bug tracking
Read More: Import your data from Jira into Shortcut
Why Should You Look for Jira Alternatives?
Jira is designed for technical users, and mainly focused on the development process and bug finding. Team members outside of the development team will not find it user-friendly, as it was solely built for developers. Therefore, options for company-wide collaboration are very limited if non-existent.
One of the main frustrations users have with Jira is that it’s very slow. It’s slow because it’s trying to do too much.
It’s not user friendly, which means there is a steep learning curve for onboarders. It’s opinionated and difficult to change workflows and hierarchies once they’ve been established.
To sum up, people look for Jira alternatives because:
- Jira is needlessly complex
- Jira is for technical users only
- Jira is time consuming for admins to set up
- Jira makes onboarding difficult, with a steep learning curve
- Jira is very slow
- Jira is rigid - it’s hard to change processes once you’ve set them up
- Jira lacks a birds-eye view of everything going on in the company
- Jira is not good for cross-team collaboration
Read More: The powerful, yet delightful Jira alternative
10 Best Jira Alternatives
Shortcut is the simple Jira alternative that is intuitive enough for anyone to use, but flexible enough to support a scaling organization - and that’s an entire organization, from product, design, engineering, marketing, leadership, and so on.
It’s more than just “drag and drop”. Shortcut has markdown support, keyboard shortcuts, deep integrations with GitHub (& others), and a well-crafted API to help improve your software development workflow.
Shortcut provides excellent visibility. You can zoom-in to pinpoint updates on delivery of a single project or quickly zoom-out to see planning across several teams or the whole organization, all from one agile dashboard.
- Flexibility without complexity
When an entire enterprise can use a single agile project management tool, it becomes easier for teams to collaborate and be more efficient. Shortcut is flexible enough to support a scaling organization, yet easy enough for all departments to master, with any number of users.
- Intuitive enough for anyone to use
If you’ve used Jira, you know it’s not easy to get non-technical users to master or appreciate. That’s why pretty much only software engineers use Jira. But we’ve built Shortcut in such a way that it remains intuitive enough for anyone to use. From marketing and design teams to product and software development, Shortcut can be adapted to organize any team’s workflow and track progress in real time. Everybody at Shortcut uses Shortcut, for example - it’s as second nature as Slack.
- Heavily team-oriented
Shortcut is a place for cross-functional teams to come together, collaborate, manage roadmaps, track and document work, look at burndown charts, timelines, access templates, and measure success all within the same system record. A single source of truth with a pretty awesome user interface.
Shortcut offers keyboard shortcuts, deep integration with GitHub, markdown support, and a well-crafted API. Together, these integrations help Shortcut evolve and improve your software development workflow.
- Zoom in, zoom out for transparency
Shortcut allows you to zoom in to pinpoint updates on the delivery of a single project or quickly zoom out to see planning across several teams or the whole organization, all from one agile dashboard. Transparency and inclusivity are huge parts of what makes Shortcut work as an effective collaboration tool, and also two big values we share as a company.
Simply put, Shortcut is fast. Let speed be your secret weapon. With Shortcut, you’re never waiting around for your work to load.
Start your free trial of Shortcut now!
Read More: Convince your team to use Shortcut in 5 easy steps
More than a million people use Asana across 190 countries. That sounds like a lot. Why is this? It’s because Asana is a good tool for basic, generic task management and project planning. It also has a lot of features.
Maybe too many features. Maybe too many features that also aren’t directly related to software and product development.
The problem with trying to be all things to all people is that you can't please all of the people, all of the time, especially when those people are Software Engineers and Project Managers trying to ship increasingly complex features and code.
Read More - Shortcut vs Asana: Choose the most lightweight, powerful, and enjoyable software project management tool
Trello, brought to you by the makers of Jira, is a general planning tool for small teams, small businesses, or individuals. It has a simple, clean interface that looks like to-do lists and allows users to jump between cards and boards across different teams; however, it does not support hierarchies that show relationships between tasks and projects.
It’s not purpose-built for software development with dedicated features, workflows, and reporting. Trello’s general checklist-style of project management works well for individuals and tiny teams in terms of keeping track of tasks and deadlines, but on a larger scale, teams outgrow the tool with more things to track, resources to manage, and stakeholders to update.
If you’re a small agile software development organization who is growing fast, you’ll need something more suitable for the long run. If you already have Trello and are looking to switch to something non-Jira and non-Atlassian, you can easily import your existing Trello data into Shortcut.
Read more - Shortcut vs Trello: Choose the best software project management tool
ClickUp is a general productivity platform that can be tailored to almost any use case.. ClickUp works for almost every type of team - which means it is not designed for developers or with agile best practices in mind.
ClickUp doesn’t scale well, and lacks features like organizational roadmapping, flexible workflows, comprehensive agile reporting, and smart search and filtering.
Read more: Task Management, Issue Tracking, Project Management, Product Management: What’s the Difference?
Teamwork is a visual solution that claims to help businesses plan, manage, collaborate and accomplish projects of any size. It allows teams to view the full scope of a single project or a portfolio of projects while monitoring individual project components.
Capabilities range from Gantt charts and task management to team collaboration and dashboards.
Teamwork is suitable for the needs of professional services, marketing, support and product teams - but not engineering teams.
Read More - Ultimate Setup Series: Best Practices for Teams
Aha! can be classified as another tool in the "Project Management" category, while not checking off the "Issue Tracking" box.
Aha! Boasts flexibility and integrations, but it doesn’t use language that software engineers are used to (such as Epics, Features, Stories, etc.). The UI is outdated, it’s a little slow, and the customization capabilities often render the product too complex.
Basecamp helps different teams work toward a common goal. This is good for people who aren’t developers and aren’t handling bug tracking or issue tracking, but not so good for the people who do those things. Namely, software engineers.
Blossom markets itself as project tracking for distributed companies. Blossom is very lightweight, and based on the principles of Kanban methodology. Missing things like custom workflows makes Blossom an okay general planning tool, but not efficient for software engineers.
Read more: The Software Developer’s Guide to Choosing the Right Kanban Board Software
Everhour is a time tracking software with integrations. This is great if you’re looking for time-tracking software. But not so great if you’re looking for issue tracking software.
Everhour is good for things like estimating tasks, setting budgets, building reports and tracking time.
Everhour can calculate your work hours, the work hours of your team, or a particular team member, and pull this data together into handy detailed reports.
Read more: How to build trust through reporting
Wrike helps to simplify planning, gain visibility, and streamline workflow.
From Gantt charts to delivering robust reports to monitor team progress, Wrike lets you fully customize your workflow and empower your team members to be more productive.
But Wrike doesn’t have software-engineering specific capabilities, and hierarchies that software development teams need.
Shortcut is the Project Management Tool Software Engineers Actually Want to Use
Congratulations on making it to the final section of this blog post. If you’re still reading this, it can be assumed you’re sincerely in the market for a new project management tool.
Maybe you’re fed up with Jira and are looking to switch.
Or maybe your startup is expanding, and you’re outgrowing your processes, and are looking for a tool to customize and use your way from the ground up.
Or maybe you’ve outgrown Trello or Pivotal Tracker, or need something more software-team-specific than Asana or Wrike, or more than simply a time tracking system like Everhour. Either way, there are plenty of Jira alternatives out there, including Shortcut.
Why not give it a try? Sign up for a free 14-day trial!
Out with frustration, in with joy!
Because after all, your issue tracker shouldn’t be a four letter word.