Why Do Software Developers Hate Jira?
BlogShortcut vs Jira
Shortcut vs Jira

Why Do Software Developers Hate Jira?

Erika Carter
Senior Creative Technical Writer
January 31, 2023

Jira systematically eats away at every part of an engineering culture’s soul. Why is this?

For starters, software developers hate using Jira because it wasn’t made for them in the first place - it was mostly made for project managers, and their managers. 

It can be argued that Jira is one of the main reasons for common friction between software engineers and PMs.

Agile software development requires a lean team of self-organizing, self-motivated talented people thinking about the overall trajectory of a product. Jira represents the opposite of this - it’s not conducive to modern agile software development.

Instead, Jira gives people who usually add negative value to the project a way to appear very busy and productive and like they deserve high-fives all day.

So, more than a bad tool, Jira creates a bad culture. Using Jira means that your engineering team has succumbed to old-school bureaucracy.

There are literally hundreds of reasons software engineers hate using Jira. Here are just a few.

Read More: 9 Signs it’s Time to Breakup with Jira

Jira enables micromanagement to an extreme.

Does management really need to log and track every minute of every day of an engineer’s time? 

Jira is overly bureaucratic. Meaningless monitoring, with detail and estimation that nobody uses but everyone thinks they need, is often used to chastise teams for not working fast enough when they are only responsible to the limit of their assigned issue.

Picture many months of forecasted work in overly-prescriptive stories meandering across a bunch of siloed projects. Fun.

It’s needlessly overcomplicated.

Want a simple view that only shows the absolute bare minimum - i.e. that only shows you what is relevant to you? That’s not possible in Jira.

It’s so complicated that it’s prone to being misused. This is why many companies have to hire people - whole teams sometimes! - whose only job is to manage Jira. 

Honestly, if your product requires a whole team of people (with their goal usually being to support whatever upper management wants) to babysit the tool that is supposed to make work easier - then this is not a useful tool.

The UI is terrible.

Since Jira was created in 2002, the UI hasn’t changed much. It’s dated. The UI is cluttered and unresponsive, with a lack of attention to detail and is full of inconsistencies. It’s also buggy. There’s not even a dark mode. How about trying any other UI built in the last 10 years with modern technologies? 

It’s very verrrrrry slooowww.

Long load times require a whooollleee lot of patience. Something that should take two seconds to do takes ten minutes. Enough said.

There are way too many features.

The wealth of features tend to lead to practices that can be bad for overall productivity, even if they look useful on the surface.

A simpler structure, but still as powerful, is far easier to use and less prone to being misused. 

Not everyone can use it.

Jira wasn’t made for non-technical users either. Nobody else in the company (design, marketing, sales, support, etc.) has any idea what the engineering team is doing or what is going on in Jira. This means it’s impossible for everyone to be on the same page, and transparency doesn’t exist.

It’s not flexible.

There’s so much friction to do anything in Jira that it makes planning and changing anything not set-in-stone time-consuming and sometimes near impossible.

Some engineers default to keeping a text editor with their current and next tasks, then update Jira at the end of day based on it.

People also end up talking outside the tool.

The thing is…

When people don’t enjoy doing their job - when they feel like they’re on an assembly line and that assembly line is poorly constructed - nobody is happy. When nobody is happy, it affects the entire company culture and productivity.

Joy, not Jira

For truly modern product development vs. bureaucracy-laden feature-factory bullsh*t, try Shortcut instead. Start your free trial now.

And don’t even get us started on Confluence… Or do. Stay tuned.

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