JIRA is a project planning, tracking and management application that is based on agile and lean methodologies. JIRA functions as an issue and bug tracking app, as well as a task management and project planning tool for individuals, as much as teams. The app offers capabilities for single project management as well as project portfolio management. JIRA acts as a collaboration tool, aligning different departments and defining processes and workflows to match various projects. The app helps to set priorities, increase transparency and communication, track progress,and identify roadblocks and bottlenecks.
JIRA’s main features consist of projects, agile boards, issues and “epics”. Projects can be created to represent different departments or task groups - such as bug tracking - as well as for general project management, status tracking and reporting. Within these projects time-based sprints are created, represented by visual boards containing multiple issue cards. Issues cards can be either stories, epics and tasks, with epics signifying a larger task area, while stories and tasks represent tasks within an epic. Issue cards can be moved along customizable, vertical swimlanes, which represent steps in a process, i.e. “To Do”, “Assigned”, “In Progress”, “Done” and so forth.
JIRA has various levels of complexity, allowing the app to match the needs of the user. The software was designed primarily for product development teams, with add-ons available to meet these requirements. The JIRA agile add-on offers scrum and kanban boards, while JIRA Service Desk manages customer requests and SLAs. JIRA improves collaboration and visibility by letting you monitor the issues important to you, with automatic updates, activity streams, wallboards and shared dashboards. JIRA helps improve the way teams work together by offering importable workflows based on industry best practices that can be customized to meet your individual needs.Show more screenshots »
JIRA is offered by Atlassian, a software company whose suite of products integrate and complement one another. Their products are designed for developers, product managers, and IT service teams, but have been adapted by all industries. The company was founded in 2002, with JIRA being the first product to kickstart a large family of products that now include: JIRA Service Desk, Confluence, Confluence Questions, HipChat, Bitbucket, and Stash. JIRA is used worldwide by teams of all sizes. Some big names using JIRA include NASA, ebay, Salesforce, Adobe, BMW and Linkedin.
JIRA stands out for its flexibility, personalization and customizability, allowing you to match the app with the needs and workflows of your teams and projects. There are three variations of JIRA: for projects, for developers and for service desks. There is also a JIRA Agile add-on.
Unlike other project management tools which enforce a pre-set transitional journey, JIRA allows you to customize your processes, creating your own steps and epics, and automatically assigning tasks to users.
JIRA can be as complex or as easy as the user wishes it to be, with advanced reporting should you need it; various modes, views, and filters; and a selection of collaboration features such as alerts, rewards, comments, and attachments. For further personalization there are also a number of 3rd party integrations, code integration for developers, importable templates and over 400 add-ons available from the Atlassian marketplace.
JIRA’s clean and crisp, dark blue and white interface is unintimidating and welcoming. The basic tools and features of the application are straightforward and should be easy to get the hang of for users of all technical ability. As the user becomes familiar with the software, advanced features, settings and add-ons can be employed to further customize your experience. Sprint planning is the core functionality of the app and once the user masters this, further complexity can be added. There are three main views for sprints - plan, work and reports.
The plan view shows a color-coded (colors representing epics) list of all issues, which includes photos of the user who the task has been assigned to, in all “active” sprints and your backlog. The work view shows the active sprint and all cards (issues) in this sprint. Cards can be dragged and dropped to change prioritization, add and remove from sprints and to move along the vertical swimlanes. Clicking on cards shows all the details associated with that task, including comments and attachments. The report view shows the progress of your tasks in a graph.
You can sign up for a free trial of JIRA through the Atlassian website by clicking on the green “Try it for free” button on the JIRA product page. You will then be prompted to choose the version you would like to try: for projects, for development, or for service desk. Once you select the version you prefer you then need to select the number of users you need. Once this is done you then need to fill out a form specifying your desired Atlassian URL, your email, username and password, along with your name, company name, country and address. Completion of the form gives you 7 days free access to JIRA.
JIRA offers three product variations, each with different pricing, with scaling costs based on the number of users per month. For ten users, JIRA for projects costs $10 per month, while JIRA Agile and JIRA Service Desk both cost $20 per month. The monthly cost of JIRA and JIRA Agile increases with the number of users, while JIRA Service Desk remains at $20 per month.
For 15 users JIRA costs $50 per month, while JIRA Agile costs $75 per month and JIRA Service Desk remains at $20 per month. The maximum cost is $1, 000 per month for JIRA and $1, 500 for JIRA Agile which caters to 2, 000 users.
While JIRA was designed with software developers and product managers in mind, the software’s ease-of-use and flexibility has meant that it has been adopted by all kinds of departments, including marketing and content. However, JIRA is perfectly suited to software developers, product managers, bug trackers, and service desks. The software’s pricing means it can be used by SMBs as much as large enterprises. JIRA is multi-platform and supports 5 languages, with hundreds of add-ons and integrations.