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  • Asana vs Jira: A Comparison of Popular Project Management Software Solutions

Asana vs Jira: A Comparison of Popular Project Management Software Solutions

Category: B2B News
Which is better Asana or Jira?
Asana is better than Jira if you are looking for a generic project management platform. It is designed to have an interface similar to social media networks, making it easy to use. However, Jira seems to have the edge if you use an agile methodology. Also, it supports an extensive selection of integrations, making it highly flexible for software developers.

Today, companies understand that excellent project management is key to implementing effective organizational strategies. In fact, for the past decade, leading businesses are optimizing project management processes, not only to meet goals, but to improve performance. Here, the use of the right digital tools for project management is critical. Thus, businesses tend to compare products like Wrike vs Trello or Asana vs Jira to find the best one for them to implement.

If you’re not yet sure what platform to choose for your company, we’ll help you cut down your list of possible project management tools. In this article, we’ll compare popular SaaS tools Asana and Jira, paying attention to their core features for collaborative project management. This way, you can decide on whether they should stay on your shortlist or not.

comparison of project management software

Project management is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of business operations. In fact, only 58% of companies understand the value of project management. However, as project management trends reshape the industry landscape, we can see that this is about to change.

Just last year, there was an increase in the number of project managers hired to meet company goals. Moreover, 59% of organizations started to roll out project management training programs to improve techniques and software usage.

As a result, experts have recently observed a 27% decrease in wasted money due to poor project management. With that said, we can expect that more companies will start leveraging project management in order to reap its benefits.

The Need for Better Project Performance

In case you are one of these businesses that has yet to invest in project management software, two of the most popular tools you should consider are Asana and Jira. The only question is, which one is ideal for your company?

To help you find out, we’ll be doing a head-to-head comparison of these tools based on their core features, usability, and value for money. This way, it will be easier for you to gauge which one can meet your unique operational requirements and can accommodate your preferences. But before we get down to the nitty-gritty of comparing the two platforms, let’s first take a look at what each tool is known for and what they have to offer.

Asana Overview

asana dashboard example

Experts consider Asana features to make up a ‘balanced system’. It sits right in the middle between what larger enterprises want to have and what smaller companies can afford. Asana sports flexible functionalities housed in a highly-intuitive dashboard that can help project managers in different industries manage their projects.

This browser-based platform allows users to assign tasks easily to other team members. This is because Asana was designed to have the familiar look of a social media platform. Members can communicate through comments and keep up to date with their tasks through the activity feed.

Also, there is an inbox feature that notifies users about updates and status changes. There is also a subtask feature that helps users organize via dependencies. Moreover, Asana is very flexible. It includes a feature where managers can add custom fields to tailor the platform to their current needs.

Additionally, Asana includes a reporting module for managers to analyze the productivity of employees. They can easily access this in just a few clicks. Thus, insights are easier to come by than creating your own Excel report.

Furthermore, many teams in popular companies use Asana to manage their projects. Companies that use Asana include Avon, Redbull, Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, NASA, and Vodafone, among others. Asana also offers native apps for both Android and iPhone users.

Jira Overview

jira dashboard example

PM solution Jira is known for its collaborative functionalities. So much so that it is also trusted by teams in popular companies like Dominos, AutoDesk, Audi, Pandora, and Sega, among others.

Jira allows users to assign tasks and set priorities, just like other project management apps. Also, its collaboration features enable users to communicate and work together with other team members.

The vendor, Atlassian, offers it in three main packages with different foci. First, Jira Core targets generic project management. Second, Jira Software includes the base product with agile management features. Thirdly, Jira Service Desk targets business and IT service desk users. In a sense, it is more specialized than other platforms.

However, like most, it allows users to plan, develop, and track the performance of rapid testing initiatives. The platform gives users the ability to plan sprints, create stories, and discuss tasks in full context. Furthermore, real-time visual data allow managers to make data-driven decisions.

Users enjoy many of Jira features such as bugs and defect management, customizable workflows, and advanced security and administration. The platform is available for on-premise installations for Windows and Linux. Furthermore, the vendor offers a cloud-based deployment called Jira OnDemand. Users can even download native Jira apps for Android and iOS.

Asana vs Jira Comparison of Features

Real-Time Collaboration

Real-time collaboration is a core feature of project management solutions. This allows teams to quickly interact and work together on interdependent tasks. Many times, this feature only allows members to communicate. Real-time collaboration, like document editing, is outsourced to different platforms like Google Docs and Word. Project management solutions just integrate with programs like this to facilitate the flow of information faster. Let’s take a look at how Asana and Jira can help your team collaborate.

Collaborating on Asana

Asana allows members to create tasks and assign them to themselves or each other. It mainly acts as a communication platform where users can let each other know what they are up to and what should be done. There are different tools for this:

  • Teams. This feature allows you to create teams and organize your projects using conversations and a team calendar.
  • Milestones. This lets users create clear project goals for everyone to see. These can be used as critical markers of progress.
  • Task comments. This allows members to comment directly on a task for clarification and mention teammates to get their attention for a current task. This can be used for discussions and quickly acknowledge tasks through quick responses such as “likes”.
  • Project conversations. The platform offers a place to discuss project progress.
  • Status updates. This feature allows you to share the current state of projects to stakeholders.
  • Portfolios. Track your projects with this tool. This shows the real-time status, progress, and priorities of all your projects.
  • Followers. Asana allows users to add other members to follow a task and get relevant notifications and updates. You can do this through @mentions.

These comprise the main tools that Asana users have at their disposal to work together online. However, Asana integrations also allow for tighter collaboration. For example, an integration with Slack enables users to receive notifications whenever a task status gets updated, or a comment was made. Other integrations allow you to seamlessly go back and forth from your Asana workspace to other systems for more advanced collaboration.

Collaboration on Asana

Asana allows your team members to interact and collaborate using comments and quick responses, among other tools.

Collaborating on Jira

Jira, as mentioned, caters mostly to the agile project management community. Unlike Asana, it targets software developers and Scrum masters more. However, many teams also like the Scrum and Kanban style dashboard that Jira offers. This, mixed with other tools below, makes collaborative work in Jira manageable for many teams.

  • Issues. In Jira, an ‘issue’ refers to a work item of any size or type that is being tracked from creation to completion. This stands for everything from a feature being developed by a software team or to-do item. This is also referred to as ‘tickets’, ‘tasks’, or ‘requests’.
  • Projects. This pertains to the collection of issues held in some contexts. Moreover, you can group issues by teams, products, or business units.
  • Scrum boards. This allows teams to be on the same page. In addition, this takes out tasks from silos and makes the workflow cohesive.
  • Kanban. This view allows teams to move tasks from status to status themselves.
  • Issue hierarchy. This breaks down larger tasks into smaller subtasks. Thus, you can assign various correlated issues to different team members easily.
  • Comments. This allows users to comment on tasks or issues and decide collaboratively.
  • Mentions. This allows users to ping members by “@name” and let Jira notify them to get their attention to important issues.

Jira can be deployed by specialized teams from HR to marketing; from legal to IT. It has deployment options tailored to the use of specific business units like Jira Software and Jira Service Desk. Thus, collaboration tools may differ.

However, if you are looking for a generic project management deployment, Jira Core is for you. It contains all the essential tools to keep you and your team on the same page.

Collaboration on Jira

Jira Core’s Board view allows users to collaborate better by being on the same page.

Which set of collaboration features fit your needs?

Both platforms are designed to cover generic project collaboration needs. You can customize Asana to accommodate project management frameworks, styles, and workflows. However, you need to configure it yourself. For example, you have to translate Agile concepts like stories and epics into Asana terms like tasks and portfolios.

On the other hand, Jira supports such terminologies as it has versions geared towards the Agile community. So, if you tend to value Agile terminology and workflows, Jira may be for you.

Cost and Risk Management

Cost and risk management features are key elements of top project management solutions. Jira and Asana approach this in different ways.

For Asana, veteran users can customize Asana to cater to this need. Thanks to custom fields and task priority features. These are not that easy to do. You need to be able to have a good grasp of software features before you can customize it fully to fit your needs.

For example, in Asana, you have to create custom fields to monitor time costs. It takes some ingenuity to do, and many fall back to its active knowledgebase community to find out how to do it. It’s hard going at it on your own.

The same goes for Jira. You need to be somewhat of a veteran user to pull this off. Also, the core product does not include a native budget and risk management module. You need add-ons or work with other software integrated with them. You’ll find this to be a regular thing when it comes to generic project management platforms. Usually, they just offer tools for collaboration on project execution. They are not an accounting software in and by themselves. Moreover, like many others, Asana and Jira compensate for this with integrations.

Are there other programs with native cost and risk management features?

Yes. For instance, monday.com features include a ‘numbers column’ that you can add to track and manage your budget. Furthermore, it allows you to create a custom set of statuses to signify priority or risk. Others may need integrations for this, but in monday.com, this is a native feature. If you want to investigate the features more closely you can easily do so by reading our detailed monday.com review.

However, if you are okay with working using another system aside from your project management software, then Asana and Jira may suffice for you.

monday Budget Tracking

You can create modules to track your budget using monday.com.

Reporting and Analytics

Both Asana and Jira offer good reporting and analytics features. They enable users to pull up dashboards easily for more efficient monitoring of project status and performance. Both platforms have highly-visual representations for data. Thus, it’s quite easy to gain insights.

Managers will be able to see project and task statuses with just a few clicks. Moreover, they could generate visual reports that they can use for presentations. Reports can also be exported to other file formats like CSV and Excel for easier transfers.

Reporting is a basic feature that all project management solutions need to have. Without such, users will not be able to see finer details and patterns. Working hand-in-hand with this feature should be analytics. More digital tools are now offering this as a part of their basic packages or as separate modules; Asana and Jira are no different.

However, for more advanced analytics, they are lacking. They compensate this through their integrations (and add-ons in the case of Jira) which we will discuss later. You can read more about what is business analytics here in case you want to learn how to leverage it.

Asana Reports

Asana allows you to gain insight into your projects through reporting and analytics.

User Interface

Judging a platform solely by its interface will be very subjective. Some people like clean looks. Others want many things going on at the same time.

If you are in the middle, then Asana may work out better for you. The reason for this is that it is easily customizable. The platform is so intuitive that you can pull off basic project management easily. Moreover, Asana’s user interface is designed to mimic the design of popular social networks. Asana looks and feels like a private social network for managing projects.

On the other hand, Jira exudes a somewhat more basic yet technical feel. Its controls and interface are straightforward. The design is clean even though it comes with an extensive set of powerful features and specialized add-ons. The only issue is that it can get a little “messy” at times when many tasks and subtasks are populating the projects. This is the same for Asana as well.

To sum up, user-friendliness, beauty, and functionality are not the same things. However, they all work together to create distinct user experiences. When it comes to a better mix of the three, Asana is comparably better than Jira. This is especially true (and maybe a special case) for generic project management needs. For more technical and specialized projects like software development, perhaps Jira’s user interface is more intuitive.

Asana User Interface

Asana’s user interface is designed quite similarly to social media sites.

Integrations

One can say that Jira excels most when it comes to the number and quality of integrations compared to Asana. Jira is an application by Atlassian, a SaaS giant, that acquired Trello in 2017. With its vast internal and external networks, it offers more integrations and more specialized add-ons for its Jira product.

Again, Jira itself is offered in different versions with the main ones being Core, Software, and Service Desk. Only Jira Core is for generic project management. Other deployments are more specialized with add-ons to cater to particular business processes.

Furthermore, Jira offers enhancements through the Atlassian Marketplace. The software provider claims that the Marketplace includes thousands of apps and integrations. Some are third-party, while others are first-party apps. As of this writing, there are 1,750 apps listed for Jira in the Marketplace. These extend the capabilities and power of Jira Core, the basic app.

On the other hand, Asana integrates well with many popular products. These include Gmail, Slack, Zoho Mail, and even Jira. However, the range is very limited compared to 1,750 that Jira has available.

Most project managers don’t need too many apps and integrations. Thus, most can just work with Asana. But, if you are into some high-tech projects, maybe Jira is the better program for you.

By now, you should have already noticed the pattern: Jira is great for technical and agile projects while Asana is great for more generic projects.

Jira Integrations

The Atlassian Marketplace provides 1,750 integrations and add-ons for Jira.

Pricing and Packages

Many times, price weighs the most when it comes to purchasing decisions. Everybody wants to get the best bang for their buck. However, not everyone has the same business processes and needs. This is why there are so many successful products in their own right. Moreover, this is an aspect where we could be very subjective. And, there is nothing wrong with that.

Asana plans

Asana cost varies depending on the features you require. The software currently offers the following plans: Basic, Premium, Business, and Enterprise. As you’ll see from the breakdown of the rates below, all of their packages are generally reasonable if you consider the functionalities that are included in each plan.

Basic plan

The basic plan is free. It supports up to 15 teammates. In a nutshell, this serves as an introduction to the platform. Also, this serves as an introduction to project management as a whole. Asana features such as list view, tasks, board view, calendar view, and assignees plus due dates are all included. Again, it will serve you well for basic project management. If you don’t need something too fancy, maybe a free Asana plan may just fit your needs.

Premium plan

The Premium plan includes many more features like a timeline view and task dependencies. Moreover, this version allows you to create custom templates and set milestones. This plan costs you $10.99 a month per user when billed annually. Should you choose to pay monthly, it will set you back for $13.49.

Business plan

Asana also offers a business plan. This targets teams and companies that manage work across different projects. It includes more features such as a custom rules builder, portfolios, workload, and Adobe Creative Cloud integration. This is priced at $24.99 per month for every user billed annually. Meanwhile, it costs $30.49 if you opt for monthly payments.

Enterprise plan

Lastly, Asana has an enterprise plan. This is targeted at larger organizations or teams that need more security, support, and control. Moreover, it includes advanced perks such as custom branding and priority support. This plan is only available via quote.

Asana Pricing Plans

A screenshot of Asana pricing plans.

Jira core plans

We have mentioned that Jira comes in different versions. However, let us limit our discussion to the most basic of them all: Jira Core. This is because Atlassian offers so many add-ons and integrations that you can virtually create different combinations to make your Jira service extremely unique.

Jira Core, the most basic deployment of all, has a very flexible pricing scheme. Furthermore, it also offers a free version. To wit, it only offers two versions: free and standard.

Free plan

The free edition of Jira Core is for teams with equal to or less than ten members. This includes features such as boards, projects, task tracking, reports, dashboards, and customizable workflows. It also provides users with 2GB free storage and access to a lively customer knowledgebase.

Standard plan

The standard plan includes far more features than the free one. Some of the additional functionalities worth mentioning are the anonymous access, audit logs, advanced permissions, 9-5 standard support, and 250GB of storage.

So far, the cheapest iteration for the standard version costs a flat rate of $10 per month. This supports one to ten users. Go over that, and it will cost you $5 per user a month. However, as the number of users increases, the Jira cost per user also decreases. This makes for a good offering.

Jira Core Pricing Plans

A screenshot of Jira Core pricing plans.

Which project management tool offers the best value for money?

Well, it’s not a clear cut Asana vs Jira here. On the surface, you’ll find the free version of Asana is better as it supports fifteen people. Jira’s free edition only supports one to ten.

However, Asana’s paid plans start at $10.99 per person. This includes milestones, timeline, forms, task dependencies, and start date (yes, the free plan has a due date but no start date). Moreover, it introduces advanced sear and reporting in this bracket as well.

On the other hand, Jira Core will only cost you a flat rate of $10 for ten users. If you are penny-pinching and you want to just have a basic project management tool, it can work for small teams. But when you want to add another user, it will already cost you $5 a month. This is the rate for 11 to 100 team members. The only difference is that it offers these extra features: advanced permissions, anonymous access, audit logs, 250GB storage, and nine-to-five support.

Asana’s pricing scheme goes up from brackets to brackets with the number of features rising the same as the price. Jira’s Core has a standard plan, with prices going down as the number of users increases.

What is the Better Project Management Solution for You?

Asana and Jira are robust platforms in their own right. They are likely to stay strong for project management in 2020 and beyond. After all, many brands use each of them for different reasons. So, which is better Asana or Jira?

As mentioned numerous times, Asana looks to be the better app when it comes to general project management. On the other hand, Jira is the better platform for highly-specialized projects thanks to the Atlassian Marketplace and integrations.

Moreover, Asana is better for creative teams like advertising departments or UX design. Meanwhile, Jira is more ideal for highly-technical projects like software development, game development, and digital product testing. So, all in all, both platforms offer good basic project management features. However, at the end of the day, the type of projects you tackle will determine which one is better than the other.

If you find the features and packages of Asana or Jira right for you, take advantage of the free editions to test the product. In case you find that they don’t meet your requirements, be sure to check out other platforms. You can start with our list of project management programs.

One alternative option that is highly recommended is monday.com. It is highly customizable, with many automation possibilities. It is filled with tools that allow you to design a project management solution tailored to your needs easily. The platform sports an intuitive and highly-visual design that users don’t just find convenient but also enjoyable. You can easily sign up for monday.com free trial here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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