To manage large projects and agility at scale, Jira suffers from its limitations even in its premium version despite the “Advanced Roadmaps” features. At Atlassian, Jira Align is proposed to go as far as possible in agility at scale, but it is a very distinct tool despite the name “Jira” and above all, it requires a significant price premium. There are intermediate solutions to be discovered on the marketplace.

Segmentation of the Atlassian offer

The entry point to project management is Jira Work Management, with an adapted and attractive price. Secondly, Jira Software offers real support for Scrum and great flexibility to tool all uses of project management, ticketing, etc. To go further, Jira Premium will especially bring its Advanced Roadmaps brick for multi-project planning. Although very useful and efficient, Jira Premium alone does not allow you to implement a large-scale agility method such as SAFe.

For that, you need to turn to Jira Align, a separate product that relies on one or more Jira Software instances to align data. Jira Align imposes its own interfaces, a new timeframe for increasing competence, and above all, customised support, imposed by the publisher via its partners. This is the price of exhaustiveness and efficiency. In short, the step is high between Jira Software and Jira Align!

Between the two, the marketplace can offer very convincing alternatives that are better sized in terms of functionalities for organisations that do not need everything that Align offers.

Agile@scale with the Atlassian marketplace

The marketplace is indeed very interesting to consider for large and complex project management uses. Jira Align is not mandatory for agility at scale and is to be recommended especially for large groups in transformation who need more than a project management tool: more a business management tool integrating strategy and budget to the management of large transformation projects.

First of all, the applications are much more advantageous in terms of price, and the difference increases with the number of users.

Now, if we look at the capacity of each application to tool SAFe, the reference method for agility at scale, we can see that the marketplace is up to the task. Of course Jira Premium has other interests than proposing the beginning of scaling, and Jira Align will have the capacity to propose other tools to management to align its interests with the work of the teams. The solutions in the marketplace remain globally focused on the pure management of large-scale projects.

From our analysis, it appears that BigPicture, even without its Enterprise version which offers additional and useful options in a context of agility at scale, is an excellent compromise between price and features. Easy Agile remains expensive despite a well thought out application. Structure, on the other hand, effectively adds the notion of hierarchy in order to better visualise project portfolios, even better than Jira Premium, which is more practical for planning. It should be noted that the change in Structure’s price in 2023 makes the application less competitive, but it remains the easiest to access if you want to start without assistance.

Finally, we note that Jira Premium does not seem to be interesting if we only look at its capacity to tool agility at scale. Similarly, the prices of Jira Align seem exaggerated compared to BigPicture on the functional scope of agility at scale. If the need is only at that level, BigPicture will be sufficient, but Jira Align will be useful up to the strategic and budgetary decisions of the company needing a global and decompartmentalized vision of activities, projects, objectives, vision.

To date on the market, BigPicture is the reference and the best compromise, but Structure is a “lighter” alternative to consider. Indeed, it is a question of paying attention to the learning curve and the support needed on BigPicture. Easy Agile plays on the user experience, which can potentially accelerate adoption and usage. So don’t put it aside too quickly.

This updated analysis is part of our Jira 2022 Marketplace Guide, now available free of charge in digital form. Its 2023 edition will be available in our pages very soon, still free of charge!

Article author :
Thomas Poinsot

Thomas Poinsot