Atlassian’s project management offering has become much denser and more segmented in recent years. More than a product, Jira has become a brand that conceals several very distinct solutions: Jira Software, Jira Work Management, Jira Product Discovery, Jira Service Management, Jira Align. 5 software products, 3 of which are dedicated to projects, to which we must add Trello and the marketplace, which is capable of transforming Jira Software. So, what do you use to do what?
Atlassian’s project management tools have their own specificities and exclusivities, but they also have areas of functional overlap.
Atlassian’s offering starts with Trello, the most accessible product for those who are new to project management, or for those who simply need simple functions to organise themselves alone or as part of a team. Although Trello is a very simple tool at first glance, it is functionally very complete and has its own market of plug ins and connectors (Trello Power Ups). Ideal for getting started, it can also be used for fairly advanced applications as long as the need for reporting is not too great. Trello doesn’t impose any framework, and data consolidation is nowhere near as effective as with Jira. Trello was presented in more detail here.
Jira Work Management
The first tool from the Jira brand is Jira Work Management. Also very easy to access, it offers a more precise framework and more packaged project types. So JWM is ready to use for business teams who need to get started quickly in managing their activities. JWM is the ideal tool for getting started, and has the scalability needed to gradually move towards advanced uses, right up to the eventual switch to Jira Software, from which it is strongly derived.
Jira Software, the publisher’s long-standing solution, is a tool designed for agile development, even if nothing is imposed. The tool is highly malleable, but requires a minimum level of maturity in terms of usage in order to be used to its full potential. Jira offers good reporting capabilities, which are important for managing project portfolios. Scrum and Kanban are its specialities, but anything is possible, especially with the Premium edition, which enables advanced planning of multiple, dependent projects.
Jira Software + marketplace apps
This is one of Jira’s great strengths. The Atlassian marketplace can transcend the tool in many respects: improved task management, support for agile methods, agility at scale (SAFe!), resource management, time management, DevOps (with testing apps in particular), automation, reporting, etc.
Jira Align is a product dedicated to agile planning at scale. Even more advanced than what the SAFe marketplace has to offer (BigPicture, Structure, EasyAgile, etc.), Jira Align is a separate piece of software that borrows its name from Jira. It must be connected to at least one instance of Jira Software, which is still used as a task and project management tool. As its name suggests, Align aligns the data, and therefore the teams, with the strategy, in full compliance with the SAFe method, which is very well documented. Jira Align is also open to any Agile or non-Agile method (with less interest). Switching to Jira Align requires a real need for transformation towards agility at scale, or significant maturity already acquired with the Jira marketplace, which is becoming insufficient, or a competing tool. Specific support is required (for both Align and SAFe).
In a nutshell
|– Team coordination
– Personnal organisation
– Task management
|Fun interfaces for organising work alone or with others.
Adopting the tool before interface constraints for better follow-up.
|Jira Work Management
|– Business project management
– Simple and basic project management
|Helping teams to manage their business projects, with or without agility.
|– Agile project management
– Scrum / Kanban
|Great flexibility of use for project management in the broadest sense.
Specialised in Agile development
|Jira Software + Marketplace
|– Advanced project management
– Time and resources management
– Scaled agile
|Hundreds of applications to add new uses or enhance existing ones.
|– Portfolio management
– Agile planification at scale
|Advanced platform for aligning top management (budget, strategy) with agile development teams
A progressive and compatible offer
Atlassian’s offering is therefore very progressive, from the management of digital thinkers (Trello) alone or in small teams, to the alignment of an entire organisation with agility (Jira Align). Data is compatible between products, and moving from one to another is easy. It may therefore be a good idea to start with a tool that will help to bring teams to maturity (Trello, JiraWM) before moving on to Jira Software, where the adoption of good practices is essential for the tool to work properly.