When it comes to project management software, you have plenty of options. Asana and Jira offer capable platforms to manage your tasks, with each delivering extensive customization capability to adapt their interfaces to how your team works. In this post, we’ll show you what each one does well and the areas where they could improve, so that you can choose the right project management solution.
Asana is a household name for project management with an incredibly gentle learning curve. It allows you to customize your dashboard and workflow, letting you adapt it to your processes and ensure that all your team members stay up to date on projects. Start using Asana for free today.
Jira, from Atlassian, gives you a powerful platform that can handle anything from basic project management to DevOps work. It’s also tailor-made for PM teams that follow the Agile methodology, integrating Scrum and Kanban boards, roadmaps, and issue tracking with essential project management features. Sign up for Jira today.
Asana and Jira Compared to the Best Project Management Software
We’ve looked at tons of project management software options on the market and researched them all to find the best of the best. While Asana and Jira are two quality options, here are three alternatives that we also think highly of.
Asana Compared to Jira
Let’s start with what you get when you use Asana and Jira to keep your team on task and progressing through projects. While both have extensive customizability and flexibility, each one has use cases for which it’s a better fit than the other.
Asana makes it easy to keep your team on the right track with several adaptable views and dashboards for your workflow that can be populated with tasks and subtasks that can further be organized with lists, groups, tags, and other labels. With this straightforward project management capability, Asana works great for managing marketing campaigns and business operations.
You can customize the platform so that each team member can easily identify and begin working on their tasks with no confusion. Asana’s custom fields and rules highlight who should work on each facet of your project, and you can use the platform’s pre-built rules to determine the order of tasks and when team members can start them.
Jira is a project management platform that can be applied to complex and particular project work, like software and product development. The software is great for teams following the Agile PM methodology. With the Jira Core package, you have access to the software’s essential task management tools, and it doesn’t require much technical knowledge to use its Scrum and Kanban boards.
You can also work with the more advanced versions of the platform if your team is doing DevOps. Tapping into the more specialized versions of Jira (like Jira Software and Jira Product Discovery) will unlock fantastic tools for managing code, issues, releases, and much more. Plus, Jira’s built-in issue tracking helps you identify bugs and resolve them quickly.
Asana vs. Jira: Pros and Cons
Where Asana Shines
Ease of use: Asana’s platform is designed to make it easy to start using immediately, no matter how tech-savvy you are. Its dashboards put all the tools and information you need in front of you, and the software is quick to set up with Asana’s templates and guides. Once you’ve started using Asana, you can add tasks with a single click, search for anything you need from your dashboard, and assign members to specific tasks all in the same place.
Extensive template library: Asana’s wide array of templates can fit the processes of different industries and departments, so you can get started quickly with the one that fits your projects the best. For example, under the Operations category of templates, you can choose options to set up meetings, conduct employee onboarding, handle work requests, and more. If you can’t find a template that works for your team, you can create your own with Asana.
Comprehensive views: The Asana interface lets you view all your team’s tasks on one dashboard. And, you can simplify views for other team members, preventing overwhelm by only showing each person’s workload, progress, and goals. You can also create tasks, invite team members, schedule meetings, and see team progress using boards, lists, charts, and timelines, all from this central location.
Customizable workflows: Whether you start from a template or from scratch, Asana allows you to view your workflow in several different ways, including Gantt charts and Kanban boards. It also offers custom fields that you can use to break tasks and information down into the way that your organization prefers.
Built-in communication: Asana has several ways to connect and stay in sync with your team, including messaging through team chat, commenting on tasks, and team conversations to check in with everyone at once. Team members can also follow each other and mention other members on projects (in comments or other messages) to get all the information they need.
Unlimited automations: With the automation builder in Asana, you can put repetitive tasks on autopilot. Asana has 54 pre-built rules, so you can build complex, multifaceted automations and even use them in tandem with software that integrates with Asana like Slack and Microsoft Teams. However, you are limited to those pre-built rules, so the automation builder isn’t fully customizable.
Where Asana Needs Improvement
Expensive paid plans: While Asana does have a generous free plan, it’s a big step up in pricing if you need to upgrade. The Premium package starts at $10.99 per user per month, so even for just one person you’ll pay well over $100 per year. The Business plan, Asana’s most expensive package, comes in at $24.99 per user per month, which adds up to $600 per year, at minimum.
Missing document collaboration: Despite containing plenty of team communication and collaboration features, Asana is missing in-document collaboration. It doesn’t allow multiple people to edit the same document at once, so you’ll still need to find another cloud-based word processor, like Google Docs, for that.
Lackluster mobile app: Project management doesn’t always happen in the office, especially with the recent rise in remote work. While Asana works great on desktop or via the web portal, its mobile app is pretty clunky. It works well enough to simply check in on statuses and mentions, but editing tasks, workflows, and other aspects of the platform can be frustrating on mobile.
Where Jira Shines
Issue tracking: Truly one of the aspects that sets Jira apart from every other PM platform, the software’s origin as issue tracking software makes it excel for software development teams. Jira shows when and how long ago issues were created, as well as how frequently they pop up. It offers a clear view of bugs in your system all in one place, so team members can attack each one in a timely manner to avoid slowing down progress.
Seamless navigation: Jira’s navigation bar gives you easy access to all your projects, dashboards, team members, apps, and more. It places almost everything you need right there on the home screen, saving you time that you might otherwise spend jumping between screens and sections. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to create issues, search, and move to admin screens to save even more time.
Flexibility: Jira allows you many ways to tailor the software to your team’s needs. Split things out into team-managed and company-managed projects, while also customizing workflows and adding apps and integrations to expand the software’s capabilities. Use Kanban or scrum boards to organize tasks in a visually pleasing manner. Or, connect Jira with other Atlassian tools to flesh out your project management tech stack. No matter what kind of team you’re running, you can customize Jira to fit it.
Plentiful integrations: Jira is able to sync and play with over 3,000 other pieces of software. Of course, you’ll find the essentials like Slack, HubSpot, and Dropbox, to more specialized tools like time tracking, help desk, and whiteboard software. You can browse its apps and integrations by category to find the one you need.
Modular upgrades: While Jira’s core software can be used for free or on a paid plan, you can also supercharge the platform with Atlassian’s more specialized modules for Jira, including Statuspage and Halp for customer support, Opsgenie for incident reporting, monitoring, and resolution, and JiraAlign for enterprise-grade for unifying strategies across large organizations.
Where Jira Needs Improvement
Difficult learning curve: While Jira has intuitive navigation from the central dashboard, its extensive customization features and powerful usefulness for more technical project work makes it take some time to get the hang of. If you’re looking for a quick and easy tool, Asana may be a better fit. But if you need the unique capabilities of Jira, prepare yourself and your team for a length onboarding period.
Paywalled 24/7 support: Jira’s free and entry-level paid plans only offer limited support. With the free forever version, you can only access the community support message board. That’s far from adequate for such capable though complex software. You can get a hold of an Atlassian rep for support on the Standard plan, but you’re limited to reaching someone during local business hours. Paid plans above that (which start at $14.50 per user per month) finally unlock 24/7 premium support.
Slow interface: Many Jira users find that the software responds slowly and takes a long time to load queries. That can put a wrench in your workflow when you’re trying to boost productivity or make a sprint for the finish line at the end of a project. Be aware that the UX can get bogged down by long load times or delayed syncing, especially if you have a large team using it simultaneously.
Lacks collaboration: Unlike Asana, Jira doesn’t really give you much to communicate and collaborate with other team members. While it does allow you to mention others on its Kanban and scrum boards, it lacks built-in chat or project messaging features. That said, you can use one of its many software integrations to fill in these holes.
The Last Word on Asana Compared to Jira
Asana and Jira both have their own strengths as project management solutions. Each one has extensive customizability, multiple project views, and integrations to pick up the slack where their built-in tools don’t cut it.
Overall, Asana has a more intuitive setup with tons of user resources to build a solid project management foundation. Its template library helps you set up your dashboards quickly, and despite its steep pricing, its ease of use keeps people coming back.
Jira, on the other hand, stands out for its issue tracking and capability to handle software and product development work. Its flexibility ensures that you can tailor the software to your team’s needs. However, if you choose Jira, make sure you set aside some time for your organization to learn it, as its complicated setup can put some users off.
Don’t limit your choices to Jira and Asana. To learn about other solutions, read our post on the best project management software. You may find a different solution that better fits your team’s needs.