trello vs jira comparison

Trello vs Jira: Which Project Management System Will Work Best for You?

We are living in the age of the fourth industrial revolution, the moment when technologies rule the world. In fact, it’s a digital change when software leads the way in managing, connecting, and controlling those innovative devices along with the new processes appearing in our everyday lives. Software creation is a complicated process everyone tries to streamline with numerous methodologies and approaches.

The increased demand for new software systems explains the variety of project management and tracking tools available on the market. In this post, we will talk over two frequently compared products we have used to work with at Railsware: Trello and Jira.

trello vs jira for project management

Project management and tracking software. Railsware experience

We’ve switched to Jira for project management after using Trello for a while. Well, we’ve moved development and operational processes to Jira. However, we find it easier to handle some marketing, HR, and design related projects, which contain a solid part of ideation, as cards on Trello boards. We also use Trello to work in a collaborative manner with client teams on their project roadmaps, development, and some other processes. For us, Jira is more comprehensive, it offers custom statuses and workflows, APIs, and what’s even more important, it supports the service desk project types.

We have already made our choice but will be happy to assist you in making yours: Jira or Trello, Trello vs Jira…or Trello and Jira?! So, we will walk you through their main features, pricing strategies, purposes, and use cases.

Atlassian products

Every product has its aim and its purpose, is designed to meet some specific needs. From 2017, Trello is offered as a part of the Atlassian project management and tracking product line. If Atlassian now distinguishes them as complementary but not competing solutions, does it mean that we should combine them without deciding on one as the best project management tool?

Let’s start with a quick overview of Atlassian project management and tracking tools. We will take a close look at two groups: “Plan, Track, & Support” and “Collaborate” just because there are now four products with a name starting with “Jira” in the first one, and Trello placed at a second one. At first glance, it might seem confusing because we started by saying that we are comparing Jira and Trello. Here is a simple explanation below.

Jira unites four products:

  • Jira Software
  • Jira Core
  • Jira Service Desk
  • Jira Ops.

The purpose of the last two from the list is quite obvious. Jira Ops is a solution for incident management while Jira Service Desk is a ticketing system.

What is Jira Core then? Atlassian positions it as a business project management software for handling projects, with workflows, dashboards, and reports. It is designed to match the needs of Marketing, HR, Legal, Finance, and Operations.

Jira Software is promoted as the project management tool for agile teams that provides features for planning, tracking, and releasing software. It also offers lots of integrations and add-ons.

All these four Jira products – Software, Core, Ops, and Service Desk – can be purchased separately as well as installed together as a unified instance. Besides, Jira Core features are available to all Jira Software users. We’ll talk about pricing later and now let’s get back to Trello which is defined as a “visual way for teams to collaborate on any project”.

Atlassian compares Trello to Jira Software on their website, so let’s move this way and see what makes them different.

Jira Software vs Trello

Features

Jira Software has been designed for managing software development tasks while Trello doesn’t have a particular focus. Why are they both so widely used by software development companies, and how are they compared?
Let’s start from the main features these tools offer.

FeatureJira SoftwareTrello
BoardsAgile, Scrum, Kanban, mixedScrum, Kanban
CardsCustomCustom
ChecklistsWith add-onsEmbedded
ReportingEmbeddedWith Power-Ups
RoadmapsEmbeddedWith Power-Ups
WorkflowsCustom, Jira CoreNo
Bug trackingEmbeddedNo

Both products operate with boards and cards. Jira provides comprehensive features for managing and tracking your projects with a variety of custom reports and workflows. Trello focuses on planning and collaboration but doesn’t concentrate on reports and analysis. It’s much simpler and doesn’t offer functionality for building multi-level workflows but at the same time, it has checklists as an embedded option. It’s an apparent and a highly demanded feature which we missed a lot in Jira. We have solved this challenge by creating Smart Checklist, an add-on for Jira, and afterward shared it with the Atlassian community.

In addition to main features, one more meaningful point should be mentioned. It’s hosting, which sometimes can become a choice determining factor: Trello is a cloud-based solution while Jira instances can be hosted both in the cloud and locally.

Integrations

Atlassian shares Jira APIs so that the users have an opportunity to customize the products they work with according to their specific needs as well as build integrations with the other tools. Over 1,500 of applications and add-ons for Jira are available on Atlassian marketplace.

Although initially Trello was not tailored to software creation needs, now it also can be integrated with development tools like GitLab, GitHub, or Bitbucket. Various add-ons, or how Trello calls them Power-Ups, also bring sales, support, analytics, automation, and other functions. Their marketplace is not so “crowded” and currently numbers up to 100 Power-Ups.

Use Cases

Jira Software is designed for managing the software development process but beyond sprints planning and execution, issue and bug tracking it is also widely used for operations handling. Availability of Jira Core functionality for Jira Software users really makes it a universal solution.

If you are an established company with well-grounded processes and predefined workflows, and you are looking for a comprehensive customizable agile tool, you will most probably decide on using Jira for project management. Mid-size to big teams and large-scale projects also would benefit from its inclusive set of features and integrations.

Jira gives its users more control. In particular, by providing a self-hosted version, which might be important to comply with some information handling standards or other situations when full control over setup is preferred.

Jira is comprehensive and at the same time, it is more complicated. It is frequently mentioned that it might seem complex to non-tech-savvy users.

Trello provides a simple visually designed interface for a smooth journey from ideation to implementation rather than step-by-step movement via task solving. It is widely used by small non-tech teams.

Kanban dashboards make Trello fit for sprint planning, feature request management as well as preparing test scenarios or use cases. Working with Trello for these purposes, users appreciate easy process description with checklists and attachments.

Some integrations make Trello a ubiquitous tool. Its forever free plan offers unlimited access to boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, and attachments but with a 1 Power-Up available per board. Anyway, it still is often enough for startups and small teams. So let’s figure out how much each of the solutions will cost.

Pricing

Atlassian offers different pricing schemes for Trello and Jira Software.

Jira Software has two main plans, one for cloud-based and another for the server version. Jira cloud provides a flexible and scalable pricing scheme, which is based on the number of users.

The cost of Jira’s server version also depends on the number of users but provides a perpetual license, and includes 12 months of software maintenance. Further maintenance renewal is available at extra cost but this feature is optional. It is free to try for 30 days. For large organizations of over 500 users, Jira’s self-hosted version also offers a Data Center plan, which starts from 12,000 USD yearly and provides an extended list of functions.

Trello offers three packages based on different business’ needs; the cost depends on the number of users as well as the set of features included. At the same time, the free plan provides unlimited access to boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, and attachments, with 1 Power-Up available per board. The Trello Business class plan, starting at 9.99 USD per user per month provides unlimited Power-Up integrations and enhanced security. Trello Enterprise is offered for large companies managing multiple teams with a price range of 4.17 to 20.83 USD per user per month.

Free options

Jira Software CloudTrello
7 days free software for all teams with full functionalityFree forever with limited functionality

Annual pricing

 Jira Software CloudTrello
Number of usersAnnual tier, USDPer user per month, USD*Per user per month, USD
1-100 team members1 - 10100from 0.83 to 8.339.99
11 - 151,050from 5.83 to 7.95
16 - 251,750from 5.83 to 9.11
26 - 503,500from 5.83 to 11.22
51 - 1007,000from 5.83 to 11.44
101 - 300 team members101 - 20012,000from 5.00 to 9.9020.83
201 - 30015,050from 4.18 to 6.24
301-500 team members301 - 40016,150from 3.36 to 4.4712.5
401 - 50017,250from 2.88 to 3.58
501-1000 team members501 - 60018,350from 2.55 to 3.058.33
601 - 80020,550from 2.14 to 2.85
801 - 1,00022,750from 1.90 to 2.37
1000+ users team members1,001 - 1,20024,950from 1.73 to 2.084.17
1,201 - 1,40027,150from 1.62 to 1.88
1,401 - 1,60029,350from 1.53 to 1.75
1,601 - 1,80031,550from 1.46 to 1.64
1,801 - 2,00033,750from 1.41 to 1.56

*a relative price calculated for minimum and maximum number of users for each tier

Recently Atlassian announced Enterprise plan which grants secure access to an unlimited number of Atlassian Cloud products. It starts at 3 USD per user and is going to include access to the Trello features soon.

Verdict

When it comes to making bottom-line decisions, it’s worth noting that Trello is good to start easily because it doesn’t require setting up workflows, specific statuses, defining what templates to use, configure add-ons and all the infrastructure. And it has a free plan which is enough for a bunch of project handling tasks. To be honest, we use a free version.

For managing the entire software development process you’ll need more down the road but many teams don’t need the specific functionality which Jira provides. After Atlassian acquired Trello, they adopted a lot for Jira. For example, Jira Software now has so-called “next-gen” project templates, like easy card creation, board arrangement, and so on. But still, it looks complex compared to Trello.

Jira Software is good for the controllable process, automation, reporting for both software development and business teams. Companies which care about security and specific control over permissions (who manage flows, projects, who can create tasks and who can access specific context) choose Jira. Trello is much simpler and doesn’t provide these specifics.

Trello and Jira Integration

As we’ve already mentioned, for us Trello + Jira = a good match. Atlassian also promotes this approach, for a better collaboration of technical and non-technical teams along with the combination of the advantages of both products into one powerful system.

To join “forces” or smoothly import Trello cards into Jira, you can use their APIs. Furthermore, there are some third-party tools for transferring basic data, available both as Jira add-ons and Trello Power-Ups. We at Railsware have Jira integrated with Slack and GitHub, and also built our own add-on, Smart Checklist Exporter Trello Power-Up, to easily take checklists from Trello cards or boards into Jira issues.

Project management and tracking sometimes can be overwhelming, and the main purpose of methods and tools you use is to make your life easier. Don’t forget it when making your choice and feel free to share your ideas with us!