5 reasons NOT to choose Atlassian JIRA for agile projects

This time we’ll be looking at the dark side of the Atlassian JIRA software for project management. As you learned about its pros in our earlier article, it’s now time to be honest and tell you why it might not be the best choice for your business. Let’s start!

#1 Hard to setup…

If you’re not happy with the default configuration of JIRA, you might try to do something unorthodox and simply change this one silly thing you want to work a little bit different; it shouldn’t be that hard, right? Well, actually, it is monstrously hard to do so, so beware! JIRA is a large, complicated piece of software that started as a bug tracker and evolved into much, much more. All of this flexibility and extensibility has a price — JIRA is really difficult to understand and to be properly configured if it doesn’t suit you out of the box. It took a lot more effort than anticipated to tame the monster and make it work like we wanted it too. And sadly, it’s impossible to use the default configuration (at least in the on-premise version) without some tweaking (i.e. reducing JIRA chattiness).

# 2 …difficult to use

JIRA’s UI is not exactly user friendly, which is, once again, an outcome of being a feature-heavy one-size-fits-all solution. For many usage scenarios you’ll require plugins, which add to the overall UI clutter. JIRA requires time to learn and use effectively — more time than it should.

#3 Missing features

JIRA started as a bug tracker and over the years began to cover different management areas — including agile project management. JIRA Agile was first released six years ago, but to this day limitations are visible in the agile management area. We use a Scrumban workflow, which means we lack a planning mode for our Kanban board.

Some other features that should be a part of the core product are available only as paid add-ons. JIRA time tracking too simplistic? Tempo Timesheets will help you. E-mail notifications spamming your users’ mailboxes? Notification Assistant to the rescue. But isn’t paying for column summaries a bit too much? All of the above plugins cost money and one can argue that at least parts of their functionality should be included in the core JIRA.

#4 …that take ages to be developed

We can only hope that some of these features will be available in the core JIRA, however there are some clues suggesting that we shouldn’t count on it too much. Remember the world before the iPhone? So do some of the most requested JIRA and Confluence features (like this one and this one and that one). It’s quite ironic if you think about it — a product developed for managing agile projects is way far from being agile itself. Let that sink in for a sec 😉

#5 Too many features

On the other hand, JIRA is simply too overwhelming for some teams, providing a vast array of features that are not required. If that’s the case, consider using some alternatives such as Jixee, Gitlab, Github issue tracker, or Blossom (in random order).

What do I do now?

So here you go, now you’ve learned about the pros and cons of Atlassian JIRA. Remember however, that our experience is based on, well, our experience, and you can find JIRA totally different. In the end, we’re satisfied with our choice and we wouldn’t think about trading JIRA for something else. Or maybe the change would mean that all of this hassle was meaningless? We’re way past the point where we could give an honest answer…


Originally published at sensinum.com.

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