5 Best Jira Alternatives for Startups in 2023

Looking for a Jira project management alternative? In this post, you'll discover our top 5 Jira alternatives & how to find the best tool for your dev team.
5 Best Jira Alternatives for Startups in 2023

If you’ve been looking into project management tools, you’ve probably heard about Jira. With over 100,000 customers around the globe, Jira is a well-known project management platform and one of the stars of Atlassian’s tools portfolio.

However, despite being a popular and effective tool, some startups & scaleups no longer see it as a good fit. If you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place.

In today’s post, we’ll share:

  • What Jira is used for & why teams choose it
  • Why you might need a Jira alternative (& how to pick one)
  • An objective look into the top 5 Jira competitors

Let’s get into it!

What Is Jira Used for? 

Jira is an agile project management tool used by teams to plan projects and track their progress collaboratively. Jira is particularly popular among development teams. This is mostly due to how well the platform adapts to agile project management methodologies.

Some of Jira’s key features include:

  • Activity overviews
  • Sprint management
  • Versatile permission settings
  • Customizable workflows
  • An easy-to-use automation system
  • Bug tracking
  • The ability to easily track commits and deployments
  • Over 3000 integrations
  • Contextual reports and insights

All in all, it’s clear that Jira is a valuable and flexible project management tool for Dev teams. Nevertheless, no tool is perfect. Jira has some disadvantages that may prompt you to look for alternatives.

Why Some Teams Need a Jira Alternative

Some teams may not be comfortable using Jira. 

This is usually because:

  • Jira has a steep learning curve
  • It’s designed for technical users
  • It may not be collaborative enough
  • Users can’t visualize timelines on Jira
  • Migration can be difficult
  • There’s no self-hosted version of Jira

Let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons, shall we? 

Jira Has a Steep Learning Curve

Every tool requires some training, especially a project management tool. However, Jira can be quite hard to master if you don’t have an IT background. 

Plus, the user onboarding process is simply not supportive enough. There are no videos or accessible guides. As a result, adopting Jira can be somewhat cumbersome and tedious. 

Jira Is Designed for Technical Users

Some of Jira’s features may sound convenient. However, they can make things more complicated than they need to be. 

Some users report that their dashboards can feel somewhat cluttered with specifics about their projects, leading to a confusing experience. Plus, the interface itself can feel unintuitive. Especially if you’re not used to dealing with developer tools.

It’s not Collaborative Enough

Although Jira offers Scrum and kanban boards, in actuality, the tool doesn’t 

really offer real-time team collaboration capabilities. 

Nevertheless, you can still integrate with collaboration tools. Atlassian’s tools portfolio offers Trello and Confluence. But, if none of those tools are your cup of tea, you can still integrate with third-party collaboration tools like Slack.

You Can’t Visualize Timelines

Timelines are greatly useful to keep track of tasks and subtasks. However, in contrast to other project management tools, Jira doesn’t include a timeline view. 

If you wanted this kind of feature, you would need to connect a separate timeline app to Jira through the Atlassian marketplace. This can make your project management stack a little inconvenient and redundant.

Migration Isn’t Easy

Vendor lock-in is definitely one of Jira’s greatest downsides. Atlassian offers multiple plug-ins to make it easy for people to import all their information to JIRA. However, doing it the other way around can be quite complex. Jira’s documentation offers no information on how to migrate out of Jira. 

Only Cloud Available

Jira no longer provides support to self-hosted instances. And server products will be discontinued in 2024. So, if users want to stay, they’ll have to migrate to a pricier Cloud plan. And although there’s a free option, it can be a bit limited.

Additionally, switching to Jira Cloud may be a deal-breaker for teams that are particularly preoccupied with data ownership.

5 Top Jira Project Management Alternatives for Startup Dev Teams

Jira is a superb tool. However, it might not be for everyone. 

Here are some Jira alternatives that you may want to consider:

  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Linear
  • ClickUp
  • YouTrack

Asana

Asana is a great Jira alternative if you’re looking for a powerful tool with an accessible learning curve. 

Some of Asana’s key features include:

  • Project dashboards and custom activity overviews
  • Multiple views, including timeline, list, board, and more
  • Multiple workspaces
  • Real-time collaboration
  • The ability to assign tasks, subtasks, due dates, and dependencies
  • Workload management
  • A thoughtful and intuitive UX
  • Workflow builders
  • Custom templates & automations
  • 100+ integrations

Asana offers 3 plans:

  • Basic, for free. This plan is especially useful for individual users or teams that are just starting out
  • Premium, starting at $10.99/user/month
  • Business, starting at $24.99/user/month 

Trello

Trello is one of the most popular kanban project management tools out there. And, just like Jira, it's run by Atlassian.

Some of Trello’s best features include: 

  • Its simple and friendly interface
  • Three views: Kanban board, lists, and cards
  • The ability to set up multiple boards for each project
  • A built-in calendar view
  • Support for @mentions
  • IFTTT integrations
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Cross-platform workflow automation

Trello can be a great tool if you look for a powerful kanban board. However, it doesn’t offer time-tracking features. So it might not be the best option if that’s a priority for you. 

You can choose from the following Trello plans:

  • Free, with limited features
  • Standard, at $5/month per user, when billed yearly
  • Premium, at $10/month per user, when billed yearly
  • Enterprise at $17.50/month per user, when billed yearly

Linear

Trello and Asana are great options for teams working in any area. However, if you’re looking for a Jira alternative geared toward developers, you may be interested in Linear

Linear’s noteworthy features include:

  • Automated workflows 
  • Keyboard shortcuts 
  • Analytical reporting & progress insights
  • Collaboration across teams and external stakeholders
  • Easy request and bug report management
  • Seamless git integrations
  • Customizable views and filters
  • The ability to integrate with Front, Intercom & Zendesk customer support workflows
  • You can set up monthly, quarterly, or even yearly roadmaps, and connect daily work to them

Linear is a good option for small dev teams that don't need extensive tracking features. It’s also worth mentioning that there are no desktop or mobile versions of Linear. It can only be accessed as a web app. 

Linear offers a free plan. Paid options go as follows:

  • The Standard plan is available at $10/month per user 
  • The Plus plan starts at $14/month per user 

The Plus plan is only available through yearly billing.

ClickUp

ClickUp’s mission is to make remote work easy.

On ClickUp, you can:

  • Organize project files and notes hierarchically
  • Track time for specific tasks
  • Change multiple tasks simultaneously with a single click
  • Sort and filter tasks by multiple attributes
  • Create scrum boards
  • Chat with your team in real-time
  • Collaborate on whiteboards
  • Collaborate on documents
  • Set recurring tasks
  • Access 15+ different project views

ClickUp integrates with over 1000 tools, helping teams to streamline and centralize their workflow.

However, some may say that ClickUp’s abundance of features makes it convoluted and hard to learn. 

ClickUp plans go as follows:

  • The Free plan is ideal for personal use
  • The Unlimited plan starts at $9/month per member and it’s great for small teams
  • The Business plan starts at $19/month per member, and it’s best for mid-sized teams
  • The Business Plus plan, at $29/month per user, is good for multiple teams
  • The Enterprise plan is ideal for multiple large teams, and it’s pricing isn’t public

YouTrack

JetBrains’ YouTrack is a comprehensive workflow management platform for dev teams. It integrates project management, bug tracking, and issue monitoring. 

Some of YouTrack’s best features include:

  • Scrum & kanban boards
  • Team collaboration
  • The ability to collaborate between teams
  • Smart search
  • Customizable workflows
  • Knowledge base
  • Task and time tracking
  • Keyboard-driven navigation, including shortcuts
  • Reports & insights
  • Task tracking
  • Bugs and issue tracking
  • Multiple integrations

YouTrack offers a free trial. Plans are divided into two categories: Cloud (cloud-based) and Server (self-hosted).

Pricing goes as follows:

  • The Cloud version is free for up to 10 users. It starts at $4.40/month/user for larger teams.
  • The Server version is free for up to 10 users. Paid plans start at $600/month for 15 users.

Optimize Your Software Spending with Cledara

In this post, we shared some Jira alternatives that may be a better fit for your team.

Jira is a popular tool for a reason. However, it may not be right for your team. And if you end up not liking it, migrating all your information to a new tool can be tedious. Some Jira competitors can offer you a more versatile platform with a more accessible learning curve. 

Your project management tool is one of the most important tools in your tech stack. But, it’s not the only one.

Do you know which tools are really making a difference for your team? Are you aware of which ones aren’t? Cledara can help you answer these questions with a click.

With Cledara you will:

  • Get a centralized view of all your software spending
  • Identify unnecessary software
  • Manage software access easily and securely
  • Easily monitor trial periods and subscription renewals
  • Streamline subscription approval workflows
  • Unsubscribe from unnecessary tools with one click
  • Save on software with discounts and cashback

Take control of your software stack. Book a Cledara demo today

Subscribe for more SaaS Insights

Join our newsletter to stay ahead of the curve in all things SaaS.

Try Cledara today

Join our 900+ customers to manage all your SaaS in one place with Cledara.

Jenny Liu
Head of Finance @ Marshmallow