13 Jul Asana vs Jira
Practical use and comparison of the Asana and Jira
While doing the ROI (Return on Investment) analysis lately, I could realize that small and medium business owners are spending more and more money on different softwares meant to help them organize their business, bring them profit, or just to help them organize the workflow so they could finally get some vacation fishing by the ocean side, not worrying if all will fall down without them. Isn’t that the main reason, after all, why they’ve started the business in the first place, to have more spare time to enjoy and indulge themselves?
Obviously, the way of doing business today, the pace at which things are changing and moving forward is such that people are not being able to manage the business without the experienced managers. Each of them is having their own secret, using some specific software tool to ease the way of doing everyday business. Every kind of enterprise is using either communication tools and software, finance software, construction software, management or organization tools. Without them our lives would be more complicated and difficult, and simple situations would last longer, with the results unknown.
But, on the other side, it is not that simple to choose the best software and the best tool for the company, especially for young and inexperienced entrepreneurs, who are spending a lot of time and resources playing around with different and various tools, which often brings more troubles than the benefit to the employees and to the company.
But, anyways, you must start somewhere. I will give you some of my practical examples, working without any software and using two specialized, professionalized softwares such as Asana and Jira. Of course, there is no perfect software. Requirements differ from company to company, from team to team, and even from person to person. It is all about which one you and your team feel the most comfortable with and which fits your business best, allowing you easy adjustments and easy workflow inside of it.
First example. Company not using any software and project management tool.
I was working for a start-up company which suddenly started to make millions using only Skype to organize, communicate with people and to share all the information about the work, inbound, as well outbound. My job was to set up the processes, to establish some basic functionality and to propose a new structure, with clear communication channels, with clear responsibilities and the scope of the work.
But after the first month everything fell apart with everybody being overwhelmed with the workload, and me, merely trying to save the company from falling apart, was breaking down myself from the amount of work. In such a situation nobody was ready to introduce new methods, new techniques and to accept some fresh and tailor-made way of working. The tensions and the level of the organization were terrible, making people desperate, exhausted and on edge, not knowing what their real duties and responsibilities are. But, it was all good for the boss and the old lady since it was bringing in the money, until one day it all collapsed. People were not able to deal with the workload, nobody knew how to obtain information, from whom, people were waiting for tasks while others were falling apart from the amount of work, managers were exploding, the system was collapsing and the profit went down.
So, they decided to get some professional help ( and I don’t mean the psychiatrist) and to try to use some of the tools to help them organize the workflow, to organize people, to set up the KPIs, to structure the company and to finally have a clear view of the process. I don’t know how that went since I was trying to persuade them to do that from the day one, but they were just not listening. So, I left.
There are couple of reasons why some of the young, or already established and running companies are not introducing some project management tools into their business:
1. They are afraid to lose control of their own company, not keeping the pace with the modern way of doing business.
On the contrary, it would give them more control, more insight and in-depth analysis how the business is really going, what is being good, what not, where to cut loses and where to push more to get the results and job done.
2. Software and project management tools seem like an expensive, unnecessary tool.
Some of them really are expensive, but nobody serious about succeeding in business cannot say that they are unnecessary or unuseful. You just need to find the appropriate one, the appropriate one for your small business and to use it properly. It means you will need to spend a lot of money and time learning, searching, coaching others… Sometimes you would feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content in the field of project management. And, you will need to update or to buy a new tool after a few months or years again, since the new state-of-art tool will be there, just waiting for you to take a new breaking chance to win the market and become a millionaire.
3. Of course, the third reason is that the “old” structure is preventing every kind of a change because they are not good at changes, not being able to adopt new things and to adapt. In the end, they are not being able to evolve and grow up with the business. And those are usually the most loyal and closest to the owner/bosses. And those are usually the ones pulling the company down.
That was a bad example of how a good business can go wrong if not set up properly, if the team is not collaborating and communicating properly, if the top management is not sharing information in a timely manner; if the mid-level managers are not delegating roles or doing it without the clear insight into how the business is running, having on one side people overwhelmed with work, and on the other side, people not working at all. Not to mention that nobody was monitoring the processes, neither making decisions on monitoring and evaluating the process, nor making conclusions on how to improve the process and how to save people and do not waste money.
As opposed to that stands another marketing company I was working with as an Account manager. It was structured well, with already established KPIs, knowledge management process, people being successfully introduced to their job requirements and the team running like a Swiss watch.
Their main management tool was Asana. I was quickly introduced to Asana by my colleagues, and I’ve never used it before. It proves to be a user-friendly tool, with plenty of strong features. We were using it as a task management tool designed to help your teams to organize, track, and manage their work. We could easily create projects, create tasks to be completed within the project, adding team members specific tasks or projects. We were not using email communication at all since we were sharing notes, instructions, receiving notifications, adding due dates and uploading attachments to conversations.
At first glance, it has a simplified UI, but while also having a lot of options shown on the board at every moment, you will need some short time to become proficient and explore all options. However, it won’t take more than a couple of days.
I was using daily common features like tasks, due dates, assignments, teamwork, and even project progress charts. You could view tasks as a list, board, calendar or a timeline view. All of those have advantages and give you different perspectives on what needs to be done next.
And you can use it as a Kanban board as well, with columns and cards. My team could visually track the progress of each project, giving us an overview of where things stand, making it easier to detect obstacles so you can keep things moving.
Asana lets users create custom fields where they can track anything they want. The collaboration tool allowed my team-members to post comments or questions directly to the tasks I was giving them so others can respond immediately. This real-time communication cuts down on the need for time-consuming meetings and lets team managers see all their teams’ projects.
Moreover, Asana allows you to build projects made of tasks, which could be sorted into categories. You can add subtasks to each one and create dependencies allowing you to spot potential problems in your schedule and manage things accordingly. I could also make a clear layout that effectively uses space and color to convey function.
More on the technical characteristics and features. Asana integrates with many services and allows you to access data in hundreds of external apps via Zapier. You can import projects via .csv files, so if you have an existing project stored in a spreadsheet, you can get it up and run it quickly. It gives you unlimited storage space, with a 100MB attachment limit, included with the professional package and offering you possibility to be used as a cloud storage.
Since we were using Asana as a knowledge management tool and having the possibility to stock all the previous info you have, we needed to be sure of the general safety of our information. We were assured by the Asana representatives that Asana has SOC 2 certification and is covered by both the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and General Data Protection Regulation. It encrypts your data in transit using TLS v1.1 and offers bug bounties. Read our article on penetration testing if you want to know more about those.
For example, Jira, as part of the Atlassian group, is not allowing you such a possibility, leaving Confluence just for those purposes, to file, document and save all your documentation.
There are also plenty of help and support options, but you might not need them because Asana makes things so straightforward. Asana allows you to set an overall project status, so everyone can see if things are on or off track. That’s a good way to let people know when they need to pick up the pace.
Asana has the option to generate templates based on individual projects. From there, it only takes a few clicks to reuse a template on any other projects. Since I was working in a marketing company, doing different campaigns all the time, I had a lot of recurring information for each project, such as the same fields, sections and task sequences. All I needed to do is save one of those projects as a template and your team can turn to it for any future campaigns.
Asana’s free plan limits you to 15 users, but beyond that, your team can expand as much as you like. You get additional features on the more expensive plans, starting with more views on the Premium tier, portfolios at the Business tier and stronger security and priority support at the Enterprise level.
Mobile apps are available for Android and iOS, so smartphone addicts can get work done while scratching their itch.
Regarding the price, Asana is free – $0 for teams of up to 15 people, but $12.11 per member per month – with no member limits, and no limits at all for that matter.
Types of the management / tasks to use Asana for:
Budget Management; Issue Management; IT Project Management; Milestone Tracking; Percent-Complete Tracking; Portfolio Management; Project Planning; Requirement Management; Resource Management; Status Tracking; Task Management; Time & Expense Tracking; Recurring Task Management; Kanban Board; Idea Management; Project Templates; Timeline View
My experience with Jira originates from the IT software development company. I was a Scrum master, managing the team of developers, communicating with the product owners and sometimes with the clients. And the Jira was the perfect tool for such a Tech company and such a business. It is used largely by IT/Tech companies all over the world. Jira is the best-selling software development tool from Atlassian companies.
Although I didn’t know anything about the tool and software characteristics before I came to the IT company, I was pretty intuitively working with Jira. The first thing you see is a dashboard that provides you with an inclusive overview of the current project status. It includes tasks that need to be done, team members’ individual progress, etc.
It was built and meant to ease the programming/developing process, to keep the developers focused on their job, while easily following their tasks. And in the end, it was created to make those developers relaxed and happy, while somebody else is organizing them. Thus, the rock stars could perform their magic which they are paid for. And the one patronizing them, patting them was of course, you can guess, the Scrum master. Me.
Joke on me, but Jira is really useful software that allowed me and my team to track our progress using agile project management, which has a focus on efficiency, continuous releases and customer feedback.
Jira has been designed to help agile teams make their often complex software projects more manageable and easier to grasp. As a main tool for agile software development teams, Jira offers various dashboards and overviews for Scrum and agile techniques, but you could also use Kanban boards. In the Kanban view, you get a host settings and configurations so you can build the workflow that best suits your team, following its built-in workflow templates or customizing their own templates as well.
You could easily organize different sprints. But can it happen at the same time? No problem,you can do that and track it with Jira. Easy overview of the task, backlog, recurring meetings, daily, weekly standups.
Software teams can use Jira to plan, track, release and report on new software or software upgrades. They can also use Jira to track any issues. Jira’s user interface ensures seamless flow of information among team members, improving collaboration significantly, activity streams can be monitored and visualized in the dashboards or wallboards. It helps team members capture and organize issues, prioritize, take and manage actions. It ships with workflows to match your already existing processes.
Excellent thing with Jira is the option to provide the reports on the workflow of the team, presenting not only sprint reports, but cumulative team reports, burn-down/up charts and velocity charts that offer real-time visibility into a team’s performance. Those reports are giving the possibility to the Product owner to have a clear overview of the team possibilities, effectiveness, and the time needed for certain tasks. Of course, it also provides a possibility to make a budget and the timeframe for certain tasks beforehand, even before applying it or talking with the clients.
Jira is providing a clear estimation of the start and end dates for projects, resource management, as well a bit of anarchy state of setting things, practically nobody ordering to nobody, trying to make a hippie atmosphere within the team, with the Scrum master trying to clear out all the impediments from the Team. In such a situation, Jira is providing an excellent overview of the progress, pinpointing the weaknesses of the process, bugs and delays/backlog.
It comes with 250GB of storage, which is among the more generous packages out there, but not unlimited like the one you get with Asana. If you’re self-hosting, storage space will be left to you to manage. Take a look at our best cloud storage article for great options.
You pay a one-off fee of just $10 if you only have 10 users. At 25 users that increases to $2,500, which is a lot upfront, but a good value over the long term.
You’ll also need to pay hosting costs if you go down that route, as well as handle things such as website security yourself. On the other hand, Jira has a broad range of certifications. These include ISO 27001 and 27018, SOC 2 and PCI DSS certificates, meaning there has been plenty of verification from third-parties.
Types of the management / tasks you can use Jira for:
Scrum, Agile, Kanban, Bug tracking and task tracking, Process control, Content management, Recruitment, Document approval, Lead tracking, Procurement
After using both, I could say that both have their excellent features, their own specifics, their strong sides, depending on the type of the work you’ve been doing or planning to. They are both very effective project management tools that help users manage team projects, they are very well designed, with just a few flaws and almost no bugs. Both software are representing agile methodologies, with the Kanban approach implemented with both products, but with Jira specialized and focused on Scrum approach and implementation of the Sprints.
While using Asana, I was able to communicate clearly and effectively with my team. That is the strong side of Asana. On the other hand, Jira was not originally meant to be a communication channel between the team members, but rather to gather them around different tasks, software development tasks, to be more precise and track the product development and progress until all DONE. Jira is more-less specialized and targets the larger teams working on the software development.
In contrast, Asana is better suited to smaller, non-software teams. It offers an easy-to-use tool with a basic layout that’s great for teams whose products aren’t too complex. Asana is a perfect choice for a team that wants a friendly way to manage projects online.
Jira is leaning more towards serious use by the developers. It also offers a lot of flexibility for the technically capable people. It’s not too complicated, but it takes more time to master Jira than Asana. As already said, you could master Asana in one afternoon, or a couple of days. It introduces a nice structure for different projects and workflows.
Personally, I favor Jira. It is more intuitive, not overcrowded, and there is a clearer overview of the overall workflow. In the end, hopefully, this overview of those two project management tools may really help some of the business owners to decide which one to use, so they could finally have their vacation by the ocean side, fishing, while some project manager is successfully managing their business, using Jira or Asana.