This is an updated post to the one we published originally in May 2015. The purpose of the update to share more of our experience with both tools.
In comparing JIRA vs Asana we need first go to the basics and define what is an issue tracking system.
An issue tracking system (also ITS, trouble ticket system, support ticket, request management or incident ticket system) is a computer software package that manages and maintains lists of issues, as needed by an organization. Issue tracking systems are commonly used in an organization's customer support call center to create, update, and resolve reported customer issues, or even issues reported by that organization's other employees.
Some issue tracking systems we use at CSW are bug tracking systems, help desk or service issue tracking systems, and asset management systems.
Here’s some more on those three:
A bug tracking system is a software application that keeps track of reported software bugs in software development projects. It may be regarded as a type of issue tracking system. Many of them allow end-users to enter bug reports directly (the same way we allow –and encourage– our clients to do the same).
A help desk is a resource intended to provide the customer or end user with information and support related to a company's or institution's products and services.
IT asset management is the set of business practices that join financial, contractual and inventory functions to support life cycle management and strategic decision making for the IT environment. Assets include all elements of software and hardware that are found in the business environment.
This month we are comparing two issue tracking tools we use at CSW: JIRA (issue and project tracking software) and Asana (a task management application designed to enable teamwork without email).
JIRA is an issue tracking product, developed by Atlassian since 2002, which provides bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management functions.
It considers itself the best tracker for teams planning and building great products, which help them capture and organize issues, assign work and follow team activity. It is used for issue tracking and project management by over 25,000 customers throughout 122 countries around the world.
CSW has been using the JIRA tools since 2008. On 2011, we transitioned to the on-demand (cloud based) version of JIRA which includes many features that we use internally at CSW. Here are some:
- Kanban Boards - Provide us with full visibility into the project and allows our team leaders and customers to have a complete picture regarding the status of the project.
- Custom Filters - The JIRA Query Language allows us to find the information we need. We have large projects where you might have thousands of issues. Using JQL, allows the developers, customers and team leaders to find and document the correct issues in the correct place and tackle issues/changes.
- Add-ons - JIRA has a wide variety of add-ons which can be found on the Atlassian Marketplace. For example, we been using JIRA add-ons that allow us to integrate with our time tracking software. We also use a Bitbucket integrator that integrates JIRA to our code repository software.
Since it’s an Atlassian product, JIRA forms part of the Atlassian Answers community, where users from all over the world interact to exchange ideas, uses, and ultimately make the product better.
Asana describes itself as an app that keeps your team organized, connected, and focused on results… like your team’s brain.
Asana is a cloud-based web and mobile based solution for the effective collaboration of teams. Its main focus is to plan and manage projects and tasks online without the use of email. It's been used by several of the biggest start-ups out there like AirBnB, Uber and even Tesla and Samsung. Asana doesn't offer a stand-alone solution like JIRA, only a cloud-based solution.
Its workflow is as follows: Each team gets a workspace. Workspaces contain projects, and projects contain tasks.
In each task, users can add notes, comments, attachments, and tags. Users can follow projects and tasks, and, when the state of a project or of task changes, followers get updates about the changes in their inboxes.
The main difference between JIRA and Asana is that Asana is not targeted to software development per say, it's a generic project management system which could be used for software development and JIRA was created as software that was built to assist with the creation of software.
A very specific feature that users like when working with Asana is that it released its API (application programming interface) to third-party developers.
A little more context is needed here, so we’ll make a parenthesis– it’s important to follow up, so its benefits can be truly appreciated:
An API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API expresses a software component in terms of its operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types. It defines functionalities that are independent of their respective implementations, which allows definitions and implementations to vary without compromising each other.
A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.
The API in question is available for free to everyone with an Asana account, and can be accessed through their developer site. Asana is integrated with several popular productivity tools including Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Harvest, and Instagantt, Jira and Zendesk… which brings us to:
This is where they overlap:
Thanks to Zappier, you can create an Asana Task from a JIRA Issue.
If JIRA is “a bug and issue tracking software tool that allows software developers to manage product development and build better software”, and Asana is “a collaborative information manager for workspace, which helps you organize people and tasks effectively”, Zappier makes it easy for teams to get the best of them, by connecting those apps to help automate tedious tasks.
You can give it a try here.
In order to compare apples-to-apples, we compared JIRA on demand vs. Asana. As of March 2016, The cost of JIRA on Demand is $75 per 15 users compared to $8.33 per user for the usage of Asana.