There has never been more competition in the project management sphere, with many quality tools taking a variety of approaches competing for your business. We’re looking at two very different platforms in this Asana vs. Jira comparison.
Asana is a user-friendly tool, but it has plenty of strong features, too. It was set up by former Facebook employees and has gone from strength to strength since its 2012 launch, with clients such as Vodafone, Santander and Sony.
We were impressed with it in our Asana review and gave it particularly high marks in user-friendliness. It also did well in features and cost.
Jira is geared toward agile development and will be of particular interest to software developers. It has over 65,000 customers, including the likes of eBay, Airbnb and Spotify, which also uses Asana. Jira is owned by Atlassian, which also owns Hipchat and Bitbucket.
In our Jira review we felt its features were its strongest area, followed by its price. It’s more specialized than Asana, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so let’s see how it measures up.
Setting Up a Fight: Asana vs Jira
Asana and Jira will face off against each other over four rounds. We’ll tally the winners of each one and whoever wins the most at the end will be declared the overall victor. If it’s even at the end, then we’ll have to look closer at the rounds and come to a points decision.
In the first round we’ll look at features and compare what the tools do. How they handle your projects and what they offer you is important. After that, we’ll look at price and see which gives you the most value.
Ease of use comes next, as we see which takes the least effort to work with. Finally, we’ll look at security and privacy to figure out which does most to keep you safe online.
Both tools have featured in our other face offs before. Our Wrike vs. Asana comparison went Wrike’s way. Wrike also trounced Jira in our Wrike vs Jira contest. You can read more about why in our Wrike review. Asana or Jira will regain some pride here.
Despite their differences, they have plenty in common. Asana’s good looks sit on top of a tool that, like Jira, includes dependencies, a wide selection of ways to view your projects and advanced security and privacy features.
First, let’s look at what the software does. In the features round, we examine how the contenders let you manage your projects. How they handle tasks and the ways you can view them are key to whether they’ll help you. We’ll also look at communication, storage, integration with other platforms and extras.
Both platforms scored well here in their respective reviews, with Asana’s 90 percent being higher than Jira’s 85 percent. A direct comparison should make for a close opening round.
Asana allows you to build projects made of tasks, which can 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.
You can view tasks in list, board, calendar and timeline views. All of those have advantages and give you different perspectives on what needs to be done next.
Asana integrates with many services and allows you to access data in hundreds of external apps via Zapier, including its opponent here, Jira. You can import projects via .csv files, so if you have an existing project stored in a spreadsheet, you can get up and running quickly.
Asana gives you unlimited storage space, with a 100MB attachment limit, so though you can share as many files as you want, you won’t be able to work with large videos. If that’s something your team needs, our best cloud storage for large files article will help.
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.
Mobile apps are available for Android and iOS, so smartphone addicts can get work done while scratching their itch.
Jira’s core workflow is based around “issues,” which play a similar role to tasks in other tools. You can create subtasks and dependencies, but we had trouble setting them up when we tried.
It comes with 250GB of storage, which is among the more generous packages out there, but not unlimited like 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.
Jira has a huge selection of apps that offer extra features. They cost extra, though, which we’ll discuss in the price round.
Jira includes time tracking, which is useful for seeing how efficient your team is and keeping an eye on costs. There’s also a good selection of reports. Take a look at our best accounting software roundup, too, if you want to keep an eye on your own incomings and outgoings.
Jira uses Atlassian’s “Confluence” software for communication, but we thought it could’ve been integrated better. Take a look at our Basecamp review if you want to make online communication central to your workflow.
If you want to use Jira when out and about, you’re catered to with apps for Android and iOS.
Round One Thoughts
In terms of the range of features offered, there isn’t much to choose between with the two platforms. If anything, Jira offers the broader selection. On a feature-to-feature level, though, we found Asana’s worked better.
Both offer dependency management. We found Asana’s easy to use, but Jira’s was awkward to setup and work with. Interface issues and delays hampered us when trying to use Jira, so Asana takes this round, just because what’s there always works and that wasn’t the case with Jira.
Next is a round for the bean counters because we’re comparing our contenders on price. Cheap is good, but doesn’t guarantee a win. Value is what matters. Payment options, discounts and flexibility are also pluses in this round.
If you’re looking for a platform that’ll help keep your bottom line healthy, read our Mavenlink review. Mavenlink has a strong selection of financial features that you can use to stay on track.
Asana has a free tier, which works well as a basic way to organize tasks. You can use it as a kanban board. If you just want something simple, you might also want to read our Trello beginner’s guide, which talks about another good, easy-to-use tool.
Asana’s free plan limits you to 15 users, but beyond that, your team can expand 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.
The Premium plan is the sweet spot for task management features, but businesses should look at the other plans to figure out what they need. The prices compare favorably to most tools.
In addition to the free plan, there’s a free trial that lets you try features on the paid plans.
Jira comes in two flavors. The standard, cloud-based approach compares more directly to our other project management software that we reviewed. It’s reasonably priced, especially if you have lots of users. Once your team size hits 250, you can add people for just $1 each per month.
That’s excellent value, but it’s worth pointing out that Jira’s excellent value plans don’t include things such as advanced security features. You can get those by subscribing to another one of Atlassian’s services, though.
Its extensions are also charged by user. The price is typically a one-off charge of $5-$10 plus $0.70-$3.50 per user. That isn’t too much, but it has the potential to add up if you use a lot of them.
The other way to use Jira is to host it yourself. That’s more complicated and you’ll need people on your team who know what they’re doing if you want to set it up. The pricing is different, too.
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.
Round Two Thoughts
This is a close round because Asana and Jira are inexpensive products that offer great value for money.
Asana’s Enterprise tier includes things that you have to pay extra services for to get with Jira. Asana’s tiered structure is easy to understand and simpler to manage than setting up subscriptions to multiple services. With Jira though you can pick and choose what you need in a more flexible fashion.
Jira offers different things, and in a direct comparison of cloud-based offerings, we prefer it. It doesn’t have a free tier, but costs the same as Asana’s cheapest paid plan at first, with the price dropping as your team grows. That means it becomes a better value as your team size increases, rapidly becoming cheaper than Asana.
Jira’s self-hosting option is even better value. The initial payment might sting, but the longer you use it, the better value it is. Because Asana doesn’t offer that option, it can only be a string in Jira’s bow. Jira wins the round.
Ease of Use
If software is easy to use, you can get things done faster and bring team members on board without as much training. You also get more engaged team members if things work well. Here, we’ll look at how the tools fare in use and how good a job they do of making themselves accessible.
Asana is highly rated for usability, so it goes into this round as the favorite. It scored 99 percent in our review. Despite its win on price, Jira is looking worried this round. Let’s see if Asana can retake the lead.
Asana is a fantastic piece of work from a usability perspective. Not only is it easy to use, it also offers plenty of features. That’s not an easy balance to hit. If you’re new to it, take a look at our Asana beginner’s guide for help.
It has a clear layout that effectively uses space and color to convey function. It feels soft and welcoming, which is quite the contrast to Jira’s more professional appearance.
It has many templates, and you can import data from other sources, so there are plenty of ways to get started quickly.
It also has its famous celebrations. Cute animals and monsters — we’re still not sure what all of them are — fly across the screen and peep from behind windows as you work and get things done.
It’s fun, but it works and adds joy to a type of software that can often feel cold and boring. We can’t think of anything bad to say about the celebrations, unless you’re more of a stick type than a carrot type.
There are also plenty of help and support options, but you might not need them because Asana makes things so straightforward.
Jira has many templates to help you get started and asks you a few questions to help you pick one when you sign in for the first time. There’s an optional tour to show you the ropes, too, along with tips that explain features to you.
Like Asana, Jira has a simple kanban view, but its Scrum view will be of interest to Agile teams and software developers who take that approach to their projects.
Unfortunately, despite its basic design being good, we found quite a few usability issues and minor bugs. We had long delays when using its website. Responsiveness is important when using the cloud, and Jira has room to improve in that area.
It has plenty of documentation and a large knowledgebase to help you when you get stuck, though, as well as a large, active community for when you need support.
Round Three Thoughts
Jira has a few issues here, which is a shame because its core design is excellent and offers plenty of features. When reviewing it, we felt that many of its usability issues might’ve been the result of recent updates needing more polish because we’ve used it in the past without problems.
Asana does everything right on usability, though, and is one of the few applications that you can use without reading the manual. For the time being, it’s in a different league than Jira in this category.
This round is a big win for Asana, with Jira’s Ivan Drago-like visage taking a flurry of painful blows from Asana, a tool that you wouldn’t expect to inflict such pain. Jira is looking unsteady going into the final round.
Security & Privacy
We’re looking at security and privacy next. It’s critical that you can trust online tools with your data, so we’re going to see what Asana and Jira do to help you protect your business information.
We like to see solid technical foundations, with strong encryption and two-factor authentication. Other pluses are external certification and compliance with privacy frameworks, as well as options to let users tune things to their needs.
We also try to confirm that what tools say matches what they do. That’ll be particularly relevant when we get to Jira, but let’s start with Asana.
To learn about another tool that does well in this area, read our Smartsheet review.
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.
You can export your data easily, and it has several options to customize how your users interact with the platform. You can change your password settings, as well as require login via SAML or Google if you need more protection. Our how to set up a strong password article will also be helpful there.
Asana does what’s needed to keep your data safe and ticks most boxes, but it lacks two-factor authentication.
Jira has a broad range of certifications. These include ISO 27001 and 27018, SOC 2 and PCI DSS certificates, so there has been plenty of verification from third-parties.
It compiles with the GDPR and allows you to delete your data, as well as import and export customer data.
You can get two-factor authentication via an extension, which costs extra, or an external app. Read our what is two-factor authentication article to learn more about how useful the feature can be.
Advanced security options are available via Atlassian access. That gives you things such as SAML and password management and lets you enforce secure logins for users.
There are reports of earlier security issues on its website. We rarely see that, but feel it’s to Jira’s credit to be so open about it. Just because other websites don’t tell you about their issues doesn’t mean they don’t have them, after all.
We found a problem with its support, though. When asking a simple question, we got a response that included a screenshot taken inside our project that showed our project data. We hadn’t explicitly given its support permission to do that, despite its terms and conditions letting it do what it wants, and found the interaction to be a major stain on Jira’s credibility in this area.
If you’re running your own server though, its support won’t be able to access your data, so it isn’t an issue in that case.
Round Four Thoughts
Both tools offer encrypted connections and plenty of security options. Jira would likely have won if it wasn’t for its privacy issue. It has good encryption and lets you customize it. Technically, it’s sound and has plenty to praise.
Asana does a lot, too, though, and because of the issue we had with Jira, it takes this round.
Asana and Jira are strong products that offer different things. Asana is a perfect choice for a team that wants a friendly way to manage projects online. Jira is also a good choice, despite the occasional issue. It’s geared more toward serious use and will suit developers well. It also offers a lot of flexibility for the technically capable.
At three rounds to one, Asana takes the contest with plenty to spare. It won in features, mainly because what it offers is fast, responsive and bug-free. It outclassed Jira in the usability round with its excellent interface and usability features putting it ahead even before we factored in its celebrations. It isn’t bad on security and privacy, either.
Jira is great value, though, and its self-hosting option is one that not many project management tools offer. Its Agile features will be of use to software developers, which makes it a good choice for them. We also felt that the problems that we encountered were solvable and hope they’ll be resolved when we next look at it.
Asana’s ease of use and features put it among the best project management software, though, and it emerges as a worthy winner here. We recommend it for anyone looking to manage their projects online.
Winner – Asana
If you’ve tried Asana or Jira, we’re keen to hear what you think. Please share your experiences in the comments. Thanks for reading.