If you’re looking for a piece of Agile project management software, it’s likely SpiraPlan often shows up in your search results. The problem is that while it seems popular, there isn’t much data to determine what the product is like in real-world use. Our project management experts put it through its paces, testing its key features and creating this SpiraPlan review.
- SpiraPlan helps implement Agile project development processes. It’s suitable for software development and a range of other industries.
- While overall performance is good, the software is often slow to respond to basic actions.
- SpiraPlan is expensive, and we feel there are alternatives that are just as good at half the price.
When we discuss the best Agile tools, one feature we rank high in terms of importance is simplicity. By nature of design, Agile methodology can be complex, so you need a tool that helps simplify the process (or check out our best project management software roundup for a tool that does more than just Agile).
Keeping that in mind, if you’re new to Agile project management software, we recommend checking out our Jira review, as it’s great for users of all experience levels. However, if you’re an experienced user and are part of a software development team looking for a fresh tool, keep reading, as SpiraPlan certainly offers value.
SpiraPlan is a project management tool that’s built for those using Agile methodologies.
SpiraPlan is suitable for a range of users and industries. However, it’s best suited for software development teams that need a project management tool to help track product development and deadlines.
SpiraPlan Review: Strengths & Weaknesses
- Excellent Agile tools
- Good automations
- Decent reporting features
- A bit unintuitive
- A tad slow
SpiraPlan has plenty of project management features to support task management, requirements management and risk management. The software doesn’t spread its features across multiple plans either, so no matter what you pay, you’ll get all the tools the product has to offer.
Let’s break down the core features.
To help you easily manage software requirements, SpiraPlan offers a dedicated planning section. Here the product owner can create a product backlog (a list of requirements needed to build your product and complete your project), and there’s also a space to create a scrum or kanban board to help with task management.
For those building a software product, you can create a list of software releases, which allows you to record updates and log different versions of the software. There are also tabs you can use to notify other users about software tests and share the results, as well as label the status of the software as closed, in progress or complete.
To further assist with requirements management, SpiraPlan lets you upload documents in various file formats including PDF, PSD and VSD. Although this is extremely useful, SpiraPlan isn’t able to preview the files, meaning users will need to download and view them with an app on their computer.
Test management features include the ability to log test cases such as functionality tests and regression tests (the process of rerunning previous tests on a piece of software). You can also record test sets for specific parts of the software you’re building.
There’s a feature called “automation hosts” that allows you to run test sets outside working hours. It requires some manual setup, but once that’s done the tests run automatically at a time and date of your choosing. It’s not immediately apparent how to get automations up and running, though the good news is that SpiraPlan has a detailed guide to help you do so.
One of the core frameworks of Agile development is risk management. Thankfully SpiraPlan recognizes this and provides you with the necessary tools to log risks and incidents pertaining to the product you’re developing.
As part of your risk management, you can rank risks and incidents by order of priority and create a timeline showing the progress of resolving each entry. Users can also write descriptions, so other team members can better understand what the risks are and which incidents took place. These are basic — but essential — features and SpiraPlan has done a commendable job of implementing them.
For software development, SpiraPlan has some very good integration possibilities. Those with a SpiraPlan account can install plug-ins in their existing IDE’s (integrated development environment), and it’s compatible with the likes of Microsoft Visual Studio, JetBrains and Eclipse.
There are plenty of other integrations too, as SpiraPlan partners with software companies such as Salesforce, ZenDesk, IBM Rational DOORS and several more. It’s impressive how you can expand your account and bring in all the other functionality through SpiraPlan’s integrations.
SpiraPlan Features Overview
|Multiple project management
|Native scrum management
|Set user permissions
Rather than structure its plans by offering different features at different price points, SpiraPlan follows a different approach. The plan is one-size-fits-all in terms of software functionality; however, the price you’ll pay is determined by the number of users you need to add to your account, and whether you intend to use the on-premise edition or just the cloud-based service.
To give you an idea of the service costs, we’ll replicate user numbers reflective of small, medium and large-sized businesses.
For 10 users, the price is $47.52 per concurrent user per month (or $5,702.29 per year) For 100 users, it costs $25.92 per concurrent user per month ($31,103.89 per year) and for 250 users, it’s $18.75 per concurrent user per month, or $56,246.29 per year.
Most other cloud-based systems we have reviewed are much cheaper. For example, Jira’s Premium plan costs $14.50 per month and allows for up to 10 users. Granted, it’s not as Agile-centric as SpiraPlan, but it does much of the same functionality for a considerably lower cost.
As you’ll see in the pricing overview above, downloading the software and installing it on your on-premise systems is cheaper. This is likely because SpiraPlan is licensing you their product and passing all security measures over to you.
If you’re happy to let SpiraPlan take control of your security, make sure you read the privacy and security section below. However, if you’re working in the financial industry, it makes sense to assume control of your security and privacy to ensure your data is fully protected.
SpiraPlan’s software design is somewhat mediocre. We can’t say it’s bad, but it’s not good either. Worse than the design is the functionality, and we’ll break down why as we get further into this section.
Some may suggest it’s a minor inconvenience, but the first thing that irks us is the news updates from SpiraPlans parent company, Inflectra. When you log in to your workstation, the top section of your overview is dedicated to news, events and blog post updates that are unrelated to the work you’re doing.
It’s a distraction, and the reason it really irks us is because there’s no option to disable the updates.
The design of the homepage, which serves as an overview of products, tasks, contacts and more is extremely bland. The contrast of the faded gold against the white makes viewing everything feel like a chore. The same is true throughout the rest of the product — everything is bland, and our overall feeling is that the design is dated.
Of course, more important than how it looks is how it functions. Once you become familiar with the product, navigating it is easy, and for the most part, enjoyable to use. Our main concern is performance.
The system responds slowly, even when performing a basic function like expanding a section or dragging and dropping a card in the planning board. It’s not overly slow; however, if you’re using this product day in and day out, you’ll feel some frustration.
If you’re stuck with the software, SpiraPlan has a YouTube channel full of webinars that show you how to use the product. The webinars are detailed and fun, and if you have the time to watch them in full, they’ll certainly help you come to grips with the software.
We would prefer the tutorials to be embedded in the platform, but that’s more of a want than an essential need.
The best description we could give SpiraPlan is “run of the mill.” It’s far from the worst product in terms of design and functionality, but has a long way to go before it can hold a candle to some of the powerhouses in the project management space.
If you’re looking for a project management tool that functions well and also offers some Agile tools, we recommend monday.com. You can read more about the service in our monday.com review.
Security & Privacy
In fairness, there is. SpiraPlan only collects identifiable information (name, street, email, telephone number) when you actively provide it (i.e., setting up an account). The policy states that the company will not sell or rent your personal information to any third party “except for as described in this section.”
That may be a little confusing for some. What it means is that your personal information won’t be used for other vendors to sell or market products. It can be shared with third-party vendors to help deliver the SpiraPlan product, though SpiraPlan doesn’t disclose who those third-party vendors may be.
As it’s an organization based in the United States, SpiraPlan will share your information with law enforcement should it be required to do so. The policy states it will comply without question. Some of you may not like this; however, unless you’re giving them reason to, it’s rare that law enforcement would want to snoop around your business.
Service & Support
SpiraPlan provides several support streams for those wanting to better understand the software or who need to resolve a technical issue. SpiraPlan does an excellent job with certain sections of its support, but there are certainly areas for improvement.
For those looking to learn how to use and understand the software capabilities, SpiraPlan provides a knowledgebase that’s full of useful articles. For that community vibe, SpiraPlan has built a user forum. There’s no guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for in the forum, but it’s a good place to start if ever you get stuck using the product.
Live chat isn’t currently available, so for those wanting to contact the support team directly, you have two other options. First up you can call the support line, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. There are two numbers: one for local calls and one for those calling from outside the United States.
Your other option is to raise a support ticket with the technical department, and this is where we ran into some trouble. With SpiraPlan, you have two sets of login credentials: one to log in to the main site and one to log in to your workstations. The support portal also requires users to log in, but our login attempt was unsuccessful and neither set of credentials worked. This was extremely frustrating.
Software developers and Agile development fans should certainly consider using SpiraPlan. It’s a very niche product, and certainly targets those with advanced knowledge of product development and testing. It can lag a little, which some may find frustrating, but If you can move past that SpiraPlan has everything you need.
If the product is too niche for you and you’re in the market for something more versatile that still offers Agile tools, consider Wrike (read our full Wrike review) or ClickUp (read out full ClickUp review.)
What do you think of SpiraPlan? Is there a similar tool you would like us to review? What do you think is the best Agile software tool? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading.