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Alternatives to Atlassian’s JIRA Software, By Function

Nov 24, 2020
(updated: Nov 30, 2022)
Max 5 min read

Some web developers and software development teams love Atlassian’s JIRA because it comprehensively manages projects and tracks issues. 

However, depending on the types of projects you handle, you may not need the full set of features JIRA offers. You may be able to find similar tools suitable for freelance work and at a lower price. 

We’ve compiled some alternatives to Atlassian’s JIRA software based on their key functionalities. 

Task Management/Project Management 

As issues pop up in the development process or as tasks are defined, it’s valuable to log them into a system for tracking/management. This approach can help streamline workload, build better processes, and identify recurring issues/trends. 

Task management tools are valuable regardless of your area of work, with good options abounding. Project management tools can help you improve team collaboration, manage overall scope of work efforts, and ensure each team member is handling their role accordingly. 

  • Airtable is highly customizable and can be used easily by both developers and non-developers, which can be beneficial when working with copywriters, graphic designers, etc., to get projects completed.
  • Indy offers a no-frills task management list so you can easily access your to-dos and work through them. 
  • Asana’s user interface is easy on the eye, and it incorporates Gantt charts to ensure project management is timely and that people realize the impact of delays. 

Agile Project Management Tool

If you prefer scrum and kanban boards for project management and keeping on track, JIRA offers these resources. However, some users find their interfaces clunky and their navigation confusing. 

Other project management tools may be suitable for freelancers who want the functionality of agile project management without a developer-focused design. Top contenders include: 

  • Pivotal Tracker, which makes it prioritizing work through a shared issues backlog easier
  • Kanbanize, which makes the kanban boards of the entire development process visible teams across the organization 

Bug Tracking

JIRA was initially built as a bug tracking tool and includes several functions to make bug fixes/issues management easier. However, if you’re specifically focused on bug tracking, the platform has grown far beyond this basic capacity, now functioning as a full software development tool - with a price tag to match. 

Some JIRA alternatives for bug tracking include: 

  • Backlog, which allows bug tracking and project management. The software offers both free and paid versions; the free version might be a good starter option for freelancers just starting to build their business. 
  • Bugzilla, JIRA’s original competitor, provides a free, open-source bug tracking interface that is easy for developers to use. Because its sole focus is bug tracking, it doesn’t offer additional project management tools. 

Time Tracking

As freelancers, we often need to track work hours, either for client billing purposes or to ensure we’re allocating our time properly. Time tracking is available as an add-on for JIRA; it’s critical to allocating resources for issues and managing development processes. However, other tools can also provide this functionality, including: 

  • Indy’s time tracker app, which makes it easy to record time while working and create streamlined timesheets. As an added benefit for freelancers running their own business operations, the app also can transition tracked time directly to its invoicing system. 
  • Timecamp’s basic tracker helps to minimize distractions by indicating time spent on various applications or internet sites. It’s not directly connected to an issues tracker, which can mean additional work managing time spent on issues but it does create an incentive for staying focused. 

As you progress in your freelance career, you’ll probably change tools more than once, so you can find the platforms that best fit your needs, increasing your efficiency. Finding the right, easy-to-use, intuitive tools can make work easier and more enjoyable, so don’t be afraid to experiment. 

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