Jira vs Trello – an Overview on the Best Project Management Tool

jira vs. trello

Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content in project management.

Especially when looking at the tool side of project management. I see new tools popping up every other day.

With Jira and Trello – we looked at two primary project management tools, their benefits and drawbacks, and most importantly, their main differences.

Since Atlassian, the vendor of Jira acquired Trello, both project management tools come from the same company. But they are still competing over the same target group.

So, if you’re considering switching to Jira or Trello, this article is the right place.

The key differences between Jira vs Trello

The biggest difference between Jira and Trello lies in their design philosophy and intended user base. Jira offers a comprehensive suite of project management tools, making it a go-to for teams that need to manage complex workflows, particularly in software development and IT. It supports agile methodologies like Scrum and Kanban, providing features such as sprint planning, backlog grooming, issue tracking, and detailed reporting. This makes Jira ideal for projects that require meticulous planning, tracking, and reporting.

On the other hand, Trello features simplicity and visual organization, using a Kanban-style board-and-card system. Each project is represented by a board, which contains lists to categorize tasks or stages, and cards for individual tasks. This visual approach makes Trello incredibly intuitive, allowing users to get started quickly without extensive training. Trello’s flexibility and ease of use make it suitable for a wide range of projects, from personal task management to coordinating work in small and medium-sized teams across various industries.

Who is Jira for?

Jira is designed for teams and organizations that deal with complex project structures, requiring detailed task management, reporting capabilities, and workflow customization. It’s particularly favored by software development teams that adhere to agile methodologies, allowing them to efficiently plan sprints, track issues, and manage releases. Jira’s robustness and depth cater to users who need to dive deep into project analytics and performance metrics.

Who is Trello for?

In contrast, Trello is for individuals and teams who value simplicity and quick setup over detailed project management. It’s a versatile tool that can be adapted for various uses beyond project management, such as editorial calendars, personal to-do lists, or event planning. Trello’s appeal lies in its straightforward, drag-and-drop interface, making it accessible to users who might be overwhelmed by the complexity of more traditional project management tools.

In summary, the choice between Jira and Trello depends on your specific needs and the nature of your projects.

Jira may be the better choice if you need a highly customizable tool for complex software development projects and are willing to invest time in setup and training.

On the other hand, if you prefer a simple, visual tool that’s easy to get started with and suitable for various projects, Trello is a more user-friendly option.

While both are project management tools, Jira and Trello have key differences. Since Jira was designed for software teams, it mainly targets software builders, developers, or project managers working on software projects. It’s more of a product development tool. In contrast, Trello has a much broader target audience, as it offers any project tracking.

So, let’s dive into it. We looked at various review sites, researched, and found some expert statements in the industries.

When you search for Jira vs Trello, you’ll discover more than 34,000 results on Google. Wow. A lot of people are interested in the topic.

So, what are the main differences?

A comparison of Jira vs Trello

If you’re one of those who skim an article, I’d recommend closely examining this overview, giving you a good impression of both tools and their major differences.

Jira Trello
Built by Atlassian Atlassian
Freemium No Yes
Hosting on-premises & cloud-hosted cloud-hosted
Paid Plans Starts from $8.15 per user per month Starts from $5.00 per user per month
Mobile apps Android & iOS Android & iOS
Typical customers SMEs & Enterprises Freelancers & SMEs
Key features Project- & issue tracking Kanban boards
Integration about 100 integration partners about 30 integration partners
Work Views Multiple Just Kanban Board

Hosting: On-premises or cloud

Today, businesses have a lot of choices when it comes to data storage. One of these choices is using the cloud to host your data instead of keeping everything within your network.

Trello – Cloud-Hosted Service

  1. Exclusively Cloud-Based: Trello operates solely in the cloud, meaning all data and project management activities are hosted online.
  2. Accessibility: Being cloud-based ensures accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection, catering to remote and distributed teams.
  3. Automatic Updates: Users benefit from real-time updates and new features without the need for manual software upgrades.
  4. Scalability: Trello’s cloud infrastructure allows for easy scaling to accommodate growing project demands and team sizes.
  5. Reduced IT Burden: With no on-premises servers to maintain, companies can save on IT resources and infrastructure costs.

Jira – Offers Cloud-Hosted and On-Premises Solutions

  1. Flexibility in Deployment: Jira provides the option for businesses to choose between cloud-based services or hosting the software on their own servers.
  2. On-Premises Availability: Catering to companies with strict data control, security, or regulatory requirements that necessitate local data storage.
  3. Customization and Control: On-premises deployment allows for extensive customization and integration with internal systems, offering greater control over the software environment.
  4. Cloud-Based Benefits: Similar to Trello, Jira’s cloud version offers accessibility from anywhere, automatic updates, and scalability without significant IT infrastructure.
  5. Security Considerations: For on-premises deployments, businesses have full control over their data security and compliance measures, potentially surpassing cloud-based limitations.
Jira Trello

Project management tools

  1. Numerous applications beyond Trello and Jira vie for attention in the project management space.
  2. Each new tool introduces potential distractions, complicating the selection process.
  3. The ideal project management software varies based on specific needs and preferences.
  4. No universally perfect software exists due to diverse requirements across companies, teams, and individuals.
  5. Needs differ significantly from one organization to another, from team to team, and even among individuals within the same team.
  6. Contemporary project management tools offer a wide array of features, often categorized into various specialized segments or functions.

The basics of Jira

Jira is the best-selling software development tool from Atlassian. Used by many tech teams, it offers project planning and issue-tracking features.

Designed for agile software development teams, Jira offers various dashboards and overviews for scrum and agile techniques.

With 1,000 add-ons and extensions, Jira enables you to integrate its software with other 3rd party tools you might already use.

Jira Software is part of a broader ecosystem created by Atlassian that includes various products designed to cater to different aspects of team collaboration, project management, and product development. Let’s break down this ecosystem:

Jira Software

Primarily designed for software development teams, Jira Software offers robust project management tools that support both Scrum and Kanban methodologies. It’s widely known for its issue and project tracking capabilities.

The platform is built with agile development in mind, providing features like customizable boards, backlogs, sprints, and reports (like velocity charts and burn-down charts) to facilitate agile planning and execution.

Jira Work Management

While Jira Software is tailored for software teams, Jira Work Management extends the functionality of Jira to non-technical teams such as marketing, HR, finance, and operations.

It includes templates and workflows designed to streamline business projects and tasks, making project management accessible to all departments within an organization.

Jira Product Discovery

This is a relatively newer addition aimed at product managers. Jira Product Discovery helps teams explore, validate, and prioritize product ideas and features before they enter the development pipeline.

It provides tools for brainstorming, collecting feedback, and experimenting with new ideas, ensuring that only the most valuable features make it to development.

Jira Agile (now part of Jira Software)

Jira Agile was initially a separate product or plugin designed to introduce agile project management features into Jira. It included boards, agile reporting, and other tools necessary for agile development.

Over time, Jira Agile’s functionalities were fully integrated into Jira Software, making it a comprehensive tool for agile teams without needing separate installations or add-ons.

If you want to learn more about the best Jira integrations, check out this article about 7 Jira integrations that help you optimize your web development workflow.

Jira pricing

  1. Free Plan:
    • Cost: $0 USD
    • Suitable for: Small teams or individuals
    • Key Features: Unlimited cards, up to 10 boards per Workspace, 2 GB file storage, 100 email notifications per day.
  2. Standard Plan:
    • Cost: $66.15 monthly (per agent)
    • Suitable for: Small to medium-sized teams
    • Key Features: Up to 10,000 agents, 250 GB file storage, business-hour support, unlimited email notifications.
  3. Premium Plan:
    • Cost: $148.05 monthly (per agent)
    • Suitable for: Teams needing advanced features
    • Key Features: Advanced incident management, unlimited file storage, asset and configuration management, 24/7 support for critical issues.
  4. Enterprise Plan:
    • Custom pricing (contact sales)
    • Suitable for: Large organizations with complex needs
    • Key Features: Enhanced data and analytics, centralized security and administration, 24/7 dedicated senior support.

The basics of Trello

On the other hand, Trello is largely designed for more general usage. Trello is a lightweight project management tool designed as a Kanban board tool; you can visualize your task flow of anything from software development projects to marketing campaigns to holiday trips.

Trello for development and design teams?

No matter if you’re working for clients or not. Software or website projects require a lot of collaboration and communication.

Trello is a great tool that solves the problem of managing and tracking your web development. It offers various integrations for enhancing your project experience. Make sure to check out this essential toolset for Trello.

Trello Kanban

Trello excels in implementing the Kanban methodology. It uses boards, lists, and cards to represent tasks and projects, making it easy for teams to organize work and track progress. Each card can represent a task or an item, and these cards move across lists that represent different stages of a project, typically set up as “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done.” Trello’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface simplifies task management and enhances visibility, making it an ideal tool for teams adopting the Kanban approach to improve workflow and productivity.

Trello for Personal Use

Trello is not only a powerful tool for teams but also a highly effective solution for personal task management and organization. With its user-friendly interface, Trello allows individuals to create personal boards for various aspects of life, such as daily to-dos, household projects, or personal goals. You can use lists to categorize tasks by urgency or theme, and cards to detail each specific task, including due dates, checklists, and attachments. The flexibility and simplicity of Trello make it an excellent choice for keeping track of personal commitments, planning events, or even managing a personal hobby or side project, all in one visually organized space.

Trello Pricing

  1. Free Plan:
    • Cost: $0 USD
    • Suitable for: Individuals or teams
    • Key Features: Unlimited cards, up to 10 boards per Workspace, unlimited Power-Ups per board, 10MB/file storage, 250 Workspace command runs per month.
  2. Standard Plan:
    • Cost: $5 USD (billed annually) or $6 USD (billed monthly) per user per month
    • Suitable for: Small teams
    • Key Features: Unlimited boards, advanced checklists, custom fields, 250MB/file storage, 1,000 Workspace command runs per month.
  3. Premium Plan:
    • Cost: $10 USD (billed annually) or $12.50 USD (billed monthly) per user per month
    • Suitable for: Teams with multiple projects
    • Key Features: Calendar, Timeline, Table, Dashboard, unlimited Workspace command runs, admin and security features.
  4. Enterprise Plan:
    • Cost: $17.50 USD (billed annually)
    • Suitable for: Organizations with security and control needs
    • Key Features: Unlimited Workspaces, organization-wide permissions, organization-visible boards, attachment permissions, free SSO with Atlassian Access.

Scrum, Agile, and Kanban boards

  1. Agile and Scrum are currently the leading methodologies in project management, emphasizing lean and efficient approaches.
  2. There’s a noticeable shift towards adopting lean methodologies in project management to enhance efficiency and adaptability.
  3. Project management tools need to be versatile and customizable to cater to the specific requirements of Agile, Scrum, and Kanban methodologies.
  4. Both Jira and Trello are designed to support Scrum and Kanban frameworks, offering various board dashboards and card views for task management.
  5. These features enable teams to manage tasks effectively, aligning with the principles of lean methodologies.
  6. Boards dedicated to Scrum, Agile, and Kanban are crucial in modern project management tools, reflecting the widespread adoption of these lean and flexible approaches.
  7. These boards facilitate clear visualization of tasks, progress tracking, and collaborative team efforts, aligning with the dynamic nature of today’s project environments.
Jira Trello
Board Views
Card Views
Reporting & Charts

Jira vs Trello Project Management

  1. Both platforms are equipped to handle Scrum and Kanban methodologies, featuring adaptable workflows for diverse project needs.
  2. Jira and Trello provide customizable workflows, allowing teams to tailor the project management process to their specific requirements.
  3. These tools offer board dashboards and card views, enhancing the visualization and organization of tasks for better management.
  4. Kanban boards in both Jira and Trello facilitate visual task categorization, aligning with agile and lean principles to boost project efficiency.
  5. The high level of customization available in these boards enables intuitive and effective task tracking.
  6. Scrum boards are integral to supporting Scrum methodology, designed for organizing sprints, prioritizing tasks, and monitoring progress.
  7. With Jira and Trello offering dedicated Scrum boards, they become ideal choices for teams practicing Scrum.

Traditional project management software & project tracking

Regarding traditional project management features, JIRA seems to be one step ahead. If you’re looking for more comprehensive time-tracking features, management reporting tools, and issue-tracking functionality, you’ll probably end up with Jira. 

Jira Trello
Task Management
Time Tracking
Resource Management
Document Management
Issue Management

Jira Kanban vs Scrum

Kanban in Jira

  • Emphasizes a steady workflow, allowing tasks to move through the process as they are completed without predefined sprints.
  • Utilizes a Kanban board to visualize the entire workflow, from “To Do” to “Done,” making it easy to see the status of each task.
  • Changes can be made on the fly, and new tasks can be added to the board at any time, offering high flexibility in task management.
  • Aims to reduce the time it takes for a task to move through the workflow, encouraging ongoing delivery.
  • Often employs WIP (Work in Progress) limits to ensure that teams don’t take on more tasks than they can handle at once.

Scrum in Jira

  • Organizes work into sprints, typically lasting 2-4 weeks, with a set list of tasks to be completed within each sprint.
  • Incorporates specific roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner, Development Team) and ceremonies (Sprint Planning, Daily Standup, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective) for structured execution.
  • Uses a product backlog to manage and prioritize tasks, which are then selected for development sprints.
  • Focuses on delivering potentially shippable increments of the product at the end of each sprint.
  • Once a sprint starts, the scope is fixed, and no changes are allowed in the tasks to ensure focus and goal completion.

Integrations for Jira vs. Trello

Both Jira and Trello can integrate with many SaaS tools to enhance team collaboration and workflows. Trello’s marketplace features about 200 products, such as Miro, Slack, and Mailchimp. Jira’s integration marketplace is more extensive, you can find anything from code repositories to design tools to CRM. Note that Usersnap offers integration with both Jira and Trello to help you collect users’ and stakeholders’ feedback and feed them into your projects.

Why you must check out the integrations before you choose is that your daily efficiency will drastically be impacted if the tool is unable to connect data and gather tasks for you to keep the project organized. This will compromise your team’s productivity and executional capability to solve problems and make decisions.  

For example, if you are launching a new website and someone creates a card or ticket to tell you “the spacing is off”, well thanks but not very helpful. However, you can integrate Usersnap to capture a screenshot on the website then you would receive a self-explanatory picture plus the metadata, now your troubleshooting process is much faster.

jira vs trello integrations

Which one is for you? Jira vs. Trello

If you’re looking for a comprehensive, fully adjustable project management and tracking tool for your mid-sized software team, use Jira.

Jira is the go-to tool for large-scale projects and teams. However, you must be aware that onboarding time and costs might be higher with Jira, as not-so-tech-savvy people might need help with using it.

Trello might be the better choice if you’re looking for an easy-to-use project and task management tool for your small company.

With its simple yet well-designed user interfaces it offers small teams an easy entry in the world of project management.

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