Top 7 Jira Software alternatives for small businesses

Jira Software is pretty much the go-to management tool for developers and software SMEs, which makes finding an alternative all the more difficult.

Our experts

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Best known for its bug and issue tracking, Jira has great capabilities for software development, which is why many tech companies choose it as their project management platform for tools like bug tracking and sprint design.

However, like every business tool, Jira has its disadvantages, and it’s certainly not the only option available for sprint/agile project management.

  • We think that monday.com is the best alternative to Jira, due to its excellent creative tools that make designing sprints and custom software development a breeze.
  • ClickUp is a good alternative for those that like Jira’s software tools, but want an all-in-one solution for no charge at all.
  • Jira is designed for complex functions, and the platform’s confusing interface reflects this. Wrike is the better option for PM capability that you can learn to use easily.
0 out of 0
Best for
Price per user:
When billed annually
Verdict

Backlog

Customisation

Free plan

Ease of use

Spreadsheets

Bug tracking

Basic task management

Jira suite

£7 (per seat)

£3.62

£7.10

£11

£256 for 30 users

£7.24

£3.63

Top-rated PM tool for customisable features and tons of deals to choose from.

Budget-friendly, but with tons more features, ClickUp provides a huge discount on Jira.

Wrike’s user-focused design means it is much easier to use than Jira.

Smartsheet’s spreadsheet-based interface gives access to clear, visual datasets.

Simply priced and smartly designed, Backlog makes it easy to find and fix project issues.

Trello is the number one choice for basic task management – a sore point for Jira.

The Jira Suite has tons of apps – Jira Work Management is a great option if you don’t want to lose access to them.

We can understand why you might want an alternative project management solution to Jira. While it has plenty of advantages over its rivals, specialist software like Jira often brings drawbacks, such as a cluttered user interface and issues with integration – a big problem if you’re a small business owner and don’t want to discover you’ve invested in the wrong technology.

But researching new products takes time, energy and resources that, particularly in the current climate, most SMEs can’t afford to spare.

This guide will provide you with an expert overview of the top seven alternatives to Jira for SMEs. Using the knowledge we have acquired over more than two decades, we’ll pick out the pain points and positives of Jira, and discuss its costs, to find the best discounts and deals available from other software.

monday.com
Best for: Customisation

Project management reflects your business priorities and specialisms, so it needs to be tailorable in order to work best. monday.com is an endlessly customisable tool that can be used to develop your project roadmap (including sprint design), automate your processes to save time on time-consuming tasks, and merge boards together to create a more connected workspace for your team.

Monday.com screenshot

What is a sprint? A ‘sprint’ in project management refers to a task that is completed as part of a series, typically within a specific time frame and delivered by a team. Sprints are often used for development projects, which involve lots of smaller goals in their delivery.

It does all this thanks to its intelligently-designed interface, which uses colour coding to relay information in an attractive and clear manner. Custom features include:

  • Project overview for displaying your objectives, priorities, and goals
  • Milestones to help with project scheduling and progress monitoring
  • Dependencies for projects that rely on the completion and input of lots of tasks and team members
  • Automations (available at the lowest-priced tier, monday.com Basic)
  • Real-time reporting to check in on sprint progress

monday.com pricing vs. Jira Software pricing

Jira is marginally cheaper than monday.com, working out at £4.20 per user billed monthly, compared to the latter’s cost of £7 per seat. However, monday.com has a distinctive payment structure which is based on a set number of seats. These give you more flexibility for growing your business and mean it can ultimately be more value for money depending on the number of your employees.

You can read our monday.com pricing guide for more information.

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Price Per Month (billed monthly)
Paying monthly is usually the more expensive option
Users
The total number of users for this plan level
Free Trial

monday.com Individual

monday.com Basic

monday.com Standard

monday.com Pro

monday.com Enterprise

Contact sales

Free

£12 seat/month

£27 seat/month

£42 seat/month

Contact sales

Up to 2

Minimum of 3

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Verdict

Customisation is a must for developer teams. We recommend monday.com for SMEs that want creative solutions to their project management, such as teams in cybersecurity or ecommerce. Read our full review of monday.com to find out more about the benefits of the platform.

ClickUp
Best for: Free plan

ClickUp Free is perhaps the most robust freemium platform currently available for project management software. It permits an unlimited number of users, guests (although they must be given full access), tasks and project views.

Spaces ClickUp

In terms of features, the list is so full we’re not sure where to begin. Like Jira, the app has lots of features specific to developers, such as custom fields and dependencies which can allow co-workers to understand where a project is stuck and locate the issues. Plus, ClickUp also offers an add-on, the Sprint ClickApp, which is designed to manage your resources during development.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison with Jira Software:

 Jira Software FreeClickUp Free
Unlimited usersX
Unlimited tasks
Unlimited custom views
Custom fields
GuestsUp to 5
Privacy and sharing tools
Document viewX
Portfolios X
GoalsX
Gantt chartsX
Mind mapsX
MilestonesX
Dashboards
ProofingX
Automations
Spreadsheet viewX
Timeline viewX
Dependencies
Time TrackingX
Storage2GB100MB

ClickUp Free does place restrictions on the number of times some of its features can be used. This means that while most micro-businesses and sole traders will be easily satisfied, growing teams with more than eight employees will need to upgrade to the still-low-cost ClickUp Unlimited.

ClickUp pricing vs. Jira Software pricing

Besides its excellent free tier, ClickUp’s pricing begins at £3.62 per user for ClickUp Unlimited. The platform not only has more payment tiers than Jira Software, but it also has a much less rigid structure. The latter’s Jira Standard tier demands a flat rate of £512 for 10 users, which equals out to £4.20 per month if you have a team of 10 – smaller teams might find this too costly.

You can read more in our ultimate guide to ClickUp pricing.

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Price Per Month (billed monthly)
Paying monthly is usually the more expensive option
Users
The total number of users for this plan level
Free Trial

ClickUp Free

ClickUp Unlimited

ClickUp Business

ClickUp Enterprise

Contact sales

Free

£6.51 per member

£13.74 per member

Contact sales

Unlimited – but only 5 spaces

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Verdict

We recommend ClickUp for teams that are budget conscious and working remotely. It’s a solution that enables SMEs to work collaboratively, without being hindered by a limited feature list.

Wrike
Best for: Ease of use

One of the biggest problems that SMEs encounter with specialist software like Jira is the steep learning curve that comes with them. You don’t have the time or resources to invest in training programs for new technology, so it’s useful to have something you can get to grips with quickly.

Wrike dashboard

Wrike is an extremely intuitive software with user experience at its heart. The interface is easy to navigate, clean-looking, and boasts a quick setup time.

Wrike’s feature list is geared towards meeting short, day-to-day deadlines with real-time collaboration enabled across every project view. Both Wrike and Jira host agile reporting tools, excellent for giving feedback on the success and delivery of short, incremental sprints. However, Wrike is even more versatile, by also giving users access to spreadsheets and Gantt charts. Jira just offers Roadmaps, Kanban boards and Scrum boards.

Like Jira, Wrike enables users to leave task comments. However, Wrike also has a project messaging board, which means you can leave comments for your entire team – handy if you want to work collaboratively on a task.

Wrike pricing vs. Jira Software pricing 

Wrike is low on the cost spectrum for project management, costing just £7.10. Its free tier, like ClickUp, also hosts an unlimited number of team members, which means larger teams will find it more advantageous than Jira Free.

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Users
The total number of users for this plan level
Free Trial

Wrike Free

Wrike Professional

Wrike Business

Wrike Enterprise

Contact sales

Unlimited

5 to 200

5 to 200

Unlimited

Read our Wrike pricing guide to learn more about the deals on offer.

Verdict

Wrike is proof that you don’t have to sacrifice functions for usability. We recommend it for teams or startups that are still getting to grips with project management software.

Smartsheet
Best for: Spreadsheets

The clear USP of the Smartsheet platform is its spreadsheet-style interface, which makes Excel spreadsheets look like an outdated thing of the past. Essentially a collaborative, online version of the latter, Smartsheet has a lot of customisation tools for its different data cells, including conditional formatting and changeable column types.

Smartsheet screenshot

This makes it a better tool than Jira when it comes to data storage and handling, which requires an add-on to perform the same function. There really is no better way to analyse and gain insight on your project data than spreadsheets, which makes Smartsheet the better choice for handling big sets of information.

Jira offers slightly more in terms of integrations, however. It can connect with 3,000 other business platforms including communication tools, video conferencing and remote support. In comparison, Smartsheet integrates with applications like business intelligence and payroll. Because of this, we think it’s slightly more accountancy focused and best for fintech or financial advisory firms.

Smartsheet pricing vs. Jira pricing 

Smartsheet is designed for large-scale data input and as such, it has a hefty price tag attached in comparison to Jira Software, with its lowest-cost tier priced at £11 per user when billed annually. However, this is suitable for up to 25 team members, which is roomy enough for most small businesses and boasts an unparalleled 20 GB of storage, so SMEs definitely won’t run short.

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Price Per Month (billed monthly)
Paying monthly is usually the more expensive option
Users
The total number of users for this plan level
Free Trial

£14 per user

£24 per user

Contact sales

3 to 25

Minimum of 3

Unlimited

Verdict

We recommend Smartsheet for fintech-type small businesses – those that work with large datasets and need to be able to view their project data in a clear, spreadsheet-style format.

Backlog
Best for: Bug tracking

Jira Software stands out in the market as an advanced bug tracking system – a software product that focuses on locating and resolving project issues. Backlog’s features are pointed towards the same goal, however its impressive abilities as a lightweight bug tracker can be understood by every small business employee, not just software specialists. This makes it a great alternative to Jira, specifically for SMEs.

Its features are designed to streamline the bug reporting process with notifications alerting members to a problem, and a history thread outlining every update or fix given. Backlog also gives more room to document editing and sharing, so it expands outside of Jira’s sprint specialism and is useful for deep dive work such as code proofing and version control.

Where Backlog slightly falls down is its free plan, which is less open-handed than Jira Software. Only one free project and 100 MB of storage is permitted, which means growing businesses will soon want to upgrade.

Backlog pricing vs. Jira Software pricing

Backlog appears to have a more expensive upfront cost of £25.60 per month when billed annually. However, this flat rate can host up to 30 users, meaning that if you have more than five employees, you’re going to be paying less than you would with Jira, for a very similar product.

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Price Per Month (billed monthly)
Paying monthly is usually the more expensive option
Users
The total number of users for this plan level

Backlog Free

Backlog Starter

Backlog Standard

Backlog Premium

Free

£256 (flat rate)

£733 (flat rate)

£1,280 (flat rate)

Free

£25.60 (flat rate)

£73.30 (flat rate)

£128 (flat rate)

Up to 10

Up to 30

Unlimited

Unlimited

Verdict

Businesses with more than five employees will find Backlog more cost- and resource-efficient than Jira Software when it comes to bug tracking and reporting. We think it’s best for technology-based companies that require multiple QA engineers.

Trello
Best for: Basic task management

Put simply, Trello is Jira Software’s antithesis in project management software. As previously mentioned, Jira Software’s functions are largely aimed at bug tracking in project management, and can be difficult to get to grips with due to this specialism.

Trello, on the other hand, has been designed specifically for basic task management. If you want, you can even keep your project as a Kanban-board-style list of cards (representing tasks) which are colour coded and stacked on top of each other for a simple drag-and-drop interface.

You can add more functionalities if you wish. These are called Trello power-ups and are essentially downloadable add-ons that can be used to build up the platform into something more high performing. However, Trello’s USP is its stripped back features, and it doesn’t offer advanced tools like Jira Software’s widget and chart builder, or resource management options like budget management and time tracking.

Trello pricing vs. Jira Software pricing

Trello is more expensive than Jira Software, priced at £7.24 per user versus Jira’s £5.12 per user. Its freemium plan is very popular with small businesses however, and is more generous than Jira Software, permitting an unlimited number of users.

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Price Per Month (billed monthly)
Paying monthly is usually the more expensive option
Users
The total number of users for this plan level
Free Trial

Trello Basic

Trello Business

Trello Enterprise

Free

£7.24 per user

Contact sales

Free

£9.05 per user

Contact sales

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Verdict

Teams that aren’t particularly software or development oriented, such as marketing, will rate Trello highly for its basic, user-friendly functionality in comparison to Jira Software.

Jira Work Management
Best for: Jira Suite

Jira is powered by Atlassian, one of the biggest software providers globally. Millions of users own an Atlassian product, due to its reliability and strong integrations that make nearly every function simpler and more efficient.

That’s why leaving Jira Software behind might not be the preferred choice of many small business owners, as it means you lose access to the outstanding security and support features supplied by its product team.

If this is the case, Jira Work Management is your best alternative to Jira Software. While the latter is good for supporting development teams and managing code quality, the former is the less-sophisticated younger brother of Jira Software. It has a more general project management application for business teams like HR, marketing and finance.

Amongst its top features that you wouldn’t get with Jira Software are list, calendar, timeline and board views, plus basic spreadsheets and time tracking capabilities.

Jira Work Management pricing vs. Jira Software pricing

The Jira suite of products has identical pricing across all of its freemium plans, with a maximum of 10 users and 2 GB of storage supplied to each. The Jira Work Management Standard plan costs £3.63 per user – cheaper than Jira Software, but also reflective of the former’s more specialist features and functions.

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Price Per Month (billed monthly)
Paying monthly is usually the more expensive option
Users
The total number of users for this plan level
Free Trial

Jira Work Management Free

Jira Work Management Standard

Free

£363 (flat annual rate for 1-10 users)

Free

£3.63

Up to 10

Up to 10,000

Verdict

If you chose Jira Software for the Jira suite, but aren’t sure this is the right product for you, look to Jira Work Management for a more general overview of your projects and tasks.

Is Jira still worth choosing?

There are plenty of benefits to choosing Jira Software, including its bug tracking and project issue solving. But project management is about more than just swatting flies.

We think there are an equal number of pros and cons – perhaps more pros if you’re developer-led when it comes to your software. However, there are also plenty of tools that can offer you more, which is why you need to think carefully about your business and what it needs before choosing an alternative to Jira.

Jira Software costs vs. competitors

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Price Per Month (billed monthly)
Paying monthly is usually the more expensive option
Users
The total number of users for this plan level

Jira Software Free

Jira Software Standard

Jira Software Premium

Free

£512 (flat rate for 1-10 users)

£1,024 (flat rate for 1-10 users)

Free

£5.12

£10.24

Up to 10

Up to 20,000

Up to 20,000

0 out of 0
Price Per Month (billed annually)
You can typically save by paying for a year or more in advance
Price Per Month (billed monthly)
Paying monthly is usually the more expensive option

Jira Software Standard

monday.com Basic

ClickUp Unlimited

Wrike Professional

Jira Software Standard

Backlog Starter

Trello Business

Jira Work Management Standard

£512 (flat rate for 1-10 users)

£512 (flat rate for 1-10 users)

£256 (flat rate)

£7.24 per user

£363 (flat annual rate for 1-10 users)

£5.12

£12 seat/month

£6.51 per member

N/A

£14 per user

£5.12

£25.60 (flat rate)

£9.05 per user

£3.63

What are some good free alternatives to Jira Software?

ClickUp
4.3
ClickUp's full-bodied list of features means it has a solution for virtually every area of project management - even at its 'Free Forever' payment tier.
  • Free trial 'Free forever' plan
  • Price from £3.62 per member
  • High-performing freemium plan
  • Generous functionality and feature list
Summary Small business owners will get outstanding value for money from ClickUp. The platform is well known for its wealthy list of features, with even its Free tier offering advanced tools like automations, custom fields, and Gantt charts. We’d recommend it for budget-conscious users that want a low-cost solution without skimping on functionality.
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Basecamp
3.5
Basecamp helps you to manage projects without the fuss. It has fewer options than rivals, but it is incredible simple and quick to use.
  • Free trial 30-day
  • Price from £71.44 (flat rate)
  • Easily-navigable platform
  • Great for basic task management
Summary Basecamp's tidy interface means it is very simple to use and well-suited for newcomers to project management software - particularly for team collaboration tools. At £71.44 per month, per business, it’s an expensive first-time investment, so the free version is a smart way to test out its impressive capabilities without overspending.
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Wrike
4
Powerful and low-cost project management tool for SMEs
  • Free trial Yes
  • Price from £7.10 per user
  • Best for Project scheduling
  • Unlimited users at any level
  • Great team collaboration tools
Summary Wrike is an excellent choice for SMEs working to tight project deadlines. Its spreadsheet-esque interface offers an easy-to-understand visualisation of your project progress and goals. Costwise, it also scores highly, with an impressive free tier and unlimited users at any level.
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How did we pick the top 7 Jira Software alternatives?

In order to find platforms that might be good substitutes to Jira for small businesses, we decided to locate the best and worst features of the platform. That way, we could better identify alternative platforms that improve upon these functions.

Here’s what we identified as the biggest pros and cons of Jira:

Pros
  • Good for bug tracking
  • Easily customisable
  • Integrated with the Jira suite
  • Free plan available
Cons
  • Not good for basic task management
  • Spreadsheets require an add-on
  • Confusing user interface

Final review

We’ve picked out the top seven platforms for project management that serve as good alternatives to Jira Software based on its pros, cons and costs.

If you’re working in more creative tech sectors like ecommerce, and want more intelligent customisation and sprint-friendly design tools, try monday.com for free.
If you’re budget conscious and want high-performing functionality at a lower cost than Jira, check out ClickUp’s freemium platform for discounts and deals.
If you’re a newly established startup and want a simpler, user-friendly interface that doesn’t skimp on capabilities, choose Wrike.
If you’re an SME working with large datasets, such as those in fintech, and want better spreadsheet data visualisation and reporting tools, choose Smartsheet.
If you like Jira for its proficient bug tracking, choose Backlog.
If you dislike how complex Jira is and want a tool for basic task management, choose Trello.
If you like Jira for its access to the Jira Suite, choose Jira Work Management.

Maybe you’re not sure about what you like or dislike about Jira – you just want to try a new PM software tool and see how it performs for your business’s specific needs.

We know how time consuming it can be to research software. Our experts are here to help you quickly match with the best PM software provider for your company. Simply fill in our specially-designed online form and let us do the work for you.

Jira Software alternatives: FAQ

What can I use instead of Jira?

There are plenty of project management tools you can use in place of Jira. Our experts have ranked the top Jira alternatives as monday.com, ClickUp, and Wrike thanks to their huge range of functions, affordable pricing, and relative ease of use.

However, we have also included several other alternatives based on some of the areas you might like or dislike about the platform. For example, Smartsheet provides users with spreadsheet views if you want easier data visualisation and input.

What are Jira's main competitors?

Jira is a project management tool but, more specifically, it is also a favourite among developer/tech-led teams. That means its main competitors are software with strong customisation tools and powerful functionality, like monday.com.

Which tool is better than Jira?

We think that every software brand in this list is better than Jira at specific functions. For example, ClickUp offers much better value for money due to its excellent freemium plan.

In terms of overall ranking, ClickUp, monday.com and Wrike are all smart, higher-performing tools which are also more affordable than Jira Software for the average small business owner.

Smartsheet, Backlog, and Jira Work Management all rank similarly and are good alternatives if you like what Jira offers but want another PM tool to try.

Why is Jira hated by some?

Jira is a popular tool for many teams, particularly developers. However, it has a few disadvantages that mean it doesn’t suit every business, such as poor integrations and substandard reporting tools. We think there are brands that can give you more, like monday.com.

Can you use Jira for free?

Every product in the Jira Suite has a free plan available which has some generous elements including access to customer support and 2 GB of storage. However, there is also a strict limitation placed on the number of users, with a maximum of 10 permitted per team. This makes platforms like ClickUp, the ‘Forever Free’ all-in-one app, a good Jira alternative.

Is ClickUp better than Jira?

ClickUp has a lot of advantages over Jira. Chiefly, its free tier has much more functionality compared to Jira and also offers more agile features and collaboration tools. This, combined with the platform’s relative simplicity, means that in our eyes it is a better platform than Jira.

Is Jira better than Trello?

Jira and Trello are really polar opposites. The former emphasises advanced functions for intricate project work like software development. The latter is designed for basic task management and doesn’t have any of the more sophisticated – but also more fiddly – tools that the latter boasts.

Both are similarly priced and have great free platforms, but we would recommend Trello only if you really dislike Jira Software and want something much less advanced to try.

Helena is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has previously written for a popular fintech startup covering everything from money-saving tips to cultural reviews.

She is particularly interested in project management software and the films of Peter Jackson.

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