7 tools in comparison – from Redmine to Trello

If development teams want to map their project process, they often use Jira Software for this. But what other tools are there? We have taken a close look at six Jira alternatives and tell you what they are good for.

Among the tools for operational project management and error management, the following applies Jira software from Atlassian as the undisputed top dog. But there are other tools like Redmine that support the development process just as well – and even tools that fall under the category of “project management” can be of help. They are available from open source to chargeable.

Jira is often described as very complex, and its high costs make it unsuitable for small teams. In the search for comparable software, we noticed that many tools cannot quite fulfill the tasks of Jira, nevertheless developer teams use a wide variety of solutions – and, if necessary, several at the same time.

We selected six tools that could replace Jira with minor restrictions, we took a closer look at them and looked for their advantages and disadvantages. But: a project management tool does not necessarily mean that it is also suitable for error management for developer teams – not every tool is suitable for every team size and every type of project.

What makes Jira so unique?

This is what the agile board looks like at Jira. (Screenshot: atlassian.com)

Before we take a closer look at other tools, let’s first look at what Jira is, for whom it is intended and what it does: Jira is an error and project tracking system. It was developed by Atlassian to help teams – especially those involved in software development – with problems and to help achieve a smooth end product.

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Unfortunately, many additional functions are not included in the basic package and cost extra. All of these addons combined make Jira pretty expensive. It therefore depends on the individual case whether the basic package is sufficient or you put together your own Jira.

Jira can be hosted in the cloud or on your own server – those who choose their own server pays from 42,000 US dollars a year. Those who prefer the cloud can get started with up to ten users for free. But let’s look at the alternatives now – and what they can and cannot do.

(Screenshot: Basecamp)

One of the Jira alternatives: Redmine. (Screenshot: basecamp)

The Project management software Redmine is a license-free open source project that uses Ruby-On-Rails for technology. Redmine has all the common functions of a project management tool such as discussion forums, a wiki, document management, e-mail or ticket management. The strengths of Redmine lie in the subversion and ticket management, which is particularly important when developing software projects in the group.

The simple interface makes Redmine easy to understand – nothing is missing, nothing is too much. The essential project planning and tracking is made possible by a Gantt chart in which projects, owners and duration can be determined. All projects are recorded in the Redmine Wiki and in the Document Manager and can be called up at any time.

Redmine is a self-hosting tool, so it needs to be installed on its own server. There are also apps for iOS and Android for this tool, but they are unofficial.

Stackfield - client-side encryption provides security (screenshot: stackfield.com)

Stackfield – client-side encryption provides security. (Screenshot: stackfield.com)

Stackfield offers a project management solution as SaaS, but works similarly to other tools. It is quite intuitive to use, is very fast and offers real-time collaboration, project management, lists, task management, notes and files.

Important for a SaaS solution: Stackfield encrypts the communication of its users: inside – on the client side directly in the browser. This means that, according to the operator, all data arrives on the server in encrypted form and Stackfield has no insight into customer data and files.

The Stackfield UI is easy to understand, all settings and rights are left to the user. The dashboard gives an overview of all tasks – from “To do” to “Done”. Unfortunately, the list-like display of this tool can quickly lead to a loss of overview.

The Starter package costs 49 euros per month and offers space for five users. Those who need more can access the packages Business or Enterprise gear up.

(Screenshot: targetprocess.com)

(Screenshot: targetprocess.com)

Target Process is an agile Project management tool and designed for developer teams – who rely on Kanban or Scrum. You can also set up your own processes and boards.

In addition to the well-thought-out usability – which contributes to the high-quality UI – the product backlog offers a clear presentation of all upcoming and prioritized tasks – as well as the detailed recording and evaluation of all working hours. Target Process offers extensive reports to visualize the progress of the project.

The tool is aimed at professionals who want to systematically plan and implement their software projects. The well implemented apps, the open API and the integration options offered speak for the high level of maturity of the software.

Target Process only reveals prices on request.

(Screenshot: sprint.ly)

(Screenshot: sprint.ly)

Sprintly is a lesser known but noteworthy alternative to Jira. The application developed in Colorado pursues an interesting solution approach, in which the effective cooperation of software developers and management teams is in the foreground. Sprintly also offers regular reports for a better overview.

The tidy and modern interface enables easy access to elementary functions such as the task board. Sprintly supports users in the creation of requirements by specifying the formulation and level of detail. The strong link with addons such as GitHub enables an integrated way of working.

Sprintly is not a very cheap solution either, it starts at $ 19 a month for six users: inside, five gigabytes of memory included. If you need more, you can upgrade to four additional versions.

Trello is a practical solution for project management.  (Screenshot: Trello)

Trello is a practical solution for project management. (Screenshot: trello.com)

Trello is hosted in the cloud and is actually not a tool for development projects, but a general project management tool. Still, it’s one of the most widely used tools – one reason is the simple and easy-to-use UI.

The basic version of Trello is free and should – according to the developers: inside – stay that way. This is remarkable because the basic version already offers a fairly sophisticated system. The lists and cards can be used for almost the entire project planning – even in a team. You can add as many cards as you want to each list, whereby cards can actually be anything: tasks, appointments, departments or whatever else comes to mind. The biggest advantage of Trello is also the biggest disadvantage: the flexibility of the cards.

Trello is available as an app for Android and iOS and gives you an immediate insight into your projects.

For further team functions Trello still offers that Business Class, which starts at ten dollars per user: in and month, as well as the enterprise version, which costs from 17.50 dollars.

(Screenshot: blog.jixee.me)

(Screenshot: blog.jixee.me)

The heart of Jixee are four so-called workboards which, taken together, are intended to map the entire development process – from the backlog to development to quality control and publication – in a simple and visually appealing user interface. In the respective workboards, users can optionally create individual tasks, error points or entire sprints and milestones and manage them in real time.

The makers of Jixee promote the workboards with flexible workflows, foolproof configuration and the integration of popular developer tools. And: Just as with Jira, Jixee’s system can optionally be hosted and operated on its own server.

Depending on the number of users: inside (10 to 500) offers Jixee different pricing plans on a monthly or yearly basis at. For example, if you decide to use Jixee for a period of one year with up to 25 members, you will have to pay $ 99 per month.

(Screenshot: Tara/t3n)

According to its own statement, offers Tara the “most comprehensive free package in project management” – so the bar is set high. The tool is clean and tidy and advertises above all with its simple and intuitive usability. With just one click, teams should be able to plan regular sprints, and thanks to a drag & drop function, planning multiple sprints is no problem.

Tara shows daily tasks in a clear and individual dashboard, which also makes pull requests clearly visible.

Issues from GitHub, Trello or Asana can easily be imported into Tara; to GitHub, the sync even works in both directions, so that tasks created in Tare also appear on GitHub. Tara also accommodates pull requests for code on GitHub directly in the currently active sprint; the integration for Gitlab and Bitbucket should follow soon.

Tara offers users a free package for unlimited members in a team. If you want multiple teams and other functions, you can get it from eight dollars per user: in and month.

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