Feb 25

What are Long-term Jira Align alternatives within Atlassian ecosystem?

Jira Align alternativeIf you are looking for an alternative to Jira Align, first realize that JA won the 2019 edition of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. So it is an excellent piece of enterprise agile planning software. Nevertheless, before committing to Jira Align, it’s good to know the long-term pros and cons, and, indeed, there are some risks. Therefore, we’ll also look closely at the alternatives to Jira Align within the Atlassian ecosystem, namely BigPicture and Portfolio.

It’s going to be more of a long-term point of view, focused on potential risks related to Jira Align. If you need a fact sheet comparison of Jira Align to its three alternatives, here is a must-read.

Why seeking within Atlassian Ecosystem?

Why do we focus on the Atlassian ecosystem in search of a Jira Align Alternative? After all, there is VersionOne, Planview, and even the proven Microsoft Project, and you can see them all chasing Jira Align on the enterprise agile planning tool quadrant. The answer is: in the long term, it’s safer to stick to a trending leader, and Jira is and probably will remain the leader in the project management software market (why?).

Jira Align weaknesses

While Jira Align is a technological marvel – powerful, pro-agile, capable of enterprises of virtually unlimited size, one cannot omit the cons, and here they are:

  • until recently, Jira Align was a separate framework (called AgileCraft), unrelated to Atlassian, so it integrates with Jira Software selectively. And while Jira Align can live independently, not linked to Jira Software, in such a setup, you could miss that ‘regular’ Jira, a very powerful issue tracker.
  • Atlassian has long had Portfolio for Jira, and so Jira Align and Portfolio fall under the concept of ‘two elephants in the room’.
  • Jira Align is unique in terms of its price per user, trial period. Study the table below to discover the difference for yourself.
  • one of our partners told us: — It takes a lot of effort to implement Jira Align and bridge it to Jira Software.

We believe one should factor in these four things before committing to Jira Align in the long term.

Jira Align alternatives

BigPicture

We believe BigPicture version 8 makes the best alternative to Jira Align, at least within the Atlassian ecosystem. Thanks to the new Overview/[Boxes] module, it finally has a true PPM (Project Portfolio Management) capability. Since mid-2019, BigPicture 7 has had high-level Reports. These two key modules make BigPicture a true enterprise agile planning tool, similar to Jira Align.

Look at BigPicture business-wise. The app is developed by an independent company (SoftwarePlant, Atlassian Platinum Top Vendor), and BigPicture does not have competition in its own backyard – there is no segmentation, such as ‘Product A for below 500 user companies and Product B for organizations of 500 users and more’, as is the case with Jira Align and Portfolio. BigPicture is thought of and designed for the uncertainty of the 2020s and 2030s, and who can tell the mainstream business model in 20 years?

The third long-term factor that makes BigPicture an alternative to Jira Align is that BigPicture will soon be available as a standalone platform, under the name of BigPicture.one. Therefore it will be able to live independently of Jira. Notice, this small difference, though: BigPicture was born as a Jira plugin, hence its excellent, 2-way integration with Jira (will remain a standard feature).

Portfolio management in BigPicture, a Jira Align alternative

The new Overview module in BigPicture 8, an alternative to Jira Align. BigPicture 8 delivers true PPM (Project Portfolio Management) experience and is suitable for Agile, Waterfall, and Hybrid methodologies.

 

Portfolio for Jira

Read an in-depth BigPicture vs. Portfolio for Jira comparison.

In a nutshell: Portfolio is an excellent planning-roadmapping app, user-friendly, and well-integrated with Jira. Until version 7, BigPicture was considered the closest alternative to Portfolio. Both apps had their strengths, including Portfolio’s what-if scenarios, and BigPicture’s flexibility-configurability and its modules that Portfolio doesn’t have (Gantt chart, Risks).

With the premiere of BigPicture 8, scheduled for Spring 2020, the landscape changes.

Conclusion

BigPicture 8 receives full-scale portfolio management logic, which pushes the app up on the ‘applicable to enterprises’ scale. At the same time, BigPicture regains all the ‘addon characteristics’ that Jira Align cannot even dream of, such as the mature integration with Jira, and competitive pricing.

You invest long-term here. Notice that BigPicture has been born and has remained until today within the same organization (SoftwarePlant). On the contrary, Jira Align used to be AgileCraft, and Portfolio used to be GreenHopper, and they were both acquired by Atlassian at some point. On the stock market, if the founding fathers are still aboard, the survival rate is much higher. This single factor, like nothing else, should impact your decision.

Finally, consider the entry barrier. A Jira admin can install, and possibly uninstall ;) BigPicture or Portfolio on their own in a matter of minutes, and the same cannot be said about Jira Align, which usually calls for an Atlassian Partner.

BigPicture Jira Align Portfolio for Jira
The tightness of integration with Jira high moderate high
Can I live on my own, without Jira? yes
in BigPicture.one
yes
Agile methodologies yes yes yes
Hybrid methodologies yes yes
Waterfall methodologies yes
# of users from 1 to unlimited above 500 users (not a hard-and-fast rule). 50-150 people at a time
# of teams from 1 to unlimited up to 20 agile teams
Loading limits unlimited unlimited Loading limits prevent plans from becoming too large and hindering performance.
Developer SoftwarePlant Atlassian Atlassian
Hosting – Jira: Server, Data Center, Cloud Cloud Server, Data Center, Cloud
Security – keep your business data on a server within your organization yes yes
Founding fathers still aboard yes
Trial version 30 days Seven days, on request 30 days
Price, Server, $/year 250 users tier: $4,000 250 users tier: $9,490
Price, Cloud, $/user/month 500 users tier: $1.38 $69, $99, or $129 / user / month 500 users tier: $1.73

 

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The good news

Mar 2020
BigPicture 8 is coming. With [Boxes] and a new ‘Overview’ module, it is now a big portfolio management player. Another novelty: ‘let your teams keep the  they love’ — BigPicture 8 can exchange data with Trello.
Mar 2020
New Gantt chart 2.0 is now live in BigPicture 7.10 and BigGantt 4.8, available from Atlassian Marketplace. To see the new module, go to the classic Gantt chart and press the magic wand button near the top-left corner.
Mar 2020
What Jira Align alternatives do large organizations have within Atlassian Ecosystem? More

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About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.