If 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 Advanced Roadmaps (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 (now Advanced Roadmaps), and so Jira Align and Advanced Roadmaps 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
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 Advanced Roadmaps. 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).
Read an in-depth BigPicture vs. Advanced Roadmaps comparison.
In a nutshell: Advanced Roadmaps 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 didn’t have (Gantt chart, Risks).
With the premiere of BigPicture 8, the landscape changes.
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 Advanced Roadmaps 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||Advanced Roadmaps
(Portfolio for Jira)
|The tightness of integration with Jira||high||moderate||high|
|Can I live on my own, without Jira?||
|# 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.|
|Hosting – Jira:||Server, Data Center, Cloud||Cloud||Server, Data Center, Cloud|
|Security – keep your business data on a server within your organization|
|Founding fathers still aboard|
|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|