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Jira vs. Trello: A Buyer’s Perspective

TrustRadius Community Contributor
December 13, 2019

Jira vs. Trello: A Buyer’s Perspective

Today’s community contributor is Zee Gimon, Digital Operations Manager at HUSPI Software Development. She loves to learn about new technologies and advances in the sciences, cook Chinese and Mexican food, and read Harry Potter to her kids. Check out the detailed reviews she’s written on TrustRadius about tools with which she has worked throughout her career.

Whether you have one project or several going on, a project management tool is always useful to have. In my work as a Digital Operations Manager in the IT industry, I use two major ones for our internal as well as external projects: Jira and Trello. In this article, I’ll talk about the differences in their approaches and where each tool fits in the landscape of project management software.


Just a heads up, both Jira, and Trello belong to the company called Atlassian. While Atlassian acquired Trello, Jira has been their creation from the start. 

Because one of my direct responsibilities is working with updating our website feature-wise, we have used Jira for this purpose because all our developers are used to the interface, workflow, and time tracking.

5 things I like about Jira

  • Workflow management
    • In software development, as well as in many other project management cases (for example, writing blog posts), there are clearly-defined stages of the process. Jira offers workflow management, where you can specify the custom steps the process requires, and a user responsible for each stage. Once the task is complete, it can be dragged into the next column, and the responsible user is notified that s/he can start their part of the work. 
  • Sprints
    • Sprints are a convenient way to divide the tasks so that you don’t get overwhelmed with long to-do lists. In my marketing department, we use two spring lengths: one week and one month. The weekly one is for marketing tasks with short deadlines, the monthly one is used for the company website development, where the deadlines are set, but the list of people involved is different. 
  • User permissions and accesses
    • As I mentioned above, the boards we’ve used had different people involved as well as different permissions for each of the board. Trello doesn’t allow such precise user management as does Jira, which made it a great option, for example, the company’s financial board. The finance team, as well as the CEO, had all the access, but the employees could only see the information that was relevant only to them. 
  • Scrum • Kanban • Scrumban
    • There are numerous debates in terms of what Agile approach to use (and whether to use it at all), but Jira can adapt to pretty much any kind: Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban (a mixture of the previous two), etc. It is easy to set up the rules that are specific to a project/board. 
  • Statistics & analysis
    • One of the things that were especially valued in Jira was the ability to see the statistics of the project development progress. For developers, this was especially critical because this feature allowed them to create a more precise project timeline evaluations because they could compare the tasks and the complexity to the ones they’ve already tackled in a similar project. For a software development company, this is a vital factor for the client’s happiness. 

3 Jira disadvantages

  • Getting used to it might be a bit tricky, especially if you’re like me—a design-oriented person. Jira has a lot of features and a lot of third-party integration options, but sometimes it can be just a bit too much and overwhelm the new users. However, with the help of a professional system administrator, everything can be figured out, of course.
  • Once you’ve set the workflow, it’s the way it works. You can’t simply change it for one task, it’s the board’s workflow, and you have to go along with it. There is an option to update the workflow to the one that would fit better, but it’s a hassle to keep changing it all the time if your tasks aren’t very homogenous. In this case, perhaps you don’t need something as sophisticated as Jira for your project management. 
  • The design (compared to Trello) is more down-to-business. It’s not a drawback, but I like Trello’s options more. (Hey, I’m in marketing, so I love it when things look good, not just professional 🙂 )

One Jira bonus is that it’s free for organizations that are non-academic, non-commercial, non-governmental, non-political, non-profit, and secular. It is also free for some open-source criteria. 

Otherwise, the Jira license starts with $10/10 users and scales as the team grows. You can check out the prices on their official website


As I mentioned above, Trello used to be a standalone program, but in 2017, it got acquired by Atlassian. 

At my work, I use Trello for either personal task tracking program (work-related, but those that don’t involve other team members) or for ideas. It is a very visual instrument with color-coded labels, stickers, customizable board colors, etc. 

5 things I like about Trello

  • Ultimate user-friendliness
    • Trello is great because it offers a beautiful onboarding experience, which helps to understand how to use this tool.
  • Lots of features
    • You can create tasks with a checklist of subtasks inside. 
    • You can tag your team members when you need to alert them about a task or something (this is available in Jira as well). 
    • Most of the features are listed within the task on the right, so you have a handy list of actions you can perform with a task without thinking, “Can I do that?”
  • Automation
    • Recently Trello has launched a set of powerful automation tools for cards, boards, rules, and due date reminders. Thanks to this, your project management process becomes even simpler because you don’t have to worry about forgetting to do something routine (since routine tasks are the easiest to forget.) For example, I have created a rule that if a task is moved into the “Done” column by me, then it should automatically be archived. 
  • Convenient mobile app
    • Trello offers a great user experience on all device—laptops, tablets, or cell phones. It even has an application for the Apple Watch! (Granted, don’t forget about getting some rest from planning your projects in your free time – unless it’s about meeting with friends.)
  • Taco
    • I can’t forget the Taco the Dog—it’s the mascot of the software. I know it’s not really a business-oriented thing, but hey, it makes the process of using Trello so much more enjoyable when there’s a Taco sticker in the task. 

2 Trello disadvantages

  • There’s an archive, but there are no past sprints (or no way to really “complete a sprint”). In terms of the long-running projects, the ever-increasing “Done” column makes the board too cluttered. You can archive the done tasks, but then the archive becomes a graveyard of the completed tasks as well. (IMHO)
  • Trello (as far as I know) also doesn’t have the powerful user permissions administration as Jira does. Therefore this is something you need to take into account. 

Jira vs. Trello: who wins?

There are many project management tools out there to choose from. However, from my point of view, Jira and Trello are among the leaders that cover most bases. 

If you’re looking for a corporate project management tool or you need precise workflows and user permissions, then Jira is the way to go.

If you need a more laid-back and user-friendly instrument to track the things that need to be done, then choose Trello since the journey will be much more pleasant. 

What other project management tools have you used

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