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Jira vs Azure DevOps – aligning teams, projects and systems

Overview:

Jira and Azure DevOps are among the most popular DevOps tools, currently used by millions of developers. They are both wonderful for dev teams to manage, track and organize their projects, and they both help developers to plan and collaborate better.

Azure DevOps and Jira are important tools that help organizations put order in their development processes in the most modern ways.

But which one should you go for – Jira or Azure DevOps?

In this comparison article we will explore the similarities and differences between them, as well as try to help you out when choosing the best tool for your needs.

Jira Software

Jira is a project management software widely trusted from developers, as it is really easy to use and at the same time has powerful capabilities and agile functionalities

Jira is developed by Atlassian and was initially designed as a bug and issue tracker. It has later evolved to the solid project management tool that it is today, supporting all kinds of use cases. Jira is highly flexible and allows configurations for diverse environments and processes. It supports any agile methodology.

Main features of Jira:

Easy project configuration – project workflows can easily be customized

  • Built-in roadmaps – clear view on projects progress
  • Custom dashboards – all the info you need for a given project in one place
  • Agile reporting – real-time, actionable insights for team performance
  • Advanced search capabilities – detailed views on teamwork
  • Native mobile support – Jira for iPhone and Android
  • 1,000+ plug-and-play add-ons – add-ons available in the Atlassian Marketplace enhance
    Jira to fit any scenario
  • Enterprise-ready – high availability, performance at scale and advanced security
    features

With Jira you can plan, track and manage all your software development projects with agile boards, roadmaps, backlogs, integrations and add-ons. You can easily scale and tailor the Jira workflows for complex scenarios.

Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps helps developers improve the way they plan, create and deliver software. It provides a solid platform for turning ideas into apps, using agile tools and helps in managing tests, versioning code, and deploying projects to cross-platform systems.

Azure DevOps is a Microsoft product and was formerly known as Visual Studio Team Service (VSTS). Currently it consists of 5 different services that can be used together or separately:

  • Azure Boards – agile tools to plan, track, and discuss work across teams.
  • Azure Repos – unlimited free repositories to build, test, and deploy with CI/CD that
    works with any language, platform, and cloud.
  • Azure Pipelines – better code with pull requests and advanced file management.
  • Azure Test Plans – manual and exploratory testing tools.
  • Azure Artifacts – a tool to create, host, and share packages within teams, and add
    artifacts to CI/CD pipelines.

The above set of services integrate and fit perfectly together, but can also be used separately, depending on the needs of your team and organization.

Main Azure DevOps features:

  • Plan and track work – several types of work items that can be used to track features,
    requirements, user stories, tasks, bugs, and issues
  • Dashboards – access to user-configurable dashboards that allow agile planning, work
    item tracking, visualization, and reporting
  • Source control – allows tracking changes made to the code base, checking in files, and
    organizing files within folders, branches, and repositories.
  • Advanced testing – integrated planned and exploratory testing
  • Package management – support for Maven, npm, Python and NuGet package feeds from
    public or private sources.
  • 1,000+ extensions in the Visual Studio marketplace
  • Repositories – unlimited free repositories.
  • CI/CD for any platform – language, platform and cloud agnostic with support for
    containers or Kubernetes.

Azure DevOps is perfect for building your software product from beginning to end. It can help every developer to plan projects using agile tools, manage code using Git, test the application, and deploy code using a CI/CD system.

Similarities and Differences

Similarities

Azure DevOps is a set of development tools for software teams that can work independently or integrate and work together, depending on the needs. Jira Software is a tool that helps teams of all types manage work. It provides issue and bug tracking, and various management processes.

Both Azure DevOps and Jira are the leading Application Lifecycle Management tools that help DevOps teams organize their projects and collaborate better.

Both are enterprise ready and widely used among organizations – large and small. Very often both tools are used within one organization in different departments.

Both tools support basic, agile, scrum, and CMMI project setup and management with the ability to switch between methodologies.

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Differences

Jira is well-suited for development teams that use agile methodologies. The software allows workflow iterations and progressive adding of more features on the go, while this is not natively available with Azure DevOps.

With Azure DevOps you have traceability from start to deployment, and the other way around, while with Jira you do not have direct visibility on each work item’s connections to specific deployments or releases.

Jira has enhanced search capabilities and you can easily find issues, bugs of a particular project, or a specific term or phrase. You can even save searches or have Jira send them to your email. With Azure DevOps the search options are much more limited.

Jira is primarily an issue tracking and project management system, while Azure DevOps covers the entire software development lifecycle.

Azure DevOps has a free basic level, and the price is according to usage of the different tools in the set, number of users, etc. It is quite flexible, and the price can be quite low if you use it smartly. Jira has a limited free license for up to 10 users. There are several options that are paid per user if you want to use its full capabilities or have enterprise needs.

Comparison chart

  Jira  Azure DevOps 
Customizable dashboard  Yes  Yes 
Backlog Management  3 backlog levels  5 backlog levels 
Collaboration  Yes  Yes 
Kanban   Yes  Yes 
Sprints   Yes  Yes 
Portfolio Planning  Paid extension  Free extension  
Advanced search capabilities  Yes  No 
Reliability  High  High 
Traceability  Not direct  Advanced 
Product Roadmapping   Yes  Yes 
Ease of Deployment  Easy  Easy 
Quality of Technical Support  Good  Satisfactory 
Integration With Third-Party Tools  Yes  Yes 
Marketplace with add-ons  Yes  Yes 
Enterprise-ready  Yes  Yes 
Enterprise agile framework 
including SAFe 
Yes  Yes 
Pricing Flexibility  Yes, but depends on
number of users 
Yes, you can fit to services
and number of users you need 
Ease of Integration using
Standard APIs and Tools 
Easy  Easy, but depends on the tool 

If your teams are using both Jira and Azure DevOps

Using both Jira and Azure DevOps is very common in big organizations where different teams need to collaborate better and plan their work to avoid silos.

Another common scenario is when your organization uses one tool, but your client uses the other one.

In such cases it would be difficult to make a switch and align everything in just Jira or just Azure DevOps, as the different teams are familiar with different tools and transferring their work would be a cumbersome and stressful task.

A much better solution would be to do an integration of Jira and Azure DevOps and have them automatically transfer data between each other. This way each team can continue working with the tools they are familiar with, and no one won’t need to do any manual work.

With the ZigiOps no-code integration platform, you can setup your integration in a matter of minutes. This is the easiest way to solve the problems that come from misalignment of teams due to the different tools they are using. This is also a perfect solution when working with clients that use tools different from the ones your own organization is using. When there is no need to manually transfer information from one tool to another, you will avoid mistakes or duplicate work, speed up processes and responses, and resolve issues faster than ever.

Summary

Both Jira and Azure DevOps are wonderful tools for DevOps project management. They both have pluses and minuses and choosing one of them is mostly a question of personal preference and familiarity.

However, it is not necessary to choose only one of the solutions in case your teams prefer different ones. Just integrate them and have them work together seamlessly, allowing your teams to use the tool they are mostly familiar with and avoid learning curves and glitches from switching from one tool to another. ZigiOps no-code integration platform can help you do that in a matter of minutes.