Why Choose SpiraTeam over JIRA?

Ever wondered why you should choose SpiraTeam rather than JIRA?  Some differences are obvious (including the cost!) but the functionality is also key to why SpiraTeam could be your best, and least expensive, choice of ALM tool.

Tom Nolle of CIMI Corporation recently published this article on the topic and it’s worth a read: ALM Tools Face-off Pits SpiraTeam vs. JIRA.   Tom omits to recognise is that SpiraTeam is only one of the ALM tools available from the Inflectra suite and that SpiraPlan may have been a better tool to compare for Project Management tasks.

In summary, from Tom’s article, here are the key points he made, with a few annotations from me:

What differentiates SpiraTeam from Jira?

SpiraTeam is developer-focused because its features key in on ALM tasks, where Jira has a broader mandate in project management (see comment above re SpiraPlan).

SpiraTeam enables any member of a development or testing team (or UAT business user), from managers to new employees, to easily find tools, screens, reports and documentation that align with their role. The product’s collaborative tools to bind team activities aren’t as comprehensive as Jira’s, particularly when Jira users adopt Confluence as well.

The appeal of SpiraTeam varies depending on the size of a development organization. SpiraTeam lacks Jira’s more rigorous, feature-rich framework, so it might not offer the power an enterprise-scale dev team requires. However, small- to midsize organizations would likely choose SpiraTeam vs. Jira, as they often find the latter option bloated or complicated (or simply too confusing for the average user).

Organizations can run Jira and SpiraTeam on premises or in the cloud, and each option offers integration support for other software tools. The two seem to respectively provide complete means to manage a varying set of ALM requirements.

Jira is designed to support virtually any set of development team requirements, any kind of software project, at any size, in any ALM workflow. The product accommodates diverse combinations of tools and practices. When organizations need flexibility, Jira is a great fit. SpiraTeam has a specific project approach in mind, and when that modus operandi fits a user’s requirements, it eases both adoption and operation over time (SpiraTeam primarily aims at AGILE environments but accommodates most models with easy configuration and customisation).

Jira’s scale and scope come with a tradeoff: higher cost and complexity vs. SpiraTeam. Jira’s learning curve is formidable, and you will often have to integrate — and learn how to manage — new elements to handle a growing list of ALM-related tasks. SpiraTeam provides a fairly complete ALM toolkit with its basic package, so many users won’t find it necessary to add and learn new features. But SpiraTeam doesn’t have all the extended features of Jira. Additionally, Jira’s community of users and pool of third-party tool connections are much larger than those for SpiraTeam — a hard package to beat for larger enterprise development organizations (but all of Inflectra’s integrations are FREE, including it’s migration tools).

Examine three questions to determine a winner in this SpiraTeam vs. Jira discussion:

  • Do you have an ALM strategy in place already and just need to organize or improve it?
  • Will you have more major, large-scale development projects at the company, or fewer and smaller ones?
  • Does your development involve continuous and systematic integration of business department activities, or does your software team operate more in a silo?
  • (What is the maturity of your organisation to adapt to an ALM tool?)

If you are new to a formalized ALM approach, even if you’re part of a large organization, SpiraTeam gets the nod on completeness and simplicity. If you have a small development team with limited projects, SpiraTeam will fit your needs. If you have established development teams looking to improve ALM and project management, Jira is more likely to take on and expand your current process. Jira also has the edge for large-scale development.

The final question serves as the tie-breaker, but it is perhaps the hardest to answer. In software development, the trend is to tightly integrate developers and users, especially for organizations that implement CI/CD or Agile development. If that describes your team, Jira is probably the best tool for the job, despite its learning curve and cost. On the other hand, organizations that do not prioritize CI/CD could find that Jira is overkill. (SpiraTeam integrates (FREE) with a large number of CI/CD tools.  There is also the Inflectra Tara Vault product for code management which integrates with all of the Spira family of products).

For any Inflectra enquiries in Asia-Pacific, please contact us, the local (Brisbane) Sales Office for all products.  We’d also be delighted to provide an on-line or on-site demonstration of product.  Just give us a call and we’ll convince you about the Spira family of products!