When comparing Trello vs JIRA, the Slant community recommends Trello for most people. In the question“What are the best bug/issue tracking tools for small development teams?” Trello is ranked 1st while JIRA is ranked 10th. The most important reason people chose Trello is:
There are two primary columns: the board is shown on the left and all the other controls on the right. The main means of interaction is dragging and dropping to-do cards into the various lists. The board structure is very customizable, and includes a variety of features that help along the way: color-coding, due dates, card images, checklists with a graphics bar that allows following progress easily, and card aging for cards that haven’t been touched in a long time.
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Pro Simple and easy to use interface
There are two primary columns: the board is shown on the left and all the other controls on the right. The main means of interaction is dragging and dropping to-do cards into the various lists.
The board structure is very customizable, and includes a variety of features that help along the way: color-coding, due dates, card images, checklists with a graphics bar that allows following progress easily, and card aging for cards that haven’t been touched in a long time.
Pro Highly flexible workflow
Trello calls items used in the workflow “cards.” Cards are double-sided and can contain subtasks as well as notes and other details.
Card columns can be used to simulate a workflow by moving cards from left to right as they are completed, or as a way of indicating task priority.
The workflow is highly flexible as the columns are completely customizable to suit the task flow. For example, tasks can be put through a workflow "idea > approved > in-progress > pending review > released" or simply "ideas > released" depending on the granularity level needed.
This makes Trello a great solution to feature management as it's possible to set up boards to handle everything from agile sprints to a more generic to-do list, all with status management.
Pro Free for unlimited users
Trello offers a very generous free version that has no ads, no restrictions on the number of users, and very little restriction on how the program can be used. The paid features are generally cosmetic, such as the ability to change the background, add stickers, etc.
Pro Great real-time team collaboration features
Trello has permissions at the board level as well as the ability to assign multiple people to each card. There are a lot of sharing options available and boards can be made visible for the public. It's also possible to subscribe to a card to be notified of its progress. The simplicity of the UI makes collaboration easy because it’s very simple to see the progress of each card and who is responsible for it. It also updates constantly to reflect real-time changes in progress.
The simplicity of the UI makes collaboration easy as it’s very simple to see the progress of each card and who is responsible for it. It also reflect changes on boards in real-time.
Pro Markdown support with well-rendered images
Trello supports Markdown, meaning that HTML input is represented appropriately. Cards with attachments are also rendered well. For example, images are shown correctly on the card, bug links are detected etc.
Pro Excellent for groups using agile software development
The responsiveness and layers of customization make it easy for team members of various disciplines to collaborate on the same task board.
Pro Functionality can be extended via plug-ins
Voting, view, and calendar plug-ins further increase the functionality.
Pro Works well for visual thinkers
The UI is based around Kanban, so you can see all your tasks and their status clearly.
Pro Lots of API integrations
Each card can have one or even multiple task lists.
Pro Good performance
Pro Attach files to cards
Keep all of your files (images, documents, etc.) organized on their relevant cards.
Pro Cross-platform and cross-sync
Trello works on all modern devices through the web application and has native apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8/10 devices.
Pro Great native app for Android and iOS
Pro Action history log allows you to rapidly follow changes
There is a global history system which allows to rapidly follow changes. There is also a notification system if another user updates the board while you're watching it.
Pro Features to add voting on cards
Trello offers support for features to add voting on cards, often referred to as 'power-ups'.
Pro Smooth media integration
Works like a charm.
Pro Backed by a trustable company
Jira is developed and maintained by Atlassian, which is not an unknown venture, especially for developers. Atlassian has a great number of other products used by million of users worldwide, including BitBucket, HipChat, Confluence and Stash.
Each of these products have hundreds of thousands of users who use them daily and this has allowed Atlassian to garner a lot of goodwill from the dev community.
Pro Supports version-focused work-flows
JIRA is not a plain long list of tickets, but can be configured to be version-focused, so planning and understanding the progress in a software project becomes clear.
Pro Very cheap for small teams
Pro Lots of integrations and plugins
It integrates well with a lot of other tools, including other products from the Atlassian suite. Plus there are a ton of plugins, including charting tools, screen capture, etc.
Pro Great reporting tools
Jira offers amazingly powerful reporting tools like activity stream, different graphs of opened and closed issues over time etc...
Con Managing large projects may be difficult
Trello works best with medium to small projects and with very high-level overviews. It is less effective for projects that require very granular management due to the fact that it becomes considerably more difficult to keep track of various cards and priorities as they are pushed off the screen.
Con Subtasks lack features
Every task can have a list of subtasks which more closely resembles a standard to-do list.
These lack the functions that cards offer you. You cannot comment on a sub-list, give the sub-tasks due dates, or provide additional information. You are limited to only checking them off once completed.
Con Not really a to do list
Trello is much more a workflow and project management program than a typical to-do app, which makes it overwhelmingly robust for those looking to jot down their shopping list.
Con Can't create dependencies between cards
Con No quick deadline assignment
You have to open a Calendar every time to set a date without any quick options like today, tomorrow etc.
Con Can't get one view of cards across all boards
However, you can view all cards assigned to you.
Con No desktop client
There is no Windows or Mac client now but you can still access all of the features through your web browser.
Con No multi-board aggregation
If you have multiple boards with tasks on them there is no way to get all the tasks on one board in a way that changes on one board will update the other.
Con Light on features
Trello is focused on simplicity and as such forgoes certain common features that may or may not be important to you.
Con Locks you inside its own ecosystem
If you use Jira you are pretty much locked inside their ecosystem. For example, if you want to add a tool to your project management stack (like a wiki) more often than not you will have to buy one of Atlassian's tools.
Con Client application support
No free client applications; IDE connector development was discontinued. Users are effectively locked into using web interface which requires context-switching.
Con New releases often change the GUI largely
Sometimes the usage becomes worse, e.g. when creating a new ticket, you need to click the notification to keep it on the display.