When Using Jira By Itself Isn't Enough...
Jira has been used for bug tracking and task management since 2003. While managing tasks and bugs are important to development, many are left wondering if using Jira by itself is enough.
Your Guide to Using Jira Alternatives
Read along or jump to the section that interests you most:
- What Is Jira Used For?
- Using Jira for Bug Tracking
- Alternatives to Jira Testing
- Alternatives to Jira Requirements Management
- Using Jira for Project Management
- Using Jira for Agile
- Jira Add-Ons vs. Jira Integrations vs. Jira Replacements
What Is Jira Used For?
Jira is used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management. Its primary function is to manage bugs throughout the application development lifecycle.
Jira fits into three of the five phases of the product development.
Jira does not play a role in the concept stage.
Jira does not play a role in the feasibility stage.
Jira does play a role in managing issues in this stage. But Jira can’t help with one of the most important parts of the development phase. If a requirement changes, you can’t use Jira to determine the impact of that change.
Jira can manage issues and bugs that come up during implementation. And Jira can track the bugs as they go back into development — and come back to implementation. But Jira doesn’t provide the documentation for testing against requirements (or testing to resolve issues).
Jira can manage defects in this stage and track them as they are resolved.
4 Disadvantages of Using Jira Alone
- Lack of connections between issues and other development artifacts.
- Unable to search for requirements related to issues.
- Can’t manage testing (without a lot of manual effort).
- Incomplete visibility over workflows.
Using Jira for Bug Tracking
Jira was designed and built for issue tracking. It can handle managing tasks, issues, and bugs. This is important in product development (especially in the implementation and production phases).
Bug Tracking in the Development Lifecycle
Bug tracking is just one step of the application development lifecycle. Whether you keep using Jira for bug tracking or replace it with an alternative, there are other key areas of development that you need to keep in mind.
After all, bugs can be found through software testing. Bugs are often traced back to requirements. And having an easy way to make connections between tests, bugs, and requirements can accelerate release cycles.
[FREE WHITE PAPER: BEYOND BUG TRACKING WITH JIRA]
Jira bug tracking might be enough for your issue tracking needs. Or you might need more than just the ability to manage bugs and tasks.
There are three alternatives to using Jira on its own.
If you’re using Jira, you could fully replace it. Or, you could get add-ons to add testing to Jira. Or, you could integrate Jira with other ALM tools.
Which type of Jira alternative is right for you? That depends…
If You’re Struggling With Bugs…
Using Jira for bug tracking is effective — if you’re on a small team. But in a complex development process, using Jira becomes less efficient. A Jira alternative for issue tracking could give you more room to scale.
Struggling with bugs? Find a Jira alternative for issue tracking >
If Jira’s Working for Bug Tracking…
Jira might be meeting your bug tracking needs. But you need help connecting bugs with other artifacts across the development lifecycle. If that’s the case, you could benefit from a Jira add-on or ALM integration.
Learn more about:
Alternatives to Jira Testing
Using Jira for Testing Doesn't Work
Jira testing involves extra steps and extra work. That’s because Jira doesn’t have any built-in testing capabilities. To make Jira testing work, you need to customize Jira issues. Or you need to add a testing tool so you can get more out of using Jira.
Workarounds for Writing Test Cases in Jira
There are three common workarounds for writing test cases in Jira:
- Create a “test case” issue — and keep it open.
- Tweak a user story to be a test case.
- Add a “testing” status to your Jira workflow.
Using these workarounds will help in a pinch. But remember: Jira wasn’t built for test case management.
For better software testing, you’ll need tools that were built to support test cases and efficient testing.
Adding testing tools to Jira strengthens your products and adds efficiency to your processes.
After all, testing tools do what Jira can’t do on its own.
- Make it easy to create test cases that are repeatable.
- Help you track your testing efforts (and know that tests have actually been run).
- Ensure that you ship quality products on time.
Here’s what to look for in a Jira alternative for testing.
Continuous Testing to Support DevOps and Agile
Organizations that practice DevOps need to continuously deliver. And organizations practicing Agile can’t wait until a product is developed to test it.
That’s why continuous testing is critical to fulfilling both DevOps and Agile.
Continuous testing is the process of executing automated tests throughout the development pipeline. It’s used to assess business risk and get instant insight.
Jira testing is manual. It can’t support continuous testing. But you can add a Jira testing tool that supports continuous testing.
Automated Testing For Efficiency
Automated testing isn’t just for organizations practicing DevOps and Agile. It’s been embraced by many organizations to accelerate the release cycle.
That’s because automated testing reduces the time to ship, cuts down on costs, and helps you run more tests faster.
You might already be using automated testing tools (e.g., Selenium). In this case, you just need a way to bridge the gap between your automated tests and Jira. So, look for a testing tool that can upload test scripts, create test cases, and track test results (all in one spot).
Get Started With Jira Testing Tools
Ready to add test management to Jira? Find a Jira testing alternative >
Alternatives to Jira Requirements Management
Using Jira for Requirements Management Doesn't Work
Many organizations who use Jira for bug tracking still keep requirements documents in Microsoft Office. While that’s better than nothing, it’s not enough.
To effectively manage requirements, you need to add a requirements tool to Jira.
Why Are Requirements So Important?
Software requirements are important to:
- Meet the needs of customers.
- Comply with regulations.
- Improve testing (and avoiding bugs).
- Ship quality products on time.
But if you set requirements in Microsoft Office and manage bugs in Jira, it’s hard to know whether requirements have been properly tested and met.
So, how do you know if it’s time to rethink your requirements process?
Adding Requirements Management to Jira
Using Jira to track bugs helps you release better products. But without visibility into your requirements, it’s hard to know whether your product will deliver on its promise.
That’s why adding requirements management to Jira is important.
Using a requirements management tool should:
- Make it easy to manage requirements change.
- Keep everyone on the same page.
- Help you implement the right features at the right time.
- Prevent bugs before they happen.
- Track requirements across the lifecycle.
Is It Possible to Create a Jira Traceability Matrix?
Jira itself can’t be used to create a traceability matrix. You’d need an add-on or integration to do it. That's because Jira can't trace requirements on its own.
If you choose a requirements solution that integrates with Jira, you’ll be able to pull Jira issues into the traceability matrix. Those issues will be easily tied back to requirements. And you’ll be able to show that those issues have been tested and resolved.
[FREE WHITE PAPER: RECOGNIZING THE DANGER SINGS OF WEAK TRACEABILITY]
Get Started with Requirements Management
Ready to add requirements management to Jira? Find a requirements alternative >
Using Jira for Project Management
Can Jira Be Used for Project Management?
You’ll be able to use Jira to keep track of:
- Statuses: where your issues are.
- Transitions: what happens next in the issue workflow.
- Assignees: who is responsible for an issue.
- Resolutions: why an issue went from open to closed.
If that’s all your project needs, you might be satisfied with Jira for project management.
But if you need to manage more within the software development workflow, you won’t be satisfied with Jira alone.
3 Signs You’ve Outgrown Jira Workflows
Jira workflows work best when they’re simple. But if your project has grown more complex, you’ve probably outgrown your Jira workflows.
Here are three common signs:
- Your team has grown since you started using Jira for project management.
- There are stakeholders outside of engineering involved in your project.
- Bugs aren’t the only thing you need to track through software development.
Get Started With a Project Management Alternative
Ready to add project management to Jira? Find a Jira alternative >
Using Jira for Agile
How to Use Jira for Agile Development
Jira supports Agile processes for issue tracking and project management. But as you adopt Agile, you may need more than just Jira.
You’ll need to be Agile across the development lifecycle. And that that means you’ll need Agile requirements and testing.
User stories instead of traditional requirements
Traditional requirements don’t cut it in Agile. That’s why user stories are better than traditional requirements.
User stories follow a template. Here’s an example:
As a <user>, I want <a goal> so that <reason>.
A user story in the medical device industry might be:
As a medical device developer, I want a traceability matrix so that I can prove compliance.
Testing That Can Keep Up With Change
Testing needs to happen in each sprint. You can’t wait until development is over to test the product.
Agile testing typically involves:
- Prioritizing requirements and their tests.
- Automating tests to increase efficiency (and keep up with sprints).
- Doing exploratory testing throughout each sprint.
- Adapting testing processes to change (again and again).
Get Started With Jira Alternatives
Need Agile processes beyond issue tracking? Find Jira alternatives for Agile lifecycle management >
Comparing Jira Alternatives
There are three types of Jira alternatives.
- Completely replace Jira.
- Get a Jira add-on.
- Integrate Jira with an ALM solution.
The right Jira alternative to you will depend on what you’re looking for.
|Type of Jira Alternative||Jira Add-On||Jira Integration||Jira Replacement|
|Best for…||Teams that just need to add one thing (e.g., testing).||Teams that want to keep using Jira — but need comprehensive ALM.||Teams that have outgrown Jira.|
|Biggest Pro||Easy to get in the Atlassian Marketplace.||Developers can keep using Jira for issues and get the same traceability across the lifecycle.||Scalability that can handle your growing team and projects.|
|Biggest Con||Lack of visibility across the entire lifecycle.||Custom configuration required to sync all data between Jira and the ALM tool.||Potential resistance from developers who like using Jira.|
Jira add-ons are commonly used as Jira alternatives. Add-ons fill in some of the biggest gaps that developers have in their development lifecycle — like requirements and testing. Explore Jira add-ons >
Benefits of Using a Jira Requirements Add-On
A Jira requirements add-on goes beyond what you can do with Microsoft Word documents and Jira.
You’ll be able to:
- See how requirements link to issues.
- Trace requirements across the project lifecycle.
- Reuse requirements across projects.
[FREE WHITE PAPER: BEYOND BUG TRACKING WITH JIRA]
Benefits of Using Jira Add-Ons For Test Management
Jira add-ons for test management helps you improve testing and QA.
Instead of using Jira workarounds for creating test cases, you’ll be able to:
- Create and manage test cases properly.
- Get visibility into whether or not a test was actually run.
- Reuse test cases and test more efficiently.
Drawbacks to Using Jira Add-Ons
Jira add-ons improve the Jira experience. And Jira requirements and testing add-ons are certainly a step in the right direction.
But each add-on solves only one part of the problem. That’s why using Jira add-ons can be problematic.
Integrating Jira with ALM tools gives you a complete solution. And Jira integrations solve the traceability problem. (Jira add-ons can’t deliver that.)
ALM tools complement Jira. They add the testing and requirements management that Jira lacks.
That makes it easy to connect Jira issues to requirements and test cases. So, you’ll be able to get the traceability that’s critical for quality and compliance.
Best Practices For Integrating Jira and ALM Tools
The best ALM and Jira integrations work both ways. You’ll get to see test cases and requirements in Jira. And you’ll be able to see issues in the ALM tool.
Helix ALM offers an out of-the-box Jira integration.
Here are a few ways Helix ALM works with Jira:
- Failed test runs create a Jira defect or task.
- Jira stories or tasks can be created directly from requirements.
- Traceability is instantly available from Jira items to tests, requirements, and defects.
Replacing Jira is a popular alternative for teams who need to scale issue management and add traceability at the same time.
If your team has grown too large (or if your product has grown too complex), then a Jira replacement might make sense for you.
What to Look For in a Jira Replacement
If you’ve outgrown Jira and you need a replacement, here’s what you should look for:
- Integrated bug tracking, test management, and requirements management.
- Automatic linking across the lifecycle.
- Traceability matrices that you can create in just a few clicks.
- Forward and backward impact analysis.
- Organization via folders and private folders.
- Support for your methodology (e.g., hybrid Agile).
Helix ALM is a great option for completely replacing Jira. This solution is comprised of modules for managing requirements, issues, and test. Helix ALM can grow with your team, making it a smart choice for replacing Jira.
[COMPARISON: HELIX ALM VS. JIRA]
Find Your Jira Alternative
Helix ALM might just be the Jira alternative you’re looking for — whether you want a replacement, an add-on, or an integration. See for yourself how Helix ALM can deliver more than Jira alone. Try it for 30 days.