Are you looking for a powerful project management tool but don’t know which one to choose? Look no further, as we have got you covered! In this article, we compare two of the most popular project management tools in the market, Jira and Monday.com. We have two experts, Artur Guła and Krzysztof Nyrek, who share their personal experiences and insights on these tools and provide a comprehensive comparison of their features, benefits, and drawbacks. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced project manager, this conversation is a must-read for anyone considering these tools. So, sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of Jira and Monday.com!
In this article, you will read about:
AG: Thanks Krzysztof for co-creating this article. It promises to be an interesting comparison of two popular tools! Who will come out victorious from this battle?
KN: Thank you for inviting me to discuss these two project management tools together, and yes, I am extremely excited to see these two tools collide.
AG: Let’s start with a short warm-up. I have been a fan of monday.com since 2020. It started off simple. I was looking for something to organize my own tasks, and that’s how I came across monday.com. The free version of the tool worked perfectly for building my to-do list. I was impressed by its intuitiveness and simplicity, as well as the huge flexibility of the tool. Over time, I got to know monday.com better, and I shared observations and interesting facts in articles and recordings. As a result, I received requests for support in implementing this solution on a larger scale, which allowed me to get to know the secrets of monday.com even better. And that’s how it goes until today. How about you, when did you start working with Jira and how did your journey begin?
KN: I got to know Jira almost a year ago. Initially, I was very skeptical. I had worked with various project management tools before and each of them disappointed me with the lack of a comprehensive approach. With each of them, something was missing that had to be added. Sometimes it was a team calendar, sometimes a place to keep documentation or other similar “add-ons”. I thought Jira would be the same, but I was pleasantly surprised. Since then, I have been using Jira actively and I am happy to share my experiences in this area.
A David versus Goliath duel?
Before we start sharing our experiences, let the figures speak:
|On the market since…
|Number of employees
|Offices in … countries
|Number of customers
|Number of applications in the marketplace
Data for all Attlasian products: https://www.atlassian.com/company
AG: There is a 10-year age difference between the two applications, which has its pros and cons. The popularity of Jira can be seen very well by the number of applications in the marketplace. On the other hand, the number of customers is quite similar. Of course, not all customers are the same. A startup customer with five licenses is a completely different customer than a corporation with 5000 users. However, let’s leave a detailed analysis of the data aside.
Is there anything from the statistics that you would like to address before we move on to our subjective evaluation?
KN: Thank you for mentioning these statistics. Personally, I am surprised by the comparable number of Monday.com and Jira customers, especially in comparison to the number of employees working in both organizations. As for the age difference between the two applications, I personally have had the opportunity to work on a slightly “older” version of Jira as well as the current version. There is a significant difference. Jira is constantly being developed and improved to keep up with the new tools emerging, such as Monday.com, which is why I am eager to dive into a comparison of these tools.
Comparison – Jira vs monday.com
Software version management – Jira
KN: In the spirit of Agile, creating or developing a product involves delivering software “pieces” at certain intervals to meet specific customer needs. For example, if we’re creating a recipe search engine for customers, in the first step we enable searching for dinner recipes, in the second step we add breakfast recipes, and in the third step, we add dinner recipes. In Jira, there’s a functionality called “Release”, which allows managing the actually released software pieces and grouping tasks into release bundles that can be independent of Epics. With this tool, we can easily track the progress of work on the release, its start and end dates, add descriptions, and plan future versions. For example, once we’ve released a package related to the dinner search engine and currently working on the breakfast search engine, in the “Releases” view in Jira, we can easily see at what stage each production release is.
The view allows checking the status of each version, the start and end dates of work on the version, as well as adding a short description or planning future versions. This is a very convenient tool for managing the current state of software and planning future releases.
The process of releasing a package of tasks to production can be automated after Jira is connected with dedicated tools. This makes it easy to manage versions from one place.
In case of issues appearing after the release of the first package of tasks to production, which were not detected during testing, an “additional” release can be easily managed in Jira. Simply create a new version, name it e.g. FIX_1, assign the task or tasks to it, and then simply release them using the previously prepared integration with the change release tool.
I’m wondering how Monday.com enables software version management.
AG: In monday.com, the answer is usually “It depends”. Monday.com is designed as a platform for managing the entire company, not just IT projects. Therefore, before we start using the tool, we need to configure it properly. The advantage of this is that we work with a solution tailored to our needs. In monday.com, tasks, user stories, epics, or any other elements exist within boards.
For version management, I have prepared a board where I have configured columns similar to those in the Jira screenshot, including:
- Version name,
- Start and end dates,
Now I can define versions, for example:
In the “Items” column, I select the Stories that are included in the version, and in the next column I can see their cumulative status.
Similarly, I can manage this connection from the User Stories level. So, in the task board for each User Story, I select the version:
To achieve this possibility and have real-time information about the task completion status within the version, I linked the version with the task board using the very helpful “mirror columns” functionality (this article shows how “mirror columns” work using the example of multi-level task structures).
The advantage of this flexible approach is that if I need to add a column with information about the release manager, UAT deadlines, or other information, I can simply add it in a few seconds. I can also configure notifications as desired, for example, send a notification to the PM three days before the release, or if the release date has passed and the status is not Done, notify the Team Leader, etc.
Regarding the automation of version releases, the possibilities are quite limited. For now, monday.com does not have built-in integrations with tools like Jenkins or Azure DevOps. One solution is to use the Zapier integrator, which can, for example, trigger the version build in Azure DevOps after a status change in monday.com.
Service Desk Support – Jira
KN: Jira is an extremely popular tool in companies offering service desk services, due to its dedicated panel for handling service requests, which is very functional and well thought out. To start handling service desk requests in Jira, you can use a ready-made project template or create your own project from scratch. The ready-made template (Jira Service Management) has been designed specifically for IT teams to facilitate working with current requests.
The Jira Service Desk module offers a centralized collection of all requests, making it easy to manage them. It is worth noting the possibility of dividing requests by teams or individuals assigned to handle them, as well as request types. The system’s queueing system is a standout feature, which is fantastic in its simplicity and also extremely functional.
Each task is placed in a designated queue, and the group of people assigned to that queue receives an email notification about the new task. Jira can also be integrated with a messenger, such as Slack, to notify the designated channel of new requests.
Jira also allows for directing requests based on the time zone of a given area of the world. If the team is dispersed around the world in different time zones, we can use the settings in Jira to assign incoming requests to people who are currently working at that time. This way, the 24/7 service takes on a new dimension.
Efficiency and SLA management
For each type of task, you can assign an expected time for task resolution in accordance with the SLA agreement, allowing Service Desk employees to prioritize the most important tasks to be completed first. The list of tasks taken on and their completion times can be presented in reports configured to your own needs. There is also the option of setting expected efficiency indicators, which are updated in real-time. The entire reporting module is designed to help the team achieve the best possible results in customer service.
Automation of Service Desk tasks
As with the entire tool, Jira Service Desk offers the possibility of process automation. Rules can be set up to automatically assign tickets to the appropriate team or generate responses to the most common customer questions. With integration with the Opsgenie tool, alerts can also be set up for people on home duty in the event of a critical issue reported to the Service Desk.
It is worth noting that Jira Service Desk is fully integrated with Jira, and used for project management. This allows Service Desk employees to have full visibility into the entire company’s IT ecosystem, enabling faster problem-solving. Additionally, Jira Service Desk allows for filling in the calendar of changes planned for implementation in the company’s software. This allows the customer service team to prepare in advance for any potential increase in tasks to be performed.
An interesting feature is an ability to manage changes related to the implementation of tickets through a CI/CD pipeline, similar to software development. Prior configuration of Jira and integration with the CI/CD management tool are required.
Does Monday.com have a module for Service Desk support, or does it rather focus on software development?
AG: There are quite a few ready-made board templates at monday.com. There is also something for the Service Desk. So you can start from a predefined template and then adapt it to your needs.
Examples of monday.com functionality that may be useful for handling requests:
In monday.com, each board can be presented in many different ways. One of them is a data entry form. Using the intuitive UI, you can configure the visibility of fields, labels, requirements, etc., and then share the form page with anyone who will be adding entries. Access to the form does not require a monday.com account.
The data entered on the form goes into a whiteboard where users can process it further.
Within each board, you can filter data as you wish and then save these filter settings as separate views. This way, you can create tabs, for example, for open and closed tickets, tickets assigned to the currently logged-in user, etc.
For each board, charts can be added as separate views. It is also possible to build dedicated dashboards that display a set of statistics. What we display depends solely on the data we gather. This can be, for example, the average handling time of a request, the distribution of request types, etc.
However, it is worth remembering that monday.com provides charts in the same way as Excel. This means that only what is visible can be visualized. There is no possibility to display, for example, the history of assigning tasks to people… unless we take care to prepare the data beforehand. This can be achieved by automatically saving tasks to a separate table (archive) under specified conditions and then building reports based on that data.
If the Service Desk team wants to work on a Kanban board then no problem. In the same way, tasks can be displayed on a calendar, Gantt chart, or timeline.
The tasks can even be represented by a llama farm, which represents the tasks and their status. The team thus has an extra motivation to solve the submissions, as every closed ticket is food for the four-legged friends.
Many of the automation that you mentioned in Jira needs to be set up manually in monday.com. It takes some time, but at the same time, it opens up broad possibilities. For example, you can configure it so that:
- Requests of a certain type are automatically assigned to a specific group of users.
- Requests of a certain type have a specific response time set (according to SLA).
- Time tracking for fixing a request starts automatically after the request is created and stops after changing the status to “Done”.
Automation can also be used to create tasks for development. For example, by marking a request as “requiring programming work”, monday.com will create a task on the board for programmers and link it to the service desk request.
Assigning tasks according to time zones will not be as simple and automatic, but with a bit of creativity, something can be figured out here as well.
Of course, it is possible to set up various notifications and also integrate monday.com with Slack or Teams to receive notifications there.
When it comes to messengers, thanks to the free add-on for Teams, you can use the monday.com board in a tab in Teams, so the team doesn’t have to switch to monday.com at all to handle tickets.
Reporting – Jira
KN: One of the most important modules in Jira is the reporting module, which enables users to view and analyze data from projects. Reports can be generated both in relation to ongoing projects, as well as in relation to customer service quality through the Service Desk module.
In Jira, there are numerous reporting options, and all reports can be composed on one or multiple dashboards. This is a very helpful functionality, as it allows users to get an overview of what is happening in multiple projects at a glance if such a dashboard is composed.
Reports are highly configurable, making it very easy to configure them according to one’s own needs. Among other things, one can select the time frame from which data should be reported, projects, task types, and even Jira users.
If someone needs to dive even deeper into data analysis, Jira offers integration with the easyBI module, where selected data from the project or projects is loaded, allowing for a “deeper” analysis of what is happening in the projects, how the workflow looks like, and where blockers appear in the workflow.
One of the more interesting options is the possibility of obtaining information about performance in projects. By performance, we mean indicators that allow us to determine the number of tasks performed within a specified time frame, the average time to complete a task, the average time a task remains in a particular stage of completion, and the percentage of project completion.
Furthermore, the reporting tool in Jira allows for identifying trends in the completion of project tasks. This is a very interesting functionality for project managers, whose task is to constantly monitor risks associated with the timely delivery of the project product to the customer. With trends, the project manager receives a very useful tool for predicting the completion time of individual tasks, and consequently, the delivery time of subsequent functionalities.
In all of this, it is important to remember the most important thing in data analysis: input data must be reliable and credible. No reporting tool or colorful charts will help us if we have low-quality data at the input.
What reporting capabilities does monday.com offer?
AG: Monday.com offers very extensive reporting capabilities.
Reports are available on tabs within the board, or as separate dashboards (just like in Jira). The difference is that in the context of a board, you can only analyze data from that one board (e.g. one project). Dashboards, on the other hand, allow you to combine information from multiple boards.
The limitation is as I already mentioned, we can only report on what we can see. If, for example, we are interested in the time tasks spend in a particular status, we need to make sure that we gather that data. Automation and creativity can be helpful in this regard.
The advantage, however, is the wide variety of charts and their interactivity.
In addition to standard charts, data tables, workload, and other statistics, you can also add less standard elements to the monday.com dashboard, such as:
- A YouTube video,
- Any document,
- A countdown timer (e.g. to release),
- A whiteboard – whether built-in or, for example, by linking to a Miro board.
Each chart is interactive and by clicking, monday.com will show appropriately filtered components (drill down).
There is a possibility to filter and save the state of the filters on the dashboards. So, for example, you can build a dashboard that will by default show the status of tasks to be completed today, etc.
An interesting option is also a full-text search. By typing “Artur”, for example, I will see on the dashboard the statuses of tasks to which I am assigned. And if I enter “Service Request” in the same field, I will see the statuses of “Service Request” type requests (as well as those that will have this text in the name or description).
End of part one of the article
I hope you enjoyed reading the first part of our article.
We are excited to announce the second part of our article comparing Jira and monday.com! In this installment, we will dive deeper into some key topics, including team management, tool customization, integration with other tools, and automation.
Don’t miss out on this valuable information!
Visit Arthur’s blog now and read the second part of the article Jira vs. monday.com