If you ever had to manage a project, you’d know the difficulties you’ve faced along the way. It’s a long route, and it can be a lonely route, but with a proper management tool to have your back, you’ll have most of your work cut out for you.
While Jira is great at helping you find bugs, manage your project, and optimize the workflow, it’s one of the platforms that doesn’t have a great mobile app.
If you’re working on the go, this can be a huge issue. The user interface comes with a slightly steep learning curve (which can confuse people), and integrations aren’t ideal and I don’t think you should even consider migration.
Therefore, Jira can seem like a double-edged sword, but if you take a bit of time and put your research skills into action, you’ll be able to come up with an even better solution.
Also, just recently, Jira stopped selling server licenses which increased their pricing of server renewals.
You’re lucky that there are plenty of options so keep on reading as I get into why open source is a great idea and what some of the best alternatives you should look into are.
You probably noticed that in this article, I’m focusing only on open source Jira alternatives. But is open source a good idea for something so complex such as project planning?
It is and here’s why!
Project management software isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of software. Every project manager uses a different system and will need different features.
Closed source software limits the modification, often keeps customization to a minimum, and can’t be copied by others.
However, open-source is a great alternative because it is a code that can be safely modified according to different needs.
That’s exactly why open source is a great fit for not only project managing, but also bug-finding tasks and optimization of the workflow.
Are you ready to find some of the best open-source Jira alternatives? The alternatives you see below won’t only match the features of Jira, but they will also provide greater benefit in at least one aspect of the tool.
Therefore, closely inspect each alternative as each one of them has great benefits to offer.
If you’re looking for an open-source Jira alternative, OpenProject is the most similar tool you can get that won’t disappoint.
Not only does it include similar features to Jira, but it also offers improvements in various aspects such as cloud and on-premises editions.
When it comes down to issue and task tracking, OpenProject allows you to use the work package list to create new issues.
The great thing right there is that you can adjust the workflow for every issue type you have.
For project planning, OpenProject relies on Gantt charts which work well for both single and multi-hierarchy projects. I’ve noticed that Gantt charts help make the charts more interactive so you get more options for viewing the aspects from the chart.
Lastly, time and cost tracking can be used for every project you run through OpenProject. One of the greatest features that is integrated into OpenProject is the ability to track staff costs on top of the project costs.
The greatest thing about OpenProject is that it is based on an open-source code with security in mind. This means that you will get regular updates and yet be flexible and independent when it comes down to the customization aspect.
You can test out OpenProject with a free trial or straight away purchase a self-managed version for $405/year. If you’d like to have it hosted by OpenProject, the year will only cost you $275 for one user.
Interesting Comparison: Hello Bonsai Vs Dubsado
Trac is the second-best open-source Jira alternative that’s being recognized all around the world for a couple of reasons.
It’s a lightweight alternative that provides plenty of customization and adjustability. I should also mention that Trac is used by some of the world’s largest companies such as WordPress, Django, and WebKit.
Therefore, an open-source project management tool isn’t something you should be afraid of. If it’s manufactured by a reputable company, you’re most likely getting a better deal than settling for a closed-source project management software.
Trac excels the best at tracking simple projects and managing simple tasks so it’s not ideal for complex operations. However, the great benefit to this is the third-party plugin integration that allows you to get used to Trac quickly and yet have everything you need right in one interface.
Trac’s interface wasn’t released recently, but it’s not hard to use it and to find your way around it. In comparison with Jira, Trac offers a smoother learning curve with plenty of ways to integrate options that you might have been missing in Jira.
Even though Trac doesn’t have a free version, you can try out Trac with a free trial. When it comes down to the pricing, Trac doesn’t disclose that publicly and if you like the software enough, you’ll have to get in touch with their sales team to discuss a custom price for your business.
Also Read: Hello Bonsai Alternatives
When you’re looking for a visual approach that will keep your projects well-distributed across your team, LeanKit is the right choice.
It’s an open-source platform that makes project management simple and effortless by making your projects and tasks visual.
The board is very simple to use and it looks very attractive in comparison to Jira. I should also mention that the board is based on the Kanban type of board which is a favorite that’s often featured in other project management tools.
One of the greatest LeanKit features is integrated collaboration but also the ability to access your LeanKit board across multiple platforms (iOS and Android apps).
The only downside to LeanKit is that this platform isn’t ideal at finding bugs and solving issues. It’s mainly focused on project management, planning, and collaboration.
But if that’s exactly what you need to boost your team’s productivity and create a smooth workflow, LeanKit is a great option.
You can try out LeanKit using a free trial that lasts for 30 days. After that, you can get LeanKit for as low as $20/month. However, keep in mind that LeanKit only bills annually so it can be an investment.
Worth Reading: Best Dubsado Alternatives
If you’re looking for a Jira alternative that’s ideal for managing projects and a team across different sectors, Redmine is the right open-source tool for the job.
Redmine is one of the most popular open-source project management tools with over 2 million users (and still increasing) around the world.
Redmine can provide one thing Jira can’t, which is customization. Not only is Redmine’s interface highly customizable, but it’s also very easy to get used to and even to adjust it to your industry or needs.
In comparison to Jira, Redmine offers good features in terms of projects, tasks, and communication.
However, Redmine’s biggest strength is the cloud which is a cost-effective solution that’s very easy to set up, yet very secure for open-source software.
On top of that, you will also get a personal account manager if you opt-in for an Enterprise account.
However, keep in mind that you can also run your Redmine version on your hosting if you’re not a big fan of shared cloud hostings provided by companies such as Redmine.
I believe that Redmine became extremely popular for two reasons. A great number of customizations you can apply directly to the interface, but also its affordability.
Even though it’s not the prettiest project management software on the market, Redmine is recognized for strengths that even outrank Jira in some aspects.
However, most users that are looking for an open-source Jira alternative will love the connection between the platform and the database which is simple to set up and easy to use.
Redmine is free to use but keep in mind that some plugins might cost. However, this is a pretty great deal, considering the standard price of Jira.
When you have project management and issue tracking in place, yet you think you’re lacking in the bug tracking and resolving field, Bugzilla is exactly what you might need.
It might not be an all-in-one tool that can replace Jira, but it’s an open-source offered by the same team that produced the Firefox browser.
Bugzilla has decent search capabilities with extended email notification options you can use. The database is where the Bugzilla “shines” as it provides wide project customizations and installations, custom fields, and plenty of workflows you can adapt to.
Another area where Bugzilla excels is bug tracking with a decent search capability.
However, the downside of Bugzilla is the lack of communication space which might make Bugzilla the least suitable alternative for larger teams. If you’re working within a smaller team and you especially require the features that Bugzilla excels at, this is still a great open-source alternative that comes from a very well-known company.
On top of that, Bugzilla also doesn’t have project management features as good as some of the newer software, but it’s still a pretty decent choice if bugs are a threat to your project planning and management.
Bugzilla is free and that’s why it’s a great open-source alternative. It makes a great addition to other Jira open-source alternatives as it has an incredible way of catching bugs which still makes it a great choice.
Taiga is a very strong open-source competitor that combines very comprehensive project management with a simple-to-use interface.
This Jira alternative is built for Agile project management by offering a couple of different ways to manage your projects. Some of the most popular ways to manage your projects in Taiga are based on Kanban, Scrumban, and Scrum methodology.
This incredible project management feature is combined with an attractive interface that’s not only pretty, but it’s also easy to use.
Along with project management, Taiga also excels at communication as it has built-in team communication features that will keep everyone on the team on the same page.
With powerful graphic insights, you’ll have great transparency into the projects and the workflow.
It’s very easy to set up Taiga from scratch which is another reason many people find it to be a great alternative to Jira.
Even though it’s open-source software, it’s well-built, secure, independent, and most importantly, very stable with decent security.
You can try Taiga for free for the first 30 days. After that, you can choose one of the Taiga pricing plans:
- Free – up to 3 members and 1 private project
- Premium – $5/per user/per month – unlimited members, projects, and 10GB of storage per project
- On-Premise – self-hosted or managed – price on request
A free plan is ideal for individuals or smaller teams as it’s limited to 300MB of space per project. However, bigger teams will have to bear the costs of the Premium plan or even request the custom price or on-premise version.
MantisBT is one of the most versatile Jira alternatives that will be more than needed for an average team.
It’s ideal for a smaller team as MantisBT allows you to track projects and have different access levels organized. This way, you will still get to keep your company’s hierarchy within the software without having important information available to lower ranks.
On top of that, MantisBT features time tracking so you can know exactly how much time your employees spend working inside the MantisBT, and it even features anonymous access so you can always delegate less important tasks to lower ranks in your company without requiring them to have an account.
MantisBT is packed with useful features such as source control integration, active directory integration, the ability to categorize issues, and even set relations between the issues.
However, if you require more features, this is where MantisBT excels over Jira. MantisBT can integrate well with third-party add-ons that help expand some of the features.
On the downside, MantisBT can be a bit complicated to install and setup, but it’s definitely worth the features that seem to be the biggest advantage over Jira.
Another thing I should mention is that MantisBT seems to be overly focused on issues, with relatively few features available for project planning and communication.
On the bright side, MantisBT is a free open-source alternative that can save you a lot of money in the long run, as long as it fits your needs.
When you’re looking for the right Jira alternative, GitLab is probably the best option. Why?
It’s the ultimate Jira alternative that’s based on the web. This means that there’s no installation required and you can use it directly on the web.
GitLab features some of the most known features you can find in Jira, but it also expands the features and functionality by providing description templates, milestones, group issue boards, and an issue board with a label list that’s configurable.
On top of that, GitLab can also help you to add multiple issues to project issue boards (once you create them and customize them to your needs), but it can even handle import and export requirements.
Therefore, GitLab is focusing on improving the workflow, but also creating features that will combine the most popular Jira features so that they are available right within one interface.
With that being said, you won’t ever regret switching to GitLab because it doesn’t have a feature you’ve used in Jira. Instead, you’ll love the new features that are introduced in the workflow to improve communication, project and issue tracking, and also usability.
GitLab offers a free trial version, but you can also upgrade to one of the following pricing plans:
- Premium – $19/user/month
- Ultimate – $99/user/month
If you’re a fan of Kanban board applications as they bring a clean visual aspect that increases planning and organizational skills, you’ll love Wekan.
Wekan was formerly known as LibreBoard, and since they reintroduced themselves as Wekan, they focused on project planning in the best possible way which puts them as a very serious competitor to Jira’s project planning capability.
While Jira might still have a small advantage over Wekan when it comes down to issue tracking, if you’re struggling with project planning, Wekan is probably the best option.
You can create and keep track of multiple boards, making some of them public and others private. Within each board, you’ll be able to create projects and tasks that you can assign within each project.
By having the ability to create as many users as you’d like, you can also assign users to assignments in the projects you’ve previously created.
This approach will help everyone on the team know their role, but also give you a clear insight into the project planning flow and performance of your whole team.
The whole board works in a drag and drop way and this doesn’t only make planning super easy, but it also improves communication.
Within each board, you can have open communication and feature members of the team that will be able to filter out all notifications to only their notifications (which improves their efficiency).
Since Wekan is an open-source tool, it’s free to use.
The last but not least important Jira alternative is Kanboard. If you’re all-in on project management and don’t need issue or bug tracking capability, Kanboard is a great choice to consider.
Kanboard is a very visual yet simple board project management tool that is based on the famous Kanban system.
If you think that Jira has agile project management, you will love the ability to have full control over your projects.
Not only does visualization help improve efficiency and progress, but by using Kanboard, you can also put limits on your work in progress so you can focus on the goals.
Getting busy without looking at the bigger picture is what happens to even the best companies out there.
However, that’s where Kanboard comes into play. With the help of its minimalistic yet super-easy interface, you get to drag and drop your tasks, create various projects, and assign tasks under the projects.
This way, you can keep an eye on everything you’ve got going on in a simple Kanban-type dashboard.
The great strength of Kanboard is that you can integrate email communication and there are also plenty of other plugins to expand the functionality according to your needs.
Since Kanboard is an open-source app, it’s free for use as long as you can host it yourself. Even though it doesn’t have an app that suits more than one platform, you can still get the most out of it for free on your desktop computer.
Therefore, the biggest advantage of Kanboard over Jira is the increase in functionality and project planning/management as it just offers way more customizable features.
Even though there are plenty of Jira alternatives on the market, finding the right alternative for your needs can still be tricky.
Each one of these alternatives excels in at least one area and it’s super important that you know your needs and demands.
By creating a list of what you like and dislike the most about Jira, you can narrow the choice to one or two alternatives.
Keep in mind that most of these alternatives are free to use so don’t hesitate to give them a try!
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.