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Nov 17

Jira AGILE App plugin addon – Explained

Jira agile plug-in

“Jira Agile addon”, “Jira agile plugin” and “Jira agile app” are terms often googled for. What is an agile app? Is there more than one Jira Agile app? What purpose do they serve? Should I capitalize “Agile”? Do plugin, addon, and app mean the same thing?

Jira Agile – what it used to be

Launched in 2002, Jira is a relatively young project management environment. Think of early Jira as a deficient tool. “Jira Agile” was an add-on, originally developed by a third party under the name of GreenHopper, to “patch” what the core Jira lacked. Then Atlassian acquired GreenHopper, rebranded it to Jira Agile, but still offered it as a plugin. This Jira Agile add-on by Atlassian supplied agile boards to make the Jira Core environment compatible with agile management concepts – Scrum and Kanban.

That original Jira Agile add-on was retired in 2016. Don’t write it off yet: (a) the functionalities have been integrated into Jira and sold under the Jira Software name but (b) you can still download the addon’s legacy versions, useful if you run older Jira.

Note: while the contemporary Jira Software integrates Agile boards and reports, Jira Core, without those Agile functionalities is still available from Atlassian. Which one to choose?

As of now, Jira Software is marketed by Atlassian, but it might be two times more expensive than Jira Core, depending on your user tier. If you intend to practice agile, hybrid, or waterfall project management, consider Jira Core + some complete project management plugin, such as BigPicture. You likely end up with a much lower bill.

Jira Agile – what it is now

As of 2018, Jira Agile app means just any Jira app (or plugin, or add-on) that caters to agile-driven teams. Search for “agile” on Atlassian Marketplace and you’ll discover dozens of boards, roadmaps, reports, retrospectives, and charts marked “Agile”…

Are some of them better than others?

We believe in complete solutions, like our BigPicture Agile app for Jira. How Agile is BigPicture according to customers’ reviews?

A heavy but useful plugin to cover the gap between traditional PM methodology and agile. The support is very reactive, you get every week updates, fixes, and improvements every week. Needs a lot of expertise, but it is worth it.
— DIGIT CITnet Support

(an excerpt from BigPicture, the Jira Agile addon reviews)

Is BigPicture Agile app equal to Jira Agile?

No. They have separable functionalities. Read another BigPicture review:

I like the flexibility of the tool and how all components are integrated. Customizable structure and ability to pull data from Agile is great. (…) Probably the best support team out of all plugins I tested
— M.H.

(an excerpt from BigPicture, the Jira Agile plugin reviews)

Note: BigPicture is great for both Jira Software and Jira Core. The difference between the two is explained above.

Table 1. Compare Jira Software (Jira Agile) to the agile functionalities of the BigPicture app

Jira software boards logo
Jira Software (formerly Jira Agile)
BigPicture for Jira logo
Agile app for Jira
  • The customizable Agile boards of Jira Software support Scrum and Kanban Agile methodologies
  • Agile reports
  • Release hub
  • SAFe compliant Roadmaps (~Agile for corporations)
  • the BP’s Gantt auto-syncs to Jira, on-the-fly (~Agile methodologies focus on quick feedback and prompt response)
  • same applies to BP’s Resource module (auto-synced with Jira, a project manager is able to react immediately)
  • BP integrates with Jira Software Boards (ex-Jira Agile) and is, therefore, Scrum and Kanban compliant
  • BP features a modern Wizard. Agile means “promptly”. You start the project within minutes. Note that the wizard is present in all other SoftwarePlant’s apps making them somewhat Agile, too
  • As for businesses that have used MS Excel/MS Project, the BigPicture lets them switch to Agile functioning due to the “Import from MS Project/Excel” feature
Predominantly for IT sector For all industries, e.g. IT, consumer & industrial goods, banking, commerce



App vs. plugin vs. add-on

They tend to be perceived equally. Up until recently Atlassian officially used plugin and add-on for third-party extensions for Jira. But in 2017 the Jira manufacturer declared app an official term for those third-party products although plug-in and addon (or add-on) seem to remain in circulation.

Should I capitalize “Agile”?

Yes, as long as you refer to the Agile Manifesto of 2001. We’ve observed that the majority of the aforementioned Jira addons’ authors use capitalized “Agile”, e.g. Jira Agile app, Jira Agile addon, Jira Agile plugin.

The bottom line

The Agile methodology (especially scrum; less so kanban) boils down to sound time allocation. Your teams try something for two weeks. Then they check for results. Depending on the outcome they take the next step forward or a step back. So, the ever true small steps method – this is Agile.

The “re-checking” in an Agile organization typically occurs every two weeks. Those less agile reiterate every month. We at SoftwarePlant use one-week sprints, meaning we revise the course every week. So we are more agile than others ;)

Initially popular within the IT industry, Agile has sprawled into banking, commerce, and consumer goods sectors. These large organizations veer towards SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework). SAFe deals with high-level issues that the “regular” Agile doesn’t touch, namely Program and Portfolio Management.

About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.