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Apr 20

Is Jira great for running business projects?

To understand why “Is Jira for business projects?” question is on the table, you need to reach to the roots of the Atlassian’s flagship. Jira was born in 2004 as a tracking tool for the booming IT industry. The young Jira was perfect in keeping track of hundreds or thousands of small issues, such as “too wide left margin”. How has Jira evolved and how good is the tool for running business projects today?

Jira for business projects

To run a business project unrelated to IT, you need Jira + some project management app that will help with visualization, such as BigPicture.

By “business projects” I mean the projects unrelated to IT industry, for example “developing a chain of franchise outlets for a new restaurant enterprise”, “launching a startup from scratch” or “shifting the image of a consumer brand”, or…, or…

Key advantage of Jira

Back in the early Aughts Atlassians founding fathers just noticed what Microsoft hadn’t: to manage dozens of people you need to have a web-based tool. This was the era of desktop apps or the golden years of MS Excel. Remember how you sent out files over e-mail back then? Jira changed that status quo. With Jira a team of 100 individuals could access, modify and see progress of a project at the same time.

How Jira evolved into business project tool?

While Jira remains extremely popular with software development companies, it is gaining popularity in advertising, banking, insurance, construction, industrial and consumer goods sectors. Is this a mere fashion or legitimate transition? Let’s look at reasoning for the latter:

Atlassian allowed for third-party apps

What Jira doesn’t have in terms of business project management are roadmaps, teams, resources, risks and the Gantt chart modules. Non-IT businesses tend to need these visualization and aggregation aids and Atlassian has realized that quickly. They soon launched Atlassian Marketplace with professional business project management addons for Jira from third-party developers. With time four of these apps have become mature leaders and BigPicture is one of them. I compare them here.

Just research the PPM, or Project Portfolio Management or project management key phrases with Atlassian Marketplace search engine, to learn who is in the top 4.

So what Jira for business projects basically means for a project manager or business analyst is: Jira + some project management app. What Jira doesn’t supply, the third party apps do.

Jira Cloud = close to zero initial cost

Let’s face it: enterprises in competitive sectors go to extremes in terms of money conservation. Jira can be cloud hosted, saving tons on servers and licenses which can be extremely cheap especially in “up to 100 licenses” tier. I often see the “Jira for startups” key phrase being searched for on Google. We are aware of a handful of relatively young non-IT undertakings that use Jira + BigPicture:

Check more examples of those using Jira for business projects.

Flat learning curve of Jira

Having “Jira for business project” in mind we’re talking about non-IT professionals, right? To use Jira all you basically need to know is how to use Chrome or Firefox. An average team member can master Jira in a few days. For more advanced users, such as project managers or business development managers, we often run one- or two-day BigPicture training courses.

For smart, self-dependent individuals we offer one-hour demo sessions.

Are you into Agile?

By adopting Jira for business projects you get an opportunity to become agile, if your company is not already. Although Jira supports the traditional concepts, such as Waterfall and Kanban, it is predominantly an agile tool, the technique that puts stress on “early detection of problems” and quick product or service development. Here is how Agile works:

Agile vs. traditional project management

Traditional/Waterfall vs. Agile project management. Teams can jump between Analyze – Design – Code – Test issues.



Today Jira suits the IT-unrelated users, such as those who start new businesses or develop the existing ones. With modern visualising tools, i.e. as roadmaps, teams, resources, risks and Gantt charts, Jira is great for social but not necessarily technical folks. Easy to learn, relatively cheap to purchase and keeping up to date with “Agile” trends, Jira has it all to be a project management tool of choice.


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.