Pivotal Tracker vs. JIRA

Why a steady workflow leads to more productive teams


Pivotal Tracker is the world’s most popular tool for agile project management, created to help modern software teams keep moving forward with minimal fuss. Atlassian’s JIRA is a general purpose issue-tracking tool designed to be flexible. JIRA believes every team has a unique process for shipping software and that they can match the way a team works.

To be sure, one tool that can do anything is seductive on the surface. However, after each individual team customizes the tool in their own way, your organization is left with several different tools that happen to come from one vendor. We believe this approach comes with inherent risks:

  • The quality of the workflows will vary from team to team;

  • Individual workflows will grow in complexity over time;

  • That complexity will hinder use, reducing the efficacy of the tool, and will make implementing changes to the workflow complex;

  • At the company level, this complexity means that cross-team communication becomes complicated; and

  • Significant resources will be needed to manage these workflows.
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Consistency is key

Twenty-five years’ of experience as a software consultancy working on thousands of projects has led us to appreciate the value of teams using a consistent and well-defined process. Tracker is a precision instrument, optimized for cross-functional agile development teams. It’s designed to facilitate modern software practices and drive the work so managers don’t need to hassle people to update tasks. We believe agile teams only need three things from a project management tool in order to thrive:

  • Visibility and transparency: A single source of truth for their project helps them focus on doing what’s most important for the business.

  • Structure: Just the right amount of structure and a shared workflow for the whole team to be as productive as possible.

  • Simplicity: Make it easy and fun to use for the entire team—productive teams are happy teams.

“Tracker takes the sting out of software project management. It is simple, fun to use, and does exactly what I need it to, no more, no less.”

—Brandon, Senior Developer

What people love about Tracker

  • Ease of use: A single-page, drag-and-drop UI makes prioritization and collaboration intuitive, and helps new users get to work on projects in minutes.

  • Workflow that works: Tracker’s built-in workflow functions the same way for everyone, eliminating confusion, ensuring productivity, and allowing for aggregate productivity data across projects.

  • Project transparency: A shared, clear view of your entire team’s work means everyone has a real-time, single source of truth.

  • Automatic planning: When you let Tracker do the planning, release markers are automatically generated based on team estimates and past progress so you can see when work will be completed.

  • Developer love: Developers like that Tracker lets them see what they need to do next, and helps them do it without getting in the way.

  • Mobile apps: Full-featured, native iOS (with over 500 five-star reviews) and Android apps keep on-the-go members informed.

“Pivotal Tracker is a real slick force multiplier that gets out of the way just enough to give our distributed team a powerful platform to plan, execute, monitor, and discuss all aspects of our development, large and small.”

—Dan, CEO


Moving to Tracker from JIRA is easier than you might think

The difference between Pivotal Tracker and tools like JIRA is fundamentally a philosophical one. But if your team is ready to work more efficiently with a workflow that ensures predictability, there are several ways you can move from JIRA to Tracker. It’s possible to migrate your data over and move all your information, lock, stock, and barrel—or you may decide to have Tracker and JIRA work hand-in-hand for now.

Migrate your data following these instructions, or use an integration tool like Kovair or Zapier.

Let us help

Tell us where JIRA serves you well, and we’ll help you get the same benefit. Tracker manages releases, coordinates multiple projects, and handles high-level reporting differently than JIRA, so we can decrease your ramp-up time with some tips and pointers. We pride ourselves on helping you make the most of Tracker. Get in touch via email or follow us on Twitter for information about updates and webinars.