Azure DevOps vs Jira

Developers across the globe use several managing and tracking tools to keep a check on their projects. Azure DevOps and Jira are one of the most popular and easy to use DevOps tools that enable the Development to plan and collaborate efficiently and effectively. Though both the tools can help organisations in scaling their development team, Azure DevOps and Jira have got some differences. So, in this article, you will learn the differences between two, which will help you choose the one more impactful for you.

What is Azure DevOps?

Microsoft Azure DevOps, formerly known as Visual Studio Team Service (VSTS) is a software that utilises several Agile Methodologies to improve the process of planning, developing, and delivering software. 

Azure DevOps provides its users with a ready-made platform to turn their code into an application. The developers have access to so many Agile tools that help in managing tests, versioning code, and deploying projects.

The tool is specifically known for its 5 different services that may or may not be used individually. 

  • Azure Boards – used by cross-functional teams for planning, tracking, and discussing the work
  • Azure Repos – managing the code with the help of version control tools
  • Azure Pipelines – used to build and test codes automatically
  • Azure Test Plans – used to provide test management solutions for user acceptance testing.
  • Azure Artifacts – used to install and publish packages in Azure DevOps.

After knowing the basics of Azure DevOps, it is crucial to know the basics of Jira before checking out the differences between the two tools. 

What is Jira?

Jira was originally created as a tool to track bugs and issues but has turned out to be a widely used project management tool. The tool enables its users to track project growth and development. Jira is at times chosen over Azure DevOps for two simple reasons: scalability and deep customization. 

Developed by Atlassian, Jira supports all Agile Methodologies along with being extremely flexible for diverse processes and environments. The tool also enables you to use agile boards, backlogs, roadmaps, add-ons, and integrations to plan and track software development projects.

Now, that you know the basics of both, Azure DevOps and Jira, it is the right time to learn about the differences between the two. 

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Azure DevOps vs Jira

Azure DevOps and Jira definitely have a lot in common and are used by a lot of companies worldwide. It must be understood that even though they are extremely powerful and may be used for the same purpose, they have a lot of differences too. 

Let’s have a look at the differences between Azure DevOps and Jira based on the following: 

Cloud Service

Cloud Service or Services refer to a wide variety of services that could be provided to an organisation over the internet. So, for that purpose, Azure DevOps uses Microsoft Azure services, whereas, Jira uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) as their cloud service provider in several regions of the world.

Customizable Dashboards

A Customizable Dashboard refers to a single screen that is used by a tool or software to display all the relevant metrics. All the DevOps services, including Azure DevOps and Jira, can utilise this feature and display the most relevant data on the screen. For this purpose, Azure DevOps uses tools popularly known as “widgets”, whereas the tools used by Jira are called “gadgets.” 

Product road mapping

Product road mapping can be one of the decisive features for you to choose Jira over Azure DevOps. Azure DevOps has recently added Product road mapping to its features which is not that well integrated. To access Product road mapping in Azure DevOps, you will need separate applications like Epic Timeline and Feature Timeline, which are available as a plugin via the Microsoft Marketplace. Whereas, Jira has had Product road mapping for a very long time. Jira’s inbuilt road mapping is well developed and optimised. 

Traceability

Now, if Traceability is one of the things you are looking for, Azure DevOps must be your pick. Azure DevOps provides traceability from the beginning of the Software Development process to the end, the deployment process. Whereas Jira doesn’t provide that great traceability. Although you can use GitHub to relate commits, pull requests and other changes, you will never know if the task is completed with each deployment.

Search Capabilities

Another thing that makes Jira stand out is its Search Capabilities. Azure DevOps is lagging far behind when it comes to Search capabilities as it provides no advanced capabilities like Jira. Whereas Jira comes with amazingly advanced search capabilities which enable you to find issues within the blink of your eye. Jira Query Language(JQL) enables the user to find bugs quickly and not just that, finding an issue with simple text is extremely easy. To top it all up, in Jira the results of your searches are not just saved, but they are emailed too.

Purpose

Azure DevOps and Jira both are widely used by organisations today. So, talking just in reference to the purpose, Azure DevOps is used by companies to enable amazing collaboration between the Development team and Operations team. In simpler words, if someone is choosing Azure DevOps their entire focus is on the Software Development Lifecycle. Whereas, if you want the focus to be on agile reporting, problem tracking, and implementing other agile methodologies, Jira must be your pick. 

Now, that you have covered the main topic and understood the contrast between Azure DevOps and Jira, let’s explore their pros and cons one after the other. 

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Features of Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps has a lot of amazing features if someone wants to build a software product from scratch. Software Developers can use these features to manage code, test their applications, and deploy the same using the CI/CD pipeline.

Some of the main features of Azure DevOps are:

1. Easy project management

Azure DevOps provides interactive and customised tools which make it easy for the Software Development teams to manage their projects. 

2. Azure Pipelines

The feature of Azure Pipelines enables Azure DevOps to automate the building and testing of software, i.e. enabling Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, by creating workflows. 

3. Customized dashboards

The tool enables different teams to create their customised dashboards as per their requirements. This helps them in agile planning, progress tracking, work visualization, and reporting. 

4. Integration

Using Azure DevOps, the users can collaborate with external stakeholders by integrating with several external applications like GitHub and JIRA.

5. Pipeline Templates

The tool provides pipeline templates which can be executed by Azure cloud-hosted agents or local hosted agents. Also, the users can customize these templates according to their requirements in the form of YAML templates. 

6. Azure Test Plans

Another powerful tool is Azure Test Plans which helps in improving the overall quality of the project by enabling end-to-end testing. 

Features of Jira

Jira has numerous outstanding features if someone wants to plan and track all their software development projects. The tool provides a lot of useful features to manage these projects in complex scenarios like agile boards, backlogs, roadmaps, integrations etc. 

Some of the main features of Jira are:

1. Agile Development

Jira is one of the finest tools when it comes to Agile Development as it offers the utilisation of all the Scrum and Kanban board features. When you start your project, you can choose your project type from Scrum or Kanban.

2. Project Tracking

Here the users can track their software projects at any given point. JQL enables you to track some specific projects by using filters or some specific issues.

3. Mobile Application

Using Jira, you won’t be limited to a desktop or an on-premise system, you can use the native mobile application. This makes the tool more preferred by remote teams who are working from diverse locations. 

4. Reporting

The data is delivered by Jira in form of reports which helps in commenting on the actual situation. Not just that, these reports provide a lot of statistical data regarding the project, throughout the process. Some of the most popular reports provided by Jira include - Version Report, Resolved vs. Created Issues Report, Pie Chart Report, Average Age Report, Velocity Chart, Sprint Report, etc

5. Product Integration

Jira provides many feature integrations which make software development even more impactful and easier. Some of the popular Jira Integrations currently include Salesforce Sales Cloud, Atlassian Confluence, GitHub, Service Desk, Zendesk, etc.

6. Jira Roadmaps

The tool provides roadmaps which can be utilised by developers or users to keep track of the project. These roadmaps enable the users to handle and visualise the project growth, along with checking the schedule for bug fixing.

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Pros and Cons of Azure DevOps vs Jira

Pros and Cons of Azure DevOps

Pros:
Easy to use

Azure DevOps is an extremely simple tool for any beginner to start with. When it comes to designing and integration visualisation, the classic editor offers an easy Graphic User Interface (GUI). There are two features of defining a pipeline: one is using this classic editor while the second one is YAML, in which the same steps can be defined. 

Flexible

Another reason which makes Azure DevOps stand out is the flexibility that comes with it. All the services provided by the tool can not just be used independently but they can also be integrated with a lot of already existing tools in the organisation. 

Platform Independent

Microsoft Azure DevOps is a platform-independent tool that can work with any platform or Operating System (Windows, Linux, macOS) and language (.Net, PHP, Java, C, C++, Python, etc). 

Rapid Features Upgrades

Microsoft has already published a roadmap for Azure DevOps, and along with that several new features are being added to the tool rapidly. There are several new features that are launched in short spans, usually three weeks.

Access to other development services.

Azure DevOps provides numerous features like project management, version control, automated builds, release management, reporting, and testing. The tool will also enable you to access development services in Microsoft Cloud, like Office 365 etc that not only enable collaboration among teams but also the configuration of processes for efficient working.

Access from anywhere

Azure DevOps is what you need to provide your teams with a secure and safe environment if they work remotely or from some different location. The tool will help teams to work with amazing flexibility and collaborate wherever and whenever needed.

Cons:
Integration of non-Microsoft Platforms

One of the prominent disadvantages of using Azure DevOps is that it cannot be integrated with non-Microsoft Platforms which limits its acceptability.

Azure Pipeline

Azure DevOps has a simple and straightforward workflow, i.e. there are no if-else or switch-case constructions allowed in Azure DevOps, which makes the development of workflows difficult. 

Pros and Cons of Jira

Pros
Agile Project Management

Using Jira, agile teams can use Kanban and Scrum with the agile boards. This will enable the Kanban team to track their workflow and monitor all the progress to efficiently and effectively complete the project. Similarly, for the Scrum team, it becomes easier to break huge chunks of work into sprints, focus on them and complete them faster.  

Organization Alignment

Jira roadmaps are the key to a great alignment among teams. Keeping in mind the organization’s goal, the teams can collaboratively come up with an effective way of completing tasks. These roadmaps will enable the team members to keep a track of the project's progress and keep an eye on dependencies on different team members. 

Reports and Insights

There are ready-to-use dashboards provided by Jira that help in having up-to-date information on whatever is going on. It helps teams to deliver projects while keeping in mind the time boundations. There are backlog insights which help teams in planning their sprints to deliver something particular to the customer. 

Integrations

The capabilities of Jira can be extended with a lot of applications. It is up to the team and team members to choose a tool of their choice. There are tools that help teams in their different nature of work like there are specific tools for designers, developers and many more, helping teams to always come out with flying colours. 

Cons
Difficult Setup

The initial set-up of the tool is difficult making the overall learning curve for users challenging. If you or your team are looking for something that simply works and helps you as soon as it is out of the box, then Jira with its vast configuration options isn’t for you. 

Missing Communication Tool

Though there is a process of receiving email notifications in case of issues, there is no quick way of sending messages from Jira itself. If you wish to solve this problem, you must download some chatting application or some plugin.

Suite of Products

There are a lot of products in the Jira Suite which are often confusing for the user. For development teams there is Jira Software, for business teams, there is Jira Work Management, for service management there is Jira Service Management, and there are many more. 

Limited Project Management

No matter how amazing Jira is when it comes to tracking issues or bugs, when it comes to project management there are a lot of limitations. The tool lacks features that are required for several project management processes like managing costs, managing risks etc. 

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Conclusion

By now, you would know why Azure DevOps and Jira are one of the most widely used Software Development Platforms. In the article, you began with learning the basics of the two tools and how they help organisations in their respective segments of work. Then you went in to check the comparison between Azure DevOps and Jira based on several categories like Cloud service, Customizable dashboards, and Product road mapping. As a part of that comparison, you also had a look at the pros and cons of the two popular tools, one after the other.Once you were well versed with their pros and cons and how they are different, you went on to learn about their features. You had a look at the popular features of both, Azure DevOps and Jira. Post the features you were all set to decide which tool is better suited to your requirements.

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Manikanth
Manikanth
Research Analyst
As a Senior Writer for HKR Trainings, Sai Manikanth has a great understanding of today’s data-driven environment, which includes key aspects such as Business Intelligence and data management. He manages the task of creating great content in the areas of Digital Marketing, Content Management, Project Management & Methodologies, Product Lifecycle Management Tools. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Both Jira and Azure DevOps are one of the most prominently used Software Development Platforms. To answer “which one is better”, that solely depends on the nature of the work. If you are looking for a complete set of software development tools then Azure DevOps is all you need, but if you are looking for a platform that can help your team to manage your project then you should go with Jira.

No, Jira is not a part of Azure DevOps. Microsoft Azure’s Azure DevOps is a tool used to implement the DevOps lifecycle in organisations. Whereas Atlassian’s Jira is used by developers to manage their projects. 

Azure DevOps is used by organisations to manage all the work of a software development team. The tasks from planning to collaborating on code development, and finally deploying the application can be collaboratively managed with Azure DevOps. 

When it comes to DevOps, you don’t need to know a lot of coding, the basics of some programming languages would do. Similarly, for Azure DevOps, you must be familiar with tools that are important for managing the overall software development life cycle. 

Since Azure DevOps is a Software as a service (SaaS) platform used for end-to-end DevOps toolchain for the development and deployment of software, it is one of the most sought-after technologies today. With the ever-rising demand for Cloud and DevOps and the ease with which the tool can be learnt, it is definitely a good choice to learn Azure DevOps.