Time Tracking

5 Best JIRA Alternatives That Make Time Tracking Less Complicated

May 17, 2023
IN THIS BLOG

When it comes to project management, time is the most critical indicator for performance evaluation and accurate planning. You can identify bottlenecks or issues that are slowing progress by tracking the time spent on each task. 

JIRA is one of the most widely used agile project management tools for this purpose.

Initially a bug-tracking software, it also supports remote time-tracking, allowing team members to log the time spent on tasks. Logging can be done manually or automatically with the help of a time-tracking plugin.

JIRA also allows you to create workflows that help you keep track of how your projects and tasks are progressing.

So why look for alternatives? 

For all that it offers, JIRA can be expensive

Additionally, it has an outdated interface, and some of its features can easily become counterproductive due to the complicated integration process.

In other words, JIRA needs to catch up with its cost-effective alternatives.

Let’s look at some of its popular features and their limitations.

Customizable: While JIRA's customization options are a pro, they can also be a con. Creating workflows that are too complex or unnecessary custom fields is possible, leading to confusion and time waste.

Complexity: JIRA can be complex to set up and use, especially for teams new to agile methodologies.

Interface: Some users need help navigating JIRA's interface, finding it challenging and cluttered.

Integration: JIRA does not have an in-built time tracking feature, though it can integrate with many other tools.

Agile Methodologies: JIRA is designed to support agile methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban, making it a popular choice for software development and engineering teams.

Cost: JIRA offers no free plan or trial, and pricing can be a barrier for smaller teams or organizations.

Learning Curve: JIRA has a steep learning curve, especially for non-technical team members.

After all, the purpose of a smart time-tracking app is to make your project planning tasks easier, not more complex.

So here are some free agile tools like JIRA that could be a better option for you:

1. ClickUp

One of the high-rated tools on the market, ClickUp's time tracking feature allows you to generate reports, including notes, billable time, and timesheets for each entry. 

This feature is handy for freelancers, remote workers, and teams who want to bill their clients by accurately monitoring their productivity.

ClickUp offers a variety of customizations, including the ability to set different billing rates for different tasks or clients and export data to other applications. You can set different point values for each task through formula fields, making it easier to measure scrum points for each sprint.

It can be integrated with third-party time tracking tools, giving you flexibility in how you manage your workflow. It has a Free Forever plan for personal use, while mid-sized teams are charged $12/member/month.

Limitations

  • It can be complicated to set up and navigate.
  • The free version has only 100MB of storage.
  • It has a steep learning curve.

2. Asana

Asana is a popular project management software and one of the earliest tools in the market with time-tracking support. 

For the same reason, its layout has the edge of being familiar to many users compared to JIRA’s overwhelming interface. 

You can track the time spent on each task and manage your workload to meet your deadlines. One of the advantages of Asana's time tracking feature is its integration with the rest of the Asana platform. It means that users can seamlessly switch between tracking their time and managing their tasks without having to switch between different applications. 

It allows users to generate detailed time reports, which can help bill clients or track project progress. You can also create visual plans to get a quick overview of every milestone.

It has a free plan, and the Premium starts at $10.99 per user/month, billed monthly.

Limitations

  • It can be limited in terms of customization.
  • Users cannot set different billing rates for different tasks or clients.
  • The time tracking feature can be clunky, requiring users to manually start and stop timers for each task. 
  • Needs integration with external apps for time tracking.

3. Trello

While Trello does not have a built-in time-tracking feature, several third-party tools can integrate with Trello to provide time-tracking capabilities. 

You can choose tools like Trello Time and Everhour, and customize them to suit your specific needs.

Trello Time allows users to start and stop timers for each task, and it also provides project reports and the ability to export data to other applications. Everhour offers more advanced features like automatic time tracking and setting billing rates for different clients or tasks.

You have the flexibility to create multiple boards for various projects, each with its own set of lists and cards. The cards can be assigned to specific team members, allowing streamlined task management and accountability.

Trello also allows you to invite users to collaborate on boards with varying accessibility, depending on their roles and responsibilities. 

Limitations

  • The lack of an in-built time-tracking feature can be a disadvantage.
  • It doesn’t offer the same level of customization as a dedicated time-tracking software like timegram.
  • Trello requires manual entry of time spent on each card or task, which is time-consuming and can lead to inaccuracies. 
Project management is time management!

4. ProofHub

ProofHub offers an easy-to-use interface, with features similar to those offered by JIRA. 

It provides these services at a flat rate which means it is cheaper than JIRA for large teams. 

It also has a chat option that makes workplace communication much quicker and easier than conventional emails. Real-time communication with clients and team members improves organizational workflow.

You can assign tasks to multiple team members and get an overview of each task through Kanban boards. Gantt charts can help you plan and schedule deadlines and milestones to manage and complete your tasks.

It is supported by iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows, and you can add multiple layers to your layout by integrating it with Google Calendar, Dropbox, Google Drive, and other extensions.

Limitations

  • It is less expensive than JIRA but has no free plan.
  • The Essential plan is $50 per user/month, billed annually.
  • You must upgrade to Ultimate Control at $99/month for detailed activity logs and reports.
  • Limited customizations as compared to some other JIRA alternatives.

5. Wrike

Wrike is a project management tool that provides in-built templates for easy workflow and brings all your tasks to one place to remove complexity. 

The templates feature saves a lot of time while setting up new projects.

It supports time tracking by a timer or manually adding a time log entry.

Gantt charts help visualize progress and keep your team in the loop. It also offers a mobile app, which allows team members to stay updated on their tasks and projects while on the go. The customizable workflows and automation make a robust set of tools that can significantly impact streamlining projects.

Wrike has a free Basic plan, and the Professional one starts at $9.80 per user/month. 

Limitations

  • For the time tracking feature, you must upgrade to the Business plan (24.80 per user/month)
  • It has a steep learning curve
  • The user interface is not very intuitive
  • Custom item types need further development.

6. timegram

timegram is a non-invasive time tracking and project management tool that provides insights into individual, team, and project performances. 

You can achieve the maximum bandwidth of your team by setting KPIs and getting accurate insights into how your employees perform. 

With its beautifully intuitive visual dashboard, you can manage your hybrid or remote teams efficiently - all the information you need is right in front of you. 

It is the only zero-surveillance time-tracking tool that prioritizes your team's privacy while ensuring everyone’s efforts are directed toward delivering their best work.

In remote teams, employees are inclined to focus on completing shift hours rather than their output. This approach is flawed because more hours don’t necessarily mean more work. timegram provides a solution to this by changing the way you monitor your employees.

A star feature that makes it the best alternative to JIRA is Highlights App. - it replaces oversight with insight.

The Highlights app captures the time spent on all desktop and online applications, and then neatly organizes the entire activity into app blocks. 

Your team members have the freedom to review and log only the productive activities while keeping everything else private. 

It also helps you assign tasks to your team based on their available capacity and ensure balanced workloads. 

By staying clear of features like screenshotting, keystroke logging, and webcam shots, timegram empowers your workforce by creating an environment where your employees have your complete trust, thereby building a culture of accountability. They can focus on performing value-adding tasks and deliverables.

It’s a win-win situation both for the managers and the employees.

In short, timegram is an excellent JIRA alternative for small and medium businesses and freelance users.

Key Features

  • timegram believes in performance visibility without privacy invasion
  • Employee-friendly and simple UI to reduce onboarding times
  • Your team can search and select Highlights individually and choose to present their most productive hours to the managers 
  • Gives you a clear view of estimated time vs. actual capacities through robust progress reports
  • Offers third-party tool integrations to enhance its management features
  • Provides automated and effortless time tracking.
  • A zero-surveillance policy provides your team members their right to privacy 
  • It has a free plan for individuals

Core Values

timegram’s core values are driven by Employ Productivity Theory which is based on the Reinforcement Theory by Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner. It suggests that rewarding employees for positive attributes motivate them to perform better and set higher goals, enhancing their productivity.                                      

How employers can support the transforming nature of employees

timegram focuses on the results delivered and measures employee performance through productivity KPIs such as capacity per employee, task completion rate, absenteeism rate, and capacity utilization rate.

Summing it Up

Since many teams work remotely today, time tracking has become the most crucial component of performance evaluation and project management.   

Having said that, a balance between monitoring productivity and respecting privacy is essential for sustaining employee trust in modern workplaces, which is one of the keys to optimal productivity. 

timegram stands out for its straightforward, employee-first value proposition for time tracking, which is not offered by JIRA or any of its other alternatives.

Learn more about timegram’s key features.

Or sign up for a free trial now.

FAQs

Is JIRA the best agile tool?

JIRA is an agile project management software with plenty of features for managing software development projects. It was considered one of the best project management tools until 2020, but now there are many low-cost or free JIRA alternatives available on the web.

JIRA is expensive compared to more straightforward and much better agile management tools, and the cost increases as your team grows. Other than the high cost, it’s pretty complicated to configure and set up.

What are the disadvantages of JIRA?

Some of the disadvantages of using JIRA are:

  • It is pricey and not suitable for SMEs.
  • Its UI is complicated and can be overwhelming to set up and configure.
  • It doesn’t allow multiple assignees for a task.
  • Getting a quick view of your data takes a lot of work.
  • Its lack of structure makes it challenging to complete small tasks without great effort.
  • Doesn’t have an in-built time-tracking tool.
  • It is discontinuing its server and moving on to the cloud, which will further increase the cost.

Why is timegram better than JIRA?

As a dedicated time-tracking tool that is result-oriented, timegram is the best alternative to JIRA. Its basic features target time tracking, project management, and performance evaluation, making it an ideal solution for all kinds of startups and small businesses while JIRA is built for more enterprise-level teams.

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Sidra Ali Shah

About the author

Sidra is a research scholar and a philosophy nerd who fell in love with language at a very young age. She believes it's words and their combinations that make the world go round. In her free time, she likes to brainstorm with her children.

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