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Understanding Jira Software vs Work Management

Hello all,

I'm in the process of setting up a Jira cloud environment for an engineering team of ~50 people. In my previous experience with Jira (unknown if it was cloud or server), engineering organizations had always used Jira Software rather than Work Management.

I understand that some new features have been added to WM somewhat recently, specifically boards, but I am unsure of why a company would want to pay more for the Software version when Work Management will do the same things.

I am trying to understand the differences between Software and Work Management for a group that won't be doing any notable software work. 

 

3 answers

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Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 13, 2021

If you are doing development you should choose JSW especially if you intend or think you may in the future want to use agile methodologies. JWM is really targeted for business teams and processes, e.g. HR, Finance, basic project management, etc.

Choosing the right product depends on your work processes. 

What features does JWM lack from JSW? From what I understand JWM does have some Agile features like Kanban boards.

Like Noah Hofmann likes this
Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 13, 2021

You will have basic (non-configurable) Kanban boards. Works well for To Do - In Progress - Done type efforts. Again I guess the question is how does your team work what do your work clothes look like? It’s worth a try just to start with JWM and see if you can set up projects that meet your needs.

To be clear, the boards for JWM are not really Kanban, they don't have the throughput functionality of Kanban.  Plus you can't use them to accumulate status into columns like Kanban.

They're just simple task boards, not Kanban.  Doesn't make them any less good at managing tasks and work, just don't quite support Kanban.

Like Hal West likes this

Ah interesting OK. I just went in and also saw that there are no Epic issue types in the JWM project templates. It looks like I can add different issue types to the JWM project. 

But when I added a issue type that had a different workflow, the board stopped displaying anything at all.

This is the first true work management tool our team is trying to use. As an engineering group there is a combination of agile design tasks and rigidly sequential tasks, mainly with manufacturing.

Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 13, 2021

Yep, the default boards don’t support modification of workflows. I really hate that too. However, since I have JSW as well I will create a full featured kanban board and add a shortcut to the side bar so I can then have a board that reflects my new workflow. Not ideal but it works.

Interesting, so your workaround is to make a full feature board in a different software project that filters for only the issues in a business project, and link that board back to the business project? Do you just a have a dedicated project for doing that?

Regardless, it sounds like you would still need Jira Software to do that so I'm understanding that's the version I would need to use.

Thanks!

Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 13, 2021

Not exactly. I create a board and I set the location to be my profile rather than a project. Hide then add a shortcut on the side bar of my business project. If this doesn't make sense let me know.

Hello all,

I'm in the process of setting up a Jira cloud environment for an engineering team of ~50 people. In my previous experience with Jira (unknown if it was cloud or server), engineering organizations had always used Jira Software rather than Work Management.

I understand that some new features have been added to WM somewhat recently, specifically boards, but I am unsure of why a company would want to pay more for the Software version when Work Management will do the same things.

I am trying to understand the differences between Software and Work Management for a group that won't be doing any notable software work. 

0 votes

Hi Brendan,
I have a very similar situation as what you described (similar team size, engineering focused, but hoping to integrate business and operations/manufacturing workflows). I was wondering if you could share what solution you had opted for in the end between JWM and JSW.

Thanks

Hi Romain,

I ended up going with JSW. It comes with everything included in JWM but has a lot more configuration available. If you're hoping to do anything with workflows beyond To Do-In Progress-Done then you'll need JSW. Also, mixing team managed and company managed projects allows you to decide how rigidly you want people to follow the processes that are set up while still allowing flexibility when needed. 

That being said, administrating JSW is a fair bit more complicated than JWM, especially for company managed projects. There are a lot of settings and configurations. It is possible to retroactively make changes to all those settings after the projects are up and running but it is significantly easier to get everything set up ahead of time

Also, I found that while the Timeline function in JSW standard is better than nothing, it is near useless for actual project management, it does not provide enough detail into the task breakdown and you can't actually schedule anything with it. If integrating project management into Jira is something you're interested in (which I suggest it should be), take a look at the BigGantt addin. I started using it recently and it really does make Jira more useful for "traditional" project management. Like MS Project tied directly into the Jira tasks.

Like # people like this

Hi Brendan,
Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback, that's very helpful. And to confirm, have you been able to also use JSW for non-software, non-engineering teams, including for example for some operations/manufacturing processes?

The particular group that I just implemented Jira for is mainly just an engineering group. But I have worked with several other companies that do use Jira for other groups, like business, operations, and manufacturing. Jira projects are extremely flexible and can be configured to function however each group needs them to. At their core, Jira's "issues" are just discrete packets of information that can be tracked over time, how you use that is up to the user.

For manufacturing in particular, I worked with one group that I liked quite a lot. When a part was being manufactured, a "manufacturing" Jira ticket was created to track progress within the manufacturing process. When the part was completed, a new ticket was created upon handoff to the group who needed it as a sort of digital traveler and was linked back to the original manufacturing ticket. There are many ways that the digital traveler concept could be implemented, Jira automation might be helpful depending on the solution. 

Like Mj Gumayagay likes this

@Brendan Murphy Can you elaborate on the digital traveler concept and how to implement it?

Is the digital traveler someone who oversees/tracks the overall process as work progresses and gets passed on to different teams? Do you have resources so I can dive into this deeper?

 

Thanks.

A traveler is a set of papers that "travels" with a part through its manufacturing process to keep track of work order info, contact info, or whatever else your company wants. The digital version of that uses (in this case) a Jira ticket to store the same info instead of a physical piece of paper.

I don't have any specific resources, I've never personally been involved in such a process.

Hi @Brendan Murphy , welcome to the Community!!

Here are some links which you may find useful:

The first link might be particularly useful for you, as it explains what Jira Software does that Jira WM does not

I have seen the first link where it says JSW has backlog planning, software development and integrations, and release hub. But I don't see anything that says specifically what each of those things mean. And in my testing I've set up SW projects and business projects and they seem to be laid out in a different format.

In the second link, I think Jira Core is now Jira Work Management? From what I understand a lot of features have been added since that document was written.

Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 13, 2021

Yes Jira Core is now JWM and it is certainly a better product thane core. They have added a number of templates for business projects.

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