Jira vs Rally. Head to head comparison


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Jira and Rally are the two most promising software for project management, focusing on agile methodology. Rally software is completely focused on Agile software development. Jira software in its initial days was designed to work on Agile software development projects primarily, and now it is widely referred to as project management and bug tracking tool. Often organization that requires more flexibility opt for Jira software. Jira is more popular for mid and large-size businesses. On the other hand, the specialization of rally software lies in agile software development methodology. In this article, I will discuss about Jira software, Rally software, and their key differences.

What is Jira?

Jira is a project management and issue tracking tool. Now there are a lot of different ways that companies organize their projects waterfall, six sigma, prince2, and so on. Some of these methodologies or ways of organizing and getting work done are similar to each other, and some of them are very different from each other. Overall, the methodology that a company uses to organize and get work done can determine the tool they use to organize it. When you are using Jira, it will assume that your team is using the agile methodology. I have worked with teams who are using Jira, and they are not using the agile methodology. There are apps and plugins that you can get in order to have Jira organize things differently, but by default, without any extended capabilities, Jira itself is an agile tool.

Jira is something that some of the world’s largest companies and organizations are using for their agile workflows because it is a lot easier to see things using a digital tool like Jira for a lot of teams. Each and every activity we define can be tracked in the Jira tool itself, and this tool can be used by developers, testers, product owners. So whoever is working in the agile team has access to the Jira tool.

We can also do test management activities, but Jira itself does not provide any test management activities by default. So, by default, in Jira, we cannot define the test cases, bugs. But we have a special plugin called Zephyr, and if we install that particular plugin within the Jira, we can also do test management activities. We can then also define the test cases, write the test cases, upgrade the status of the test cases, generate the test reports. So, everything we can do in the Jira itself is by using multiple plugins like Zephyr.

What is Rally?

Rally Software is a multi-tenant SaaS platform that enables organizations to prepare, plan, manage and track work. With Rally, you can manage work across teams of teams with real-time visibility while staying connected to the company’s most important initiatives in a single and scalable source of truth. To get started in Rally, you first have to create your strategy. Rally has built-in portfolio planning, which means you can create various levels in portfolio items to plan, break down, and manage your strategic products. Then, on the portfolio items page, you can add as many levels as it makes sense for your organization.

Rally allows you to create a hierarchy of projects to represent multiple products, value streams, or teams, which mirror your company’s development structure. You can customize your projects by naming them after each team and then identifying team owners. The great thing about Rally is that all teams across the value stream can live in one workspace while operating on different backlogs. Go to the setup button and select Workspaces & Projects to create a project. Expand a workspace, and you will see the projects listed within. Next, click on Actions and New Project.

Rally helps you track your work and provides visibility to others in your organization so they can see how work is progressing. The Team Board in Rally is a flow-based view meant for seeing your team’s work all in one place, and it’s very easy to set up and use. Team members and editors can create, edit, and move cards on the team board, indicating the flow and progress of work. You can customize how your board looks by renaming these columns, also known as flow states, reflecting the process from ideation to delivery. Here you can add a new user story, defect, test set, or defect suite card to your board. You can add swimlanes to visualize work items by category or sub-process. You can choose from a number of options that will group cards into respective swimlanes, based on criteria such as Owner, Iteration, Portfolio Item, Parent, and more. Rally connects to your current ecosystem easily through integrations with third-party tools.

Key Differences: Jira vs Rally

The Approach

Jira is a pure project management and issue tracking tool. It is used to support the team members working on agile software development projects. Using Jira, you can easily plan your sprints, track all the tasks and issues in the Sprint, and finally release the software in a very organized manner. You can use the ready to use workflows available in Jira, or you can create your own workflow to plan the software development project. It comes with multiple visual tools and reports, which helps to track the performance of the teams working on the project. There are thousands of applications that you can integrate with Jira from the Atlassian marketplace to extend its functionalities.

On the other hand, Rally is an agile project management software that is ideal for organizations that use agile planning and execution methodologies in their software development process. It provides a proper agile solution to plan, prioritize, manage, track and continuously improve the work of their software development project. Rally also has multiple tools, including release tracking, risk dashboard, portfolio Kanban, GitHub connector, etc. offering multiple functionalities to its users. You can also integrate Jira, excel, GitHub, Jenkins, and many other tools with Rally.

Team Board vs Scrum/Kanban Board

Rally software has team boards, and Jira software has scrum or Kanban boards.

Jira Kanban boards help you in increasing the transparency and communication, promoting sprint planning and iterative development, and also improving the focus and organization within the teams. Everybody can use Jira Kanban boards, from software development teams to business, marketing, and HR teams. Jira boards offer you a lot of flexibility on the current and following tasks, which are planned to help you continuously deliver maximum output with efficiency. It has a work in progress feature that allows the users to identify and prevent bottlenecks to make the workflow smoother.

The team board in rally software helps you align the day to day work of the business strategy. This board helps the organizations to view their data easily and promote the culture based on outcomes. The Rally team board also supports scrum and Kanban, allowing the teams to manage all the workflows without the help of an admin. The team members can create new cards and add them to the team board for tracking.


The initial setup of Jira is complex, and it is difficult to install it without support. Also, there is a limitation on file size for uploading on Jira. It has some powerful integrations, but still, many options are missing. It is difficult for new project managers to use Jira because it requires a good understanding of agile methodology before you start using Jira.

On the other hand, Rally software is not as flexible as Jira. It is mainly used only for agile software development projects, not suitable for other kinds of projects. Multiple levels of nesting are used in rally software which can result in a lot of confusion in the project.


There is the free version of Jira software which offers a storage capacity of 2GB that can be used by up to 10 users. The standard pricing of Jira starts at $7.00 per user per month, and this can scale up to 20000 users. This includes storage of 250 GB and support between local business hours. The premium pricing of Jira starts at $14.50 per user per month, and this includes unlimited storage and 24/7 support.

In Rally free version software, you get a pack of 10 users and 5 projects. In Rally’s enterprise version, you can have unlimited users, and Rally can be deployed on-premises or on the cloud. The enterprise version also includes analytics tools and portfolio management. The pricing of Rally also depends on the kind of business. You will have to contact their sales team to get the exact pricing.


The one feature which makes Jira stand out from the rest of its competition is it’s dynamic workflow engine. One of the best features in Jira are workflows which allow you to add conditions, transitions, validators, functions, etc., for each step in the workflow. You can also extend the workflow in Jira by using various plug-in modules.

On the other hand, Rally does not offer dynamic workflows. The workflows in Rally software are fixed. You cannot customize the workflows according to the need of the teams.

Final Thoughts

So that was all about Jira software, Rally software, and their key differences. Both the tools are widely used in the IT industry, Jira comparatively more. These tools will help you plan and manage end-to-end software development projects based on agile principles. So go ahead, choose any of them, and start implementing your software development projects on these tools.


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