Breeze is the answer to complicated and bloated JIRA

By Rene on Jul 16

We would like to share some of the background on why we created Breeze and what was one of our main motivators. Our team has been a long time Atlassian JIRA Agile (formerly JIRA Greenhopper) user, but it has never been a tool that we wanted to use.

Have you ever tried to configure, set up or use JIRA Agile ? You need to be a rocket scientist. You just can't ask your accountant or marketing manager to create a new project. It's too complicated for non technical people, it won't work.

We have used JIRA for a couple years in large scale enterprise projects, in the telecommunication sector. At first, we mainly used it as a bug tracking and ticketing system with source control management. Later, we also tried to add more agile tools, JIRA Agile (back then it was still called JIRA Greenhopper). To embrace all the agile principles we tried to get everyone on our team to use the agile board, but at this point we understood that this tool is not right for us. Our main problem was that the system was too complex, creating new tasks and projects was painfully slow.

We don't want to assign a separate person to manage our agile system and keep the data up to date. We want to quickly organize our tasks so that we can do the real work. We also want to easily see how much work we’ve done, how much we have to do and who is doing what.

Problems and issues we found with JIRA

  • Difficult to implement workflows.
  • Feels like the tool hinders more than it helps.
  • Poor hierarchy in the planning: after the sprint components are created, the hierarchy cannot be edited.
  • Difficult to set up projects.
  • Task management is not always so straightforward and it can be difficult to visualize task status.
  • Too heavy, especially workflow. Initial setup painfully slow. Steep learning curve.
  • Not visual enough and somewhat cumbersome. No collaboration mechanism.
  • Expensive and heavyweight, cannot be accessed easily on mobile devices.
  • Overkill features.
  • Backlog management could be better.
  • Hard to understand user interface, workflow creation process, customization is possible, but need to go through many steps. So many options that you can get easily confused.
  • Overall customization, although is done only at system productions state, is pretty hard and time consuming.
  • JIRA is pretty slow and massive. Most of functionality, that is not needed for user of system, cant be disabled, you need dig through all unnecessary stuff.
  • JIRA documentation is vast and strong, filled with tutorials, you really need docs to use JIRA, the system is so complex that you need to read docs almost for every customization task and even then, some views are hard to understand.
  • Not usable by non technical people, business side and accountants
  • You need a person to administer and manage JIRA

To summarize all those issues - JIRA is too complicated for the ordinary users. This is exactly the same conclusion we came to, and we try to solve it with Breeze.

Our solution with Breeze

  • Minimalistic design.
  • Easy to use.
  • Just enough features.
  • Usable by everyone: business people, accountants, marketers, project managers, designers and developers.

Creating the initial board and first tasks should take just minutes. This includes creating an account, adding people, creating a project and adding tasks. You should be able to add tasks easily, rearrange and rename task list quickly, but most importantly it should be a tool that everybody uses. It’s easy to log into, easy to move tasks, easy to create tasks, so everybody does it.

But don't get me wrong, JIRA is a great tool from some people and it does work well in big enterprise environments. Breeze is just a little bit different tool, that we created after having used JIRA. It's better to have a simple tool that works well, than an overly complex one that no one uses.