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Jira Work Management vs. Jira Software: What's the difference and which should you use?

You’ve heard of Jira, but did you know there are different Jira products?

Of course! They’re all part of Jira Software, right?

Well, not exactly.

Jira products are all designed to help teams collaborate, align, and deliver work in one place. They're part of the Atlassian family and built on Jira, which means they all connect to bring your entire organization together. But different products support different teams and their preferred ways of working.

Take Jira Software and Jira Work Management. These powerful Jira products support collaboration between your software and business teams. Think of it like Jira for software teams and Jira for business teams.

So what’s the difference between these two products and how do you choose the right one for your project? We’ll explain how to use these products separately and together to connect your teams and turbocharge your project management at scale. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is Jira Work Management?

Jira Work Management is a project management tool designed for business teams across marketing, operations, sales, HR, finance, legal, and design. Users create business projects, which are shared spaces to organize, document, and track work.

Jira Work Management supports use cases for every business team:

  • Marketing: Campaign management for go-to-market, content, and emails
  • Operations: Procurement, RFPs, and policy management
  • Sales: Lead tracking and the sales pipeline
  • Human resources: Recruiting, onboarding, and performance reviews
  • Finance: Budget management and the month-end close
  • Legal: Document approvals and IP infringement claims
  • Design: Asset creation and web design

“Jira Work Management has a toolset not found in other products: an integrated calendar, board, inline editable list, and forms, which are incredibly easy to use. This is what sets it apart.”
John Funk, Jira Administrator and Consultant

How does Jira Work Management differ from Jira Software?

The comparison chart below shows the shared and unique features of Jira Work Management and Jira Software. Let’s break down these differences from project and task creation to collecting information, moving work forward, and reporting.

Jira Work Management vs Jira Software feature comparison.

Setting up projects

With Jira Work Management, projects can be populated quickly and easily using one of 20+ business templates with pre-configured workflows. These workflows support common processes for different business teams, from employee onboarding for HR, to GTM for Marketing, and procurement for finance. The steps in the workflow are customizable, so teams have the flexibility to build out their exact process.

Jira Software is also used for project management, but it’s purpose-built for software teams, who rely on agile ways of working. Users create software projects, which support agile methodologies like backlog, sprints, and scrum. There are four Jira Software templates with preconfigured workflows to choose from:

  • Scrum - For managing work across sprints
  • Kanban - For prioritizing work more easily
  • DevOps - For an open-tools approach to applications
  • Bug tracking - For, you guessed it, tracking bugs
The calendar view in Jira Work Management

Creating and viewing tasks

Within Jira Work Management projects, users create issues, or items of work. There are different views, so teams can visualize tasks more easily and match their preferred way of working.

  • Searching for a clear visualization of all the tasks on your plate? The board is a great place to start.
  • Organizing tasks and deals to make your monthly sales quota? Try the month-by-month calendar view.
  • Used to tracking and ordering office inventory in a spreadsheet? Check out the familiar list view.
  • Want to see how your team is making progress on a project? Look at the summary page first.
  • Need clarity on all the dependencies in your website launch? The timeline view shows this.

On Jira Work Management Premium, you can also see a summary, calendar, and timeline of multiple business projects in one place — with an overview.

Jira Work Management supports business teams tackling projects together. With collaboration mode, team members can see each other’s activity in the project in real time. This makes creating tasks, assigning ownership, aligning on due dates, and building dependencies much more efficient.

Jira Software projects, on the other hand, are centered around sprints and users view tasks in either a board or timeline.

  • Teams that practice scrum use the backlog to house all the team's issues for a project and use the board as a visual display of the team’s work process during a single sprint.
  • Teams that practice kanban use the board to visualize, track, and manage a continuous delivery of work.
Collaboration mode in the Jira Work Management list view

Gathering information for tasks

If teams need to collect information from other departments to do their work, they could be wasting time searching through emails and waiting on all the critical details to get started.

Forms in Jira Work Management help teams collect everything from sales enablement to creative requests. Information is tracked and stored in one place and teams create a repeatable process for future requests.

Moving work forward

With Jira Software, teams can move in an agile way using Jira Software’s key features. Components and code repositories help teams stay organized by grouping and tracking dev work. Releases make it easy to check that issues in the version are complete before turning all the hard work into a software release.

Embedded smart links are available in both products, so teams can embed files from tools like Figma, Google Drive, and Miro directly into their tasks. Everyone can see real-time progress and leave feedback in the same space. Need to create more documentation? Both products include Confluence Pages, which allow you to add more context to the project without making anyone leave the workspace to read it.

Jira Work Management and Jira Software also share a powerful automations library that helps teams eliminate tedious manual actions. Automations, like closing out tasks and sending project updates through Slack, make everyone’s life easier, no matter what team they sit on.

The summary view Jira Work Management


The Summary page in Jira Work Management gives a helpful overview of task completion, upcoming deadlines, and team activity. This helps individuals manage their own workload, while managers can quickly see their team’s progress and bandwidth.

Overviews in Jira Work Management let you generate lightweight reports that span across business projects. Have multiple cross-team initiatives laddering up to one goal? Use an overview to report on progress, manage deadlines, and track cross-functional dependencies.

Both Jira Work Management and Jira Software offer a range of reports to analyze issues, track time, and understand workloads within individual projects. Jira Software includes agile reporting, such as sprint reports, burndown charts, velocity charts, and control charts, to optimize sprints.

Advanced Roadmaps is also available with Jira Software Premium licenses to give users a clear visualization of boards, projects, and filters across multiple teams for more insights. Users can see all the dependencies and due dates that exist to report on progress, plan capacity, and test variations of the critical path.

Advanced Roadmaps in Jira Work Management and Jira Software

Which Jira product is right for you?

Jira Work Management is the ideal goal and project tracker for business teams because it supports so many different ways of working across marketing, operations, sales, HR, finance, legal, and design.

Jira Software is ideal for agile project management. You can plan, track, and ship software more confidently knowing that Jira Software supports complex work processes such as:

  • Agile workflows: Scrum and Kanban boards break up projects and provide clear visualizations
  • Collaboration across dev teams: Manage everything from DevOps to QA on product launches 
  • Change management: Prepare, test, and control rollouts of product changes

Have teams working on all these types of projects? You can use both products together!

Dependencies between Jira Work Management and Jira Software

Using Jira Work Management and Jira Software together

Jira Work Management and Jira Software are powerful project management tools by themselves. Together, they connect entire organizations to streamline collaboration and break down silos.

They also keep organizations more secure. The Jira platform offers enterprise-level security features, like user management, IP allowlisting, data residency, and organization audit logs. 

Over 43,000 Atlassian customers use Jira Work Management and Jira Software together to connect every team. So how do they do it?

  • Creating dependencies between Jira Software and Jira Work Management issues to prevent key tasks from being overlooked during product launches and new releases
  • Building automations between Jira Software and Jira Work Management, so no one needs to manually create linking issues or close them when work is completed
  • Viewing joint timelines and cross-project dashboards to plan across teams in Advanced Roadmaps
  • Sharing Jira Software releases in the Jira Work Management calendar view to plan GTM campaigns
  • Generating cross-project reporting to see progress and share the full picture with leadership
  • Connecting disparate tools through 1st- and 3rd-party integrations in the Atlassian ecosystem (there are 3000+ extensions in the Atlassian Marketplace, including Google Workspace, Slack, and Zoom)

Companies like Breville and Lumen already use Advanced Roadmaps to see a unified view of work across teams.

“Our Finance, Marketing and Operations teams needed to align with delivery teams, but also wanted to continue their own ways of working, with tools like general task lists or Gantt charts.

Jira Work Management and its integration with Jira Software means that our teams stay connected. Advanced Roadmaps gives us a single source of truth where we can plan and track different projects across different teams. This brings our non-IT teams into the fold and creates greater visibility and transparency of everyone's work.”
Rob Mulvaney, Sr. Manager - Agile Transformation Office, Lumen

How to get started with Jira Work Management

If you’re new to the Jira suite of products, the best way to get set up with Jira Work Management is through one of the many templates in the library.

Select the template you want to try and you’ll automatically start the process to create a new Jira Work Management account and your first project.

How to get started with Jira Work Management as a Jira Software user

If you use Jira Software you already have access to Jira Work Management. You can get started right away, directly in Jira Software:

  1. Select Projects in the main navigation bar and select Create project from the dropdown
  2. Choose the business project template that fits your needs
  3. Start managing your work through the additional views: List, Calendar, and Summary

Don’t forget to try the forms and real-time collaboration with your team.

Instructions for getting started with Jira Work Management

Want to see what these products can do for your teams?

Sign up for a live demo to see how your team can use Jira Work Management (and Jira Software)