What to expect:

- A quick overview of both prioritization apps

- Main features, pricing, pros in a nutshell and some reviews

Do you work with Jira product backlogs?

If your answer is “yes”, then you’ve probably come across a few Jira backlog prioritization tools and wondered whether they’d go well with how your team (or company) operates. In this product comparison article, we look at two popular prioritization apps that integrate well with Jira: Foxly and Airfocus.

First things first:

What is backlog prioritization?

Backlog prioritization is part of the product backlog grooming process, aimed at ensuring teams focus on the most important items.

Being efficient at doing things that don’t matter much will not get you very far; somewhere along the line, you have to decide how important an item is. And if everything is high priority then nothing is a priority, which means you’ll probably come short of delivering what your customer really needs.


For a more in-depth look at prioritization and the prioritization tools you can use to improve on your process, here’s a good article!


Down to business: Foxly vs. Airfocus

Here we’re comparing between Airfocus, a standalone product strategy, roadmap and prioritization app, and Foxly, our very own product backlog prioritization app built for Jira Cloud.

Quick overview of Airfocus

Airfocus standalone backlog prioritization for Jira
Airfocus backlog prioritization app (source: airfocus.com)

It’s an all-in-one app

Airfocus is a complete solution for product teams, allowing them to manage and communicate their product strategy, build roadmaps and prioritize backlog work.

Feedback is centralized

Feedback can be centralized from various channels and teams, and organized into actionable insights.

Many prioritization methods to choose from

Airfocus allows you to choose from various predefined prioritization templates related to product management, technology, marketing, and business.

Integrates with everything in the universe

Airfocus has a two-way Jira integration and offers dynamic syncing of cards with Trello and other tools.

Cool features

With Airfocus, you get access to cool features such as the Prioritization matrix and Priority poker.

Airfocus Priority poker feature
Airfocus priority poker (source: airfocus.com)

Airfocus pricing options

The app is available at $19 per user, or $15 for a yearly subscription, but can go all the way up to $89-$109/user for extra features.

Pros in a nutshell - Airfocus (image)

Pros of using Airfocus for Jira prioritization
Airfocus prioritization pros
  • You can score with metrics (smart scoring, real-time priority poker and priority matrix).
  • There are many prioritization templates to choose from, including ICE, RICE, Value vs. Effort, WSJF, and so on.
  • Two-way Jira integration and dynamic syncing of cards with Trello and other tools.
  • Integration is available for both Jira Cloud and Jira Server.

Airfocus customer feedback - the good, the bad, the ugly

View quick wins with Airfocus Priority matrix
Airfocus Priority matrix (source: airfocus.com)

Good

  • Items view and chart view are helpful for visualizing and highlighting quick win projects.
  • The two-way sync with Jira is a major bonus + the syncing cards between Trello and Airfocus.
  • The roadmap brings transparency to teams.

Less good

  • The tool is a little on the expensive side.
  • It’s a third party tool which means having to use and log into another app.
  • It’s not part of Atlassian security programs and the bug bounty program.


Quick overview of Foxly by Jexo

Edit metrics as you prioritize in Jira with Foxly
Foxly priority table and metrics


Designed for Jira Cloud

Foxly allows you to manage all of your prioritization process in Jira itself; it will automatically project the latest priority updates.

Efficiency in planning and tracking

With Foxly, every stakeholder gets easy access to the backlog, where they can update priorities based on real-time scoring.

Top predefined prioritization templates

Foxly offers the most famous predefined prioritization templates such as RICE, ICE, WSJF, Value vs. Effort, and Foxly’s very own template: Quick Wins.

Customize your templates

It’s very easy to create custom templates with Foxly; the process is simple and can be done by anyone.

Interactive priority table

Foxly’s interactive priority table offers all stakeholders access to the backlog, where Jira issue fields can be shown as columns to help with prioritization.

Foxly's interactive priority table for Jira
Foxly's Priority table

Foxly pricing options

The Foxly app is available at $0.4 per user for over 10 users; for less than that, the cost comes up to a $4 flat fee.

Jira planning poker

Foxly's Priority Planning Poker allows everyone on the team to equally contribute to the prioritization process by removing bias.

Foxly's Jira planning poker session
Jira planning poker with Foxly


Pros in a nutshell - Foxly (image)

Pros of using Foxly for Jira prioritization
Foxly prioritization pros
  • You can score with metrics (real-time Jira planning poker and priority matrix).
  • Priority score gets updated in real time whenever change happens.
  • Priority metric values and issue scores can be accessed and imputed directly into the issue view in Jira; no need to access the backlog.
  • Priority matrix helps visualize all priorities, and highlights the low hanging fruits to tackle first.
  • Metrics are fully customizable; each metric itself is given a value which is then used in a customizable formula to calculate the final score of every issue.
  • Foxly’s Jira planning poker allows everyone on the team to equally contribute to the prioritization process by removing bias.

Foxly Customer feedback - the good, the bad, the ugly


Good

  • Helps bring prioritization to Jira; no need to ever leave.
  • Really simple, easy to use and totally customisable.
  • Everyone who uses Jira can access Foxly with permission.
  • Automation rules cancel the need for manual prioritization by staff.
  • Perfect for epic prioritisation and planning.
  • Helps standardize your priority process across all teams.

Less good

  • Need a way to use pre-existing saved filters and generate links for them (this feature is currently in the making).

To summarize: Foxly vs. Airfocus

Because everyone loves summaries.

If you're looking for a complete, standalone product management solution; something that would allow you to manage and communicate your product strategy, build roadmaps and prioritize your Jira product backlog elsewhere, with a bunch of templates, then Airfocus is a good match.

But Airfocus is not a Jira plugin, which may make it or break it for some teams. After all, development teams and product managers don’t want to have to use a platform that isn’t Jira; it adds unnecessary complexity they simply don’t want to deal with. Not to mention the fact that Airfocus is not inclusive of development teams, or any team for that matter; it’s designed for managers to use.


That being said, if you want a simple plug&play tool built specifically for Jira Cloud, that allows you to do everything in Jira, as well as get up and running within minutes, customize to the bone, and that’s on the much cheaper side of things, then Foxly is your go-to Jira prioritization plugin! Foxly is actually inclusive of everyone on the team, helping democratize the backlog management process altogether.

And if you’re interested in the roadmap aspect of things, then you don’t have to go anywhere outside of Jira; just take a look at what Swanly can do for you instead!