First from a series of product comparison articles

If you manage projects in Jira, you’ve probably come across roadmap tools and looked into how good of a fit they are for you and your organization. In order to save you that effort, we’ve set out on a mission to do it for you. This is part of a series of comparison articles we’re currently putting together. We’re going to be looking at some of the most popular product roadmap tools and gantt charts out there (that integrate with Jira). All have their own strengths and weaknesses, and some will suit your needs more than others.

But first of all, let’s set things straight :)

What is the difference between a Gantt Chart and a roadmap?

A Gantt chart is a bar chart that displays a detailed, linear schedule of tasks related to a project. It shows task dependencies and helps you set up a how-to plan for completing a project. A roadmap, on the other hand, serves as a high-level, strategic plan that reflects your vision and goals. We’ll be discussing the differences in more detail, in a soon-to-be article.  

Down to business: Swanly vs. Advanced Roadmaps

Here, we’re comparing Advanced Roadmaps, the agile roadmapping app built specifically by Atlassian and available on Cloud as part of Jira Software Premium, and Swanly, our very own project plan and roadmap tool also built for Jira Cloud. We’ll also be including a side by side comparison of some of the features for an easy overview.

Quick overview of Advanced Roadmaps by Jira

Advanced Roadmaps Gantt chart for Jira
Advanced Roadmaps in Jira - Gantt chart

Automatic scheduling with multiple plans

Advanced Roadmaps by Jira is designed to help multiple big teams collaborate and automatically plan for team capacity, while having access to the big picture as well as dependencies across large pieces of work.

Ladder with unlimited hierarchy

The Advanced Roadmaps Gantt chart essentially showcases ladder work from multiple teams or projects up to a feature or goal, with unlimited levels of hierarchy above the epic level.

Work across multiple teams

Plan and track how you’re making progress as part of the big picture across multiple teams. Also, you can track dependencies across multiple projects and teams to get ahead of blockers across the organization.

Manage team capacity

Keep your goals on track by accounting for whether your teams have bandwidth to complete the work they’ve scoped. Thanks to Advanced Roadmaps, you can see multiple teams' capacity on a sprint by sprint basis.

Advanced Roadmaps pricing

The app is available with Jira Premium at $14 per user.

Advanced Roadmaps timeline in Jira
Advanced Roadmaps for Jira - timeline

Pros in a nutshell - Advanced Roadmaps

The pros of using Advanced Roadmaps for Jira
Advanced Roadmaps for Jira - pros
  • Create many Jira plans
  • Create many teams
  • Assign team capacity
  • Automatically schedule issues
  • Create custom hierarchies (initiatives, programs)
  • Work with dependency maps

Advanced Roadmaps customer feedback - the good, the bad, the ugly

Good

  • Offers the ability to plan multiple scenarios, creating different, independent views and “what-if’s” such as scope reduction, resource allocation and priority shuffling.
  • Great for planning and backlog grooming for very complex projects.
  • Helps understand where the project is heading based on estimated time of tickets and team capacity.

Less good

  • Some disagreement and lack of information with respect to how the auto-scheduling algorithm works.
  • The tool is complex and offers a lot of functionality; can be overwhelming to set up.
  • The app tackles too many aspects at once instead of focusing on one, or a few.

Quick overview of Swanly by Jexo

Swanly project management for Jira - roadmap
Swanly project and product roadmap for Jira

Top-down planning approach

Swanly brings clarity, structure and visibility, moving all the way from macro to micro. It allows you to first tackle the long term vision with a comprehensive roadmap, then gradually progresses into smaller work structures based on the larger goals.

Efficiency in planning and tracking

Swanly is designed to maximize efficiency in planning and tracking work progress in Jira. It enables cross-team collaboration with multi-project releases and issues, and aggregates information into dashboards with actionable insights. Swanly is an all-inclusive, UI delight of an app that is suitable for technical and non-technical teams alike.

From big picture to granular data

While the roadmap offers big picture access to all work in Jira, the deliverable itself (whether we’re talking releases or issues) is connected to all the data specific to it in a report panel.

Ready-made approach to info

Swanly is a plug&play app as opposed to being highly customizable; it offers its own approach to working, planning and tracking in Jira which gets you set up quickly. It’s designed for those who are looking for a ready-made, hassle-free solution, and aren’t interested in customization.

Remove the noise for better focus

Swanly offers a rather focused, gradual approach to navigating information which enables you to execute a task at a time while taking in information without being overwhelmed; the info is actually compartmentalized for you to access when needed.

Swanly pricing options

The app is available in Jira for $10 per 10 users, or $1.5/user beyond that; and bigger teams get further discounts.

Swanly roadmap with release report on the right
Swanly roadmap for Jira with release report

Pros in a nutshell - Swanly

Main Swanly pros - project plan hub
Swanly pros in a nutshell
  • Go-to hub for planning, tracking and managing all work deliverables in Jira.
  • Illustrates plans and objectives clearly with high-level details
  • Offers visual roadmaps to help communicate goals across projects and teams
  • Brings efficiency to process
  • Offers insights for issues and releases, with aggregated reports
  • Release and issue roadmap into one window
  • Multiple templates for custom delivery phases
  • Zero configuration required, with ready-made reports
  • Multi team collaboration with cross-project work

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

Good

  • Setup is very quick and easy
  • Top down planning
  • Drill down for more insights as opposed to a Gantt chart which shows everything
  • Structure is straightforward and the methodology is geared towards people looking for some guidance
  • Uses very specific and swift way to plan and track work

Less good

  • Not that configurable
  • There is no auto-scheduling which means it’s not suitable for highly complex projects
  • Does not allow for planning multiple scenarios at once
  • There are no hierarchy options available (yet)

Advanced Roadmaps vs. Swanly feature infographic

Infographic with feature comparison between Swanly and Advanced Roadmaps
Swanly vs. Advanced Roadmaps Feature Comparison Infographic