OpenProject: The open source alternative to Jira

Jira is an established player for agile project management. For many, Jira is the household name for issue tracking software. However, Jira is not open source. OpenProject is - and offers quite similar features. On top, OpenProject provides you with the choice of either a cloud or on-premises edition. Let’s compare Jira and OpenProject.

Issue & task tracking

Both Jira and OpenProject offer sophisticated issue tracking with custom fields and workflow customization.


In Jira users can create new issues in a popup window. The displayed fields can be configured and the view can be customized to users’ needs. It is possible to specify workflows for different issue types.



In OpenProject you can create new issues from the work package list. Similar to Jira, the displayed attributes can be configured for each issue type. On top of this, you can display help texts to assist users in setting the correct attribute values. You can adjust the workflow for each issue type, as well as for the author and assignee of a work package.

Work Package Create

Project planning with Gantt charts

Managing a project plan is a critical component for successful project management.


The core version of Jira does not include a Gantt chart. However, there are several Gantt chart add-ons available in the Atlassian Marketplace. These are priced separately from the Jira core version.


OpenProject enables creating and managing a project plan using Gantt charts, both for single projects as well as multi-hierarchy projects. The dynamic and interactive Gantt chart in OpenProject can be displayed on the work package list. This allows a seamless transition from the list view to the Gantt chart view. Start and due dates can be easily updated by either setting the dates in the list view or using drag & drop in the Gantt chart Thereby, you can choose between top-down and bottom-up planning. You can also create and visualize dependencies in the Gantt chart. Project managers can create and visualize the progress even for complex Gantt charts which span multiple projects and even display planning changes.

Gantt chart

Time and cost tracking

An essential feature for any larger project is the ability to track the time as well as the costs spent on a project.


Jira supports time tracking, including the detailed specification of working times and hours. It does not support cost tracking in the basic version. However, it is possible to download add-ins in the Atlassian marketplace for cost tracking.


You can enable time and cost tracking for each project separately within OpenProject. Additionally, OpenProject allows users to track costs - both personnel costs as well as unit costs. Furthermore, you can create budgets within projects to compare planned and realized costs. You can create and save detailed time and costs reports filtered and grouped based on your needs. A sophisticated permission model allows users to restrict the data that users can see. This includes for example whether a user can only see and edit own tracked time.

Log time list view

time logging

Additional criteria

Data security is an important aspect when choosing a project management tool. Therefore, both OpenProject and Jira offer regular data backups.

Large companies often have strong data privacy and data security guidelines which prohibit the use of purely web-based solutions.

Both Jira and OpenProject not only offer a web-solution but are also available as on-premises installations. However, going forward, Jira is focusing on their web-based version, stating “we’re sharpening our focus as a cloud-first company”.

The OpenProject Enterprise on-premises edition enables companies to install OpenProject on their own servers and offers additional Enterprise add-ons and security features as well as support.

Open source software provides maximum flexibility and independence: Users can make their own adjustments. Thus, OpenProject is open source. Jira on the other hand is proprietary.

Conclusion OpenProject vs Jira

In conclusion: Jira is a very powerful application with more than 2,000 add-ons and a large following. It is highly customizable. However, this flexibility comes at a price: Many add-ons come with a significant price tag which adds up. Also, going forward, Jira is putting its cloud version first, deprioritizing server products.

OpenProject offers very similar features directly included (without additional expense), either as a cloud or on-premises version, thus positioning itself as an open source Jira alternative.

If you consider moving from Jira to OpenProject, we have prepared a way to import tickets from Jira to OpenProject. First, you can export your tasks from Jira into an Excel file and then import these tasks via an Excel plugin into OpenProject.

You need a demo or want to switch?

If you want to take a glance at OpenProject or test all features thoroughly, just create a free OpenProject trial.