Buyer's Guide

How to choose the best Jira workflow automation app

As you consider your Jira workflow options, take a look at the evaluation list below. While it covers many of JMWE’s advantages, it will also help you compare workflow apps to select the best option for your needs. You can even see how it can help you shatter the limitations of built-in automation features in Jira Cloud.

 



View a PDF version of this Buyer's Guide - no registration required.

 

Types of Jira workflow automation apps

(For Jira Cloud, Jira Server, and Jira Data Center) 

There are several Jira workflow automation apps in the Atlassian ecosystem, including Innovalog’s  Jira Misc Workflow Extensions (JMWE). While they are all designed to automate Jira workflows, there are some significant differences between them. These apps range anywhere from offering point-and-click configurations - simple to use but limited to only available functionality - to offering excellent scripting extensibility for expert developers that can handle the complexity.

 

How these Jira workflow automation tools compare


SOLUTION

PROS

CONS

BUILT-IN AUTOMATION FEATURES

(in Jira Cloud only)
  • Lets you build rules to automate project tasks;
  • Easy to implement, simple to understand;
  • Gives users the ability to enable & disable rules;
  • No additional cost.
  • Works outside of Jira’s workflow functionality - offers no conditions and validators to enforce processes;
  • In Jira Standard, multi-project and global automation rule execution is limited to 500 per month - must upgrade to Jira Premium for more;
  • To use advanced features, users need to learn a new syntax.

NO-CODE
WORKFLOW APP

  • Offers a collection of additional workflow extensions - post functions, conditions and validators - that work inside Jira’s workflow designer - no scripting skills required to configure;
  • Quick to deploy;
  • It can enable many workflow automations.
  • Limits functionality only to the workflow extensions offered;
  • Does not support very sophisticated use cases.

ALL-IN-ONE
WORKFLOW APP

No-code workflow extensions + simplified scripting, as offered by JMWE
  • Provides a collection of additional post functions, conditions and validators that work inside Jira’s workflow designer - no scripting skills required to configure;
  • Includes an ability to do more with simple yet powerful scripting: click-your-way-through scripting in most cases - requires only a basic understanding of scripting concepts;
  • Can automate both simple and complex workflow scenarios;
  • Scripts won’t break with the next major Jira release.
  • Scripting option does not extend beyond workflow automation (except for scheduled actions in JMWE for Jira Cloud).

SCRIPTING APP

Powerful apps like Scriptrunner, though not considered to be workflow apps, can automate workflows as well, and hence, worth your consideration.
  • Complete solution for all scripting needs, beyond workflow automation.
  • Requires programming skills and is intimidating to anyone without scripting abilities;
  • Scripts will break and need to be updated with the next major Jira release (for Jira Data Center/Server).
 
 

 

What version of Jira Cloud are you running?


Why this is important

 
Many different automations, especially simple ones, can be built using Jira’s native Automation features. However, in multi-project and global automations, Jira Cloud Standard allows for a maximum of only 500 executions per month. This can often be reached in hours, or even minutes. If your team exceeds this limit, automations simply stop running. And so do your business processes.

A third-party workflow app can take you beyond these limitations. However, all workflow apps offer different feature sets. It is important to take a look at the entire list of features and workflow extensions (conditions, validators, and post functions) available for each app. Usually, the easiest way to compare is to review the list in the app’s documentation.

How JMWE addresses this

 
With JMWE, you can run an unlimited number of workflow automation rules and go beyond Jira Cloud’s native limits. As far as we know, none of the third party apps impose those limitations. However, JMWE offers considerably more point-and-click extensions than most other apps. Plus, it can support any number of use cases with our simple yet powerful “build-your-own” extensions. That is why JMWE is the #1 top-selling workflow app for Jira Cloud and with top 4-star customer reviews only, for the past 4 years.

Take a look at the list of JMWE for Jira Cloud extensions.

What our customers say

 
“As a Jira Cloud Standard admin, I was relying on the Automation allowances native to Jira Cloud - and quickly surpassed the 500 transactions / month, even though the team is very small and we have very few automations enabled. Increasing this would mean switching to Jira Cloud Premium, which is twice the cost of the app and all of our add-ons. JMWE is a much better value and has a lot more flexibility than Jira's automation - and you can save the native automation for smaller autos that won't be run as much.” - Nicki Repici
 

 

 

Are you using, or planning to use, Jira’s native automation features?


Why this is important

 
There are significant differences in how Jira’s built-in automation features empower your automations. It does not automate Jira workflows. Instead, it creates rules, which, in a way, can be compared to Post functions - an action to be taken, but unlike post functions, rules cannot be ordered. These rules offer easy-to-deploy per-project automations.

Since these automations run outside of your workflows, there are no Conditions or Validators that these automation features offer.

In workflows, Conditions and Validators offer very important functionality that enables automation of many business processes. Conditions define whether the user should be able to see and perform a transition; Validators validate the input by the user during the transition. For example, without “conditions”, rule automations can be almost dangerous because they run whenever and might overwrite user input in an infinite loop while the user is entering a value. Conditions and Validators give you a lot more control over those behaviors.

How JMWE addresses this

 
JMWE for Jira Cloud offers several Conditions and Validators that can be easily configured. JMWE offers you even more options by including the “Build-your-own” condition and validator (as well as post-function) that can be used by Jira Admins that dabble in some scripting.

What our customers say

 
“I can't recommend JMWE enough. Jira Automation is ok for relatively simple [tasks], but [JMWE] can handle an incredible level of complexity in comparison. The Support is outstanding, I have never experienced the response time and help like it." - Andrew Zietara
 

 

 

Does the app offer no-code workflow extensions that can be quickly configured by any Jira Admin, even without coding experience?


Why this is important

 
Even if you have scripting experience, you can save time using a point-and-click solution. Plus, if you have other Jira admins on your team, you may want to ensure that they too can use the app, especially if they have no coding experience. Code-free configurations are much easier to deploy, and anyone can use them.

How JMWE addresses this

 
With JMWE, you can quickly configure workflows using point-and-click extensions without writing a single line of code. These configurable extensions - post-functions, conditions, and validators - are all fully embedded and available right within Jira’s workflow engine. Any Jira Admin can easily automate workflow functionality using these code-free tools.

For Jira Server/DC, take a look at this workflow cheat sheet that includes all 40+ JMWE extensions, plus the Jira native ones.

For Jira Cloud, browse our documentation to explore all 35+ JMWE extensions.

What our customers say

 
“The must-have app for your Jira instance! The functionality available has allowed us to provide a lot of automation between different projects and departments in our organization making everyone's work that much easier to do. Their support is absolutely fantastic, quick and helpful.” - Drew Smith
 

 

 

Is the app extensible when you need more sophisticated workflow automation rules?


Why this is important

 
Often, you’ll need advanced workflow automations to address your team’s more sophisticated needs. Even if you don’t have those needs now, it is likely you will in the near future, especially as you customize your Jira instance to power even more of your business processes. In those cases, point-and-click options just won’t be enough. For more control and adaptability to your business needs, you may prefer an app that also offers extensibility through the power of scripting.

How JMWE addresses this

 
JMWE extensions all include simple yet powerful scripting, which is used for building solutions for more sophisticated use cases. All that’s required is simplified coding, usually a one-liner, that works in combination with the workflow extension configuration to build a virtually unlimited number of automations. Better yet, JMWE workflow configurations are easy to understand, so anyone who wants to re-use or edit them can do so without getting lost in lines and lines of code.

What our customers say

 
“JMWE (and its sibling JMCF) are two apps that should be part of a well balanced diet of apps in the Jira world. These tools let me do things that would be either difficult or even impossible to do and they make it easy to do some really esoteric things. The combo of pleasant point/shoot for much but the ability to extend with Groovy is stellar…. This one is a winner.” - Mike Rathwell
 

 

 

Do you have to be a coding expert to use scripting - if available - in this app?


Why this is important

 
While traditional scripting tools, such as the popular Scriptrunner app, provide the most flexibility, they might be intimidating for the casual administrator. They take a lot of time to configure, and are error prone. Even if you have the skills, other members of the team might find it challenging - it may be impossible for them to use the app or maintain the scripts for automating workflows.

How JMWE addresses this

 
JMWE offers a different way of scripting. It works in combination with the no-code extension configuration, which does the necessary “scripting” behind the scenes automatically, so you only need to add some specific conditions or other elements.

For example, if you want to transition all linked issues and provide, for one of the transition screen fields, a calculated value, you just need to write code to calculate the value (usually, a one-liner). With other scripting tools, you’d need at least 100 lines of code to give you the same functionality.

The built-in editor and tester JMWE offers not only allows you to click-your-way through scripting, but also lets you test your scripted solution against any issue. You can access the editor with one click, right inside each extension. Even without scripting skills, you can still use JMWE’s tools to build your own extensions quickly and efficiently. It gives you power without complexity.

What our customers say

 
“I consider JMWE to be the absolutely most necessary app for running our company. The secret? the completely optional Groovy editor - you start small, with little things, and then eventually you're doing crazy stuff with it right in the workflows. The documentation is also REALLY good, and JMWE's support is fantastic.” - Carl Allen
 

 

 

Will you need to rewrite or update your scripts with the next major Jira release?


Why this is important

 
Unfortunately, Atlassian frequently makes breaking changes to their Java APIs with major releases. If you use scripting tools, your scripts will break and will need to be updated. It takes a lot of time and expertise to update complicated scripts.

How JMWE addresses this

 
Thanks to JMWE’s simplified Jira API that does all the heavy lifting behind the scenes, you will NOT need to update your scripts. JMWE’s API will do it for you with each new Jira release.

What our customers say

 
“I cannot even imagine trying to design workflows in Jira and JSD Cloud without JMWE; the mere thought of it is the stuff of nightmares!” - Cheryl A. Minton
 

 

 

Does the app provide the ability to reuse configurations?


Why this is important

 
You are likely to have similar automation needs across multiple workflows. For example, you might want to use the same post-function - or the same scripts - in different transitions. The ability to create post-functions that can be reused in multiple workflow transitions saves you a lot of time and will greatly simplify maintenance.

How JMWE addresses this

 
​JMWE post-functions - even sequences of post-functions - can be configured once and then added to multiple transitions across different workflows. You can quickly reuse - and then maintain - common configurations.

For example, you can set multiple fields using “set field value post-functions” and then add them to transitions as one Shared Action, without the need to recreate them over and over again. Or configure a post-function to send an email, and then reuse it in different workflows.

If you have many workflows where you can repurpose configurations, this feature will be very useful.

Watch this video to more about Shared Actions.

What our customers say

 
“As far as workflow customization goes, this is the single best app that I've worked with. The UI features are incredibly user-friendly. The addition of Shared Groovy Scripts improves the overall experience. And on top of that, on the rare occasion that I've needed to reach out for, they've been responsive and helpful.” - Jason Card
 

 

 

Can the app help you schedule actions outside of your workflows?


Why this is important

 
Workflow post-functions run on transitions. But, do you need to act on issues outside of transitions? Do you need to run them regularly? Since not everything happens as part of an issue transition, you might need to use post-functions outside of workflows to get work done.

How JMWE addresses this

 
​With JMWE, you can schedule actions for one or more JMWE post-functions to run against issues returned by a JQL search. For example, you can automatically transition any issue escalated yet not addressed for over 24 hours.

With JMWE’s Scheduled actions, you can execute many types of automations, such as send an email, assign issues, modify fields, or create new issues, all in sequence. We even let you run your automation on-demand.

Learn more about Scheduled actions.

(Available in Jira Cloud; coming soon to Jira Server and Data Center)

What our customers say

 
“We are getting more and more use out of the workflow extensions as we find creative ways to make workflows efficient for our teams.” - Rich Wolverton
 

 

 

Will this app deliver good business value?


Why this is important

 
A workflow app is unlike many other types of Jira apps. As soon as you widen the use of workflows powered by an automation app, it is likely to remain in your instance for a while - as its usage increases, so does your dependency on it. Besides the available features, the Support services, pricing, and customer trust can all help you in making this important purchasing decision.

How JMWE addresses this

 
​JMWE was released as a paid app in 2013, and since then, it has successfully automated processes for millions of users. Focusing our feature development on usability, and the needs of our customers (and of course, customer feedback) is what drives us to do more. JMWE is currently installed in almost 20K instances. It powers about half of all Fortune 100 companies, and empowers many smaller teams. Our support is top-notch, which is evident by years of our 4-star reviews.

We hope you find our prices to be fair, and you can find them here: for Jira Server, Jira Data Center, Jira Cloud.

What our customers say

 
“We are getting more and more use out of the workflow extensions as we find creative ways to make workflows efficient for our teams.” - Rich Wolverton
 

 

 

In Summary...

Each team has different goals and priorities, and only you will be able to tell which workflow app is the best fit. However, we encourage you to give JMWE a try and see how its powerful and extensible features can help you make work flow.

JMWE offers configurable, no-code extensions, all extendable with simplified scripting. Without any coding experience, you can configure many use-cases, but with JMWE’s built-in scripting tools, even a scripting novice can extend even further and do almost anything. That’s why we consider JMWE to be an all-in-one app.

To learn more about JMWE, watch this 30-minute Product Demo - it is recorded in Jira Cloud, but core features work the same in Jira Server and Data Center.



If you find any inconsistencies in this list, or have suggestions, please email jmwe [at] innovalog [dot] com.