Jira and Trello are leaving Russia. Which task tracker should I switch to without pain, so that the statuses and responsible people are preserved?

Software developer Atlassian, which owns Trello and Jira, will begin disabling accounts registered from Russia and Belarus from the services. The company announced this in a mailing list for users a few days ago. What to do for those whose processes are tied to these services?

We are sad, but we do not lose heart

We are sad, but we do not lose heart

Hi all! My name is Sasha Kombarov and I recently transferred a team of 50 people from Trello to a domestic equivalent. I will tell you what problems we encountered, what were the analogues and why you will never find the perfect tracker. In general, our personal experience. By the way, that is why we have developed an add-on for the tracker: a system for calculating the effectiveness of performers and projects – Reporter.


From the founding of the company in 2017 until 2022, they worked at Trello, a simple and convenient task tracker. In Trello, you can create spaces, boards, and tasks as much as you like, add artifacts to tasks, checklists, track the progress of a task. But there was and is no time tracking for tasks. Accordingly, the manager had to manually calculate the resources expended for each project, which took a lot of resources, was not always accurate, and it was not possible to see the report and the effectiveness of the projects at the moment. As the number of projects grew, we realized that this needs to be automated 🙂

Yes, we looked at alternatives before all these events.

Yes, we looked at alternatives before all these events.

We have collected the main requirements that we would like from the tracker:

  • Kanban board;

  • You can add materials and checklists to the task;

  • The performer can automatically and manually log the time;

  • Automatic calculation of planned and spent hours for the reporting period;

  • Calculation of the effectiveness of completed tasks;

  • List of completed tasks;

  • Reports of executors for the day;

  • Separation of access rights for managers and performers.

We began to add services that could suit us into a Google spreadsheet. At different times we tried YouTrack, Toggl and GanttPRO. It didn’t work.

Moving to a domestic tracker

In March 2022, Trello lost the ability to add new users, and it also became impossible to pay for foreign services with Russian bank cards. Because of all the dances with a tambourine, the cost has approximately doubled.

In the same 2022, there were first rumors that services for Russian companies would be turned off, so we decided to look for domestic alternatives. The choice fell on Kaiten, as he was one of our table most suitable for us.

I must say right away that we did not collect all the things and moved to a new instrument with the whole company. We first decided to test it with a team of volunteers, moving their work to Kaiten. When we made sure that the guys can use the necessary functions and work comfortably, we pulled up all the other teams.

You can import cards from Trello or Jira into current statuses, and then link artists to them in just a few steps:

1. Create a space and start importing cards from another system

1. Create a space and start importing cards from another system

2. Choose from where you will import

2. Choose from where you will import

3. Log in to the system and select the board you want to transfer to the space

3. Log in to the system and select the board that you want to transfer to the space

4. Set column types so that they are sorted properly from Trello or Jira

4. Set column types so that they are sorted properly from Trello or Jira

5. Match users from Trello or Jira and Kaiten

5. Match users from Trello or Jira and Kaiten

6. You are great

6. You are great

So, we moved, let’s move on 🙂

Organization of team work

For each new project, we form a separate project team led by a manager. But, importantly, a manager can manage 4-5 projects at the same time.

To visualize this, we have created separate spaces in Kaiten for each project. All these spaces were created according to the same pattern:

  • On the left in the space there is an “Info” board, in the cards of which there is all the information on the project with links to documents and other necessary files.

  • Next to it – “Tasks” – the main board of the project team. According to all kanban canons, tasks move through stages from left to right. These are the columns: “Queue”, “In Progress”, “In Check”, “Checked”. For each iteration, we made separate tracks – it’s much easier to track the effectiveness of work.

  • On the right is the “Archive” board. Cards can be archived in Kaiten so that finished tasks do not take up space on the board, but are stored in a special place in space. The team and I created a separate board, which we also called the archive, in order to more conveniently interact with completed tasks. Completed cards lie on it for a while before automatically flying into the space archive.

This is what the task board looks like

This is what the task board looks like

Inside the cards, we use almost all available fields to describe the task, visualize all the important information and avoid unnecessary communications. For example, we always put down the size of the task, put labels, write a description of the task, indicate the deadline, add participants and assign a responsible employee.

Separately, I note the checklists. A card can have several checklists at once. Some of them can be templates, some guys create according to their personal needs individually for each task. For example, one checklist describes the business logic of how a task should be done, and the other is a test case that governs the interaction between the tester and the developer.

This is what the challenge card looks like.

This is what the challenge card looks like.

To make it convenient for the manager to manage all his projects, he can switch between spaces using the side menu. So, with a single glance at the board, it will be clear at what stage the tasks are, what a particular employee does, and how checklists are closed.

By the way, we use user groups to regulate access to different spaces. For example, if a new manager comes to us, it will be enough to add him to the admin group so that the new employee automatically gets access to the necessary spaces.

The most important feature is the time tracker

Time tracking is the function for which this move to the new service was started. It was vital for us to fix the time of work with tasks in order to make the process transparent, and later to understand the profitability of projects and the efficiency of employees.

Inside the card there is a special field where we set the size – we indicate the number of hours that the employee has planned to solve the problem.

As soon as the task is taken into work, the performer starts the timer and writes in a special field what exactly he was doing at that time.

I’ll immediately note one point – it is extremely important to agree with team members so that they mark their real work time with tasks. Management should explain that you are not playing FSB agents or Big Brother for total control or punishment.

Your goal is to build a transparent and convenient workflow in order to properly balance the workload between employees and earn more.

Later, all this is formed into a report on the actual time spent. I or the project manager can look at the report at any time and analyze how much time was spent on a particular task or the project as a whole. For example, if we initially planned 100 hours, but ended up working 130 hours, then something went wrong – the project is unprofitable, there are problems in work or employees worked inefficiently, etc.

In addition, such a detailed time tracking helps to estimate how much resources we spend on typical tasks. Therefore, if the next time on this or another project we perform a similar task, we will be able to accurately estimate its size.

Detailed by elapsed time

Detailed by elapsed time

Inside the card, you can see if a particular employee worked the norm of hours per week and what exactly he did.

Reporter – what are you

A year ago, performers sent daily reports to the manager in the messenger. Now it even somehow sounds wild, but in this way we were sure that time would definitely not be lost, plus it disciplined colleagues.

It looked like this

It looked like this

Kaiten automated this a bit, all you had to do was go to the dashboard and copy the tasks.

I was preparing a description of the tasks for our small service, which would allow us to view reports for each day on one page, track the effectiveness of projects and performers. This would allow not to send daily reports.

But we have an intermediate stage. One of the developers integrated with Kaiten and made a page with reports for each day. He named it succinctly – Reporter. I like it 🙂

The very first version of Reporter

The very first version of Reporter

We decided to first use “programming design” and generate the reports we need as quickly as possible, and then refresh both the design and the front.

Despite the fact that the timer itself is conveniently arranged in Kaiten and all data is collected in different types of reports, we lacked convenient visualization. It was a chore to download reports in Excel and manually extract the necessary data.

And since we are developers who wanted to automate everything to the maximum, we decided to adapt the reporting system for ourselves (fortunately, Kaiten has an open and quite convenient API). This is how the special plugin Reporter appeared.

What kind of animal is this Reporter and what can he do?

1. Generate a daily report for the selected employee.

The plugin loads data from Kaiten and shows all hours spent by an employee and comments on them in one click. The report is available to both performers and managers.

2. Show the efficiency of the performers as a percentage.

On this page, the manager or I can track the ratio of the planned and actual time spent by the employee. You can view data for all projects or select one specific one. The report also shows how many hours the developer has been active in the service.

3. Generate statistics for all employees.

For example, how many hours they worked on a particular day or see detailed information about each.

5. Show general statistics for the project.

Reporter extracts data on all tasks in the project space and compares the plan and the actual for the planned and spent time for the project. It also shows the progress of the project — how many tasks are in the queue, in progress and ready.

Well, as without a dark theme, many appreciated it.

We made a dark theme for our favorite art director :)

We made a dark theme for our favorite art director 🙂

Reporter has helped streamline the process of capturing data on project work, which in turn has led to better control of performance within the team.

Touched Rustore and uploaded Reporter there

Touched Rustore and uploaded Reporter there

Our interim results

Sometimes I read stories of teams rioting when management asks them to keep track of time. In these cases, it seems to me that the point is not in the tool, but in its proper use and the moral preparation of employees. Personally, we approached the issue of moving seriously and prepared the ground for the team to make it easier for the guys to adapt:

  • We talked with the team and explained why we need to take into account the time and how this will improve the work of the web studio.

  • We wrote the rules of work in the new tool and talked about the main features.

  • We made a small FAQ of our own and held several meetings with the development of questions.

Of course, we have not done without rough edges – it is impossible to get used to something new without them. But they also became the impetus for the development of Reporter, which facilitated and made the workflow even more transparent.

A year after switching to the tracker, I can confidently say that it was the right decision – we grew by ~ 30%. The quality of setting and monitoring tasks has become higher. We understand where and how much time is spent on a project. This data helps you keep track of how much resources are actually spent on development and make a sound assessment of your capabilities. Thus, we can more accurately set the deadlines for working on the project and not be afraid of fakups.

Well, one more conclusion – do not chase two rabbits at once 🙂 Choose what is more important for you, and then select a service. Better with an API so that you can expand it for yourself after some time.

Moved from Jira or Trello? What task/time tracker do you use? Do you consider efficiency and profitability?

Share in the comments 🙂

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