The Benefits and Challenges of Migrating from Rally to Jira

Rally (formerly CA Agile Central) is a powerful project management software tool that offers an effective method for organizing and tracking iterative tasks and projects in an agile environment. However, many users find that their unique agile journey requires more flexibility than is built into Rally. This is especially true as their agile development starts to scale beyond a handful of close-knit teams.

At that point, many organizations have chosen to move to Atlassian’s Jira line of project management and issue ticketing solutions. This is a great choice because Jira offers all the core capabilities of Rally, but in a much more flexible framework that’s built for scaling and customizing to better fit unique circumstances. But, as they start planning the move, they discover that migrating from Rally to Jira is anything but a quick and simple process.

If you’re currently at that crossroads — needing to migrate from Rally to Jira, but not completely confident in how to proceed — this primer is for you.

Why Migrate From Rally to Jira?

First, let’s consider some reasons you may want or need to migrate from Rally to Jira:


The key difference between Rally and Jira is flexibility.

Rally was designed specifically to facilitate agile software development, and its capabilities surround that specific discipline only. Jira was also originally designed with agile software development in mind, but its broader range of features and an extensive library of add-ons make it the preferred solution for agile project management in many industries.

As a result, organizations that are pursuing true business agility will find Jira to be a far more effective option because all business units will be able to rely on one unified source of truth.


Both Rally and Jira offer robust dashboards and agile reporting functionality. Both can be set up for management at the Portfolio and Enterprise levels. And, as already noted, if agile software development is the only discipline you’re concerned with, both solutions are fully capable.

Rally excels at sprint management and offers more automation within its feature set.

Jira is the more well-rounded option. Its biggest strengths lie in the roadmapping capabilities and custom workflow engine. With over 1,000 plug-and-play add-ons available at the Atlassian Marketplace, it’s easier to customize Jira to fit your exact needs.

Ease of use

Rally is known for its excellent customer support and plenty of training videos that can help with onboarding and get new users up to speed quickly. It’s also considered more intuitive from the outset, with a simpler initial implementation process. For small software startups and users brand new to agile, it may be the better first choice.

While Jira also offers customer support and training, once users are onboarded and working with the solution, it’s considered more user-friendly and intuitive. Plus, the community of users is larger so there are plenty of other sources for help beyond the solution’s developers.

Additionally, many users you have worked with both solutions have found Jira to be more user-friendly and intuitive. Of course, that’s subjective. TrustRadius offers comprehensive user feedback comparing the solutions across many factors.

What Challenges Arise When Migrating Data From Rally to Jira?

Once you’ve decided to migrate from Rally to Jira, you have a formidable set of challenges to face:

Time and cost

While it may seem straightforward — pull the data from Rally, upload it to Jira — migration between the platforms can be difficult. As a result, nearly everyone who decides to move ahead with a migration underestimates the amount of time and related costs it will require.

In our experience, a simple Rally-to-Jira migration will take three or four weeks. A more complex migration, such as that required for a large development organization that’s been using Rally for years, can take three or four months.


The reason a migration takes so much time is because it’s just not as simple as it seems like it should be. Rally and Jira don’t play nicely together, so data migration is complicated, with plenty of room for error. Here are just some of the issues you’re likely to face:

Data Issues

For one thing, if you’ve been taking advantage of even a fraction of what Rally is capable of, there’s a lot of data to contend with. The sheer volume alone creates headaches and lots of room for error.

But, even if your volume of data is relatively small, the datasets created and used by the two platforms are quite different. So, it’s not possible to simply download the information from Rally, upload it to Jira, and call it a day. As a result, it’s frighteningly easy to lose ticket relationships, data hierarchies, and other vital aspects of the complete dataset.

You’ll be able to quickly download a snapshot or summary of the Rally data via your browser or a Microsoft Excel add-in created for that purpose. But, that snapshot will not include all the available data fields, meaning you’re losing potentially critical information.

One example of that vital information: attachments of Rally tickets. In order to extract all the documents, screenshots, and various other files you’ve attached to your tickets in Rally, you’ll have to work through web services or custom APIs — there’s no other option.

Additionally, mapping all the Rally fields and configuration settings to where they need to be housed in Jira is no small task. It requires extensive knowledge and experience with both platforms — a skillset few migrating organizations possess.

Maintaining ticket relationships and data hierarchies is also extremely important for a complete data set and to maintain data integrity, and also requires the use of web services or custom APIs to extract and maintain in a usable format.

Configuration and Mapping

Additionally, mapping all the Rally fields and configuration settings to where they need to be housed in Jira is no small task. It requires extensive knowledge and experience with both platforms — a skillset few migrating organizations possess.

Data Changes

And, it’s important to remember that no organization can afford to completely shut down for however long it takes to move project data, test the results, and ramp up on a new platform. Work still has to be done. As a result, not only are resources stretched thin, but the data is continuously changing on one or the other system throughout the migration period.

Training and Onboarding

Finally, if and when you finish your DIY migration, you’ll need to coordinate Jira onboarding and training for everyone who will be using it.

Because of all these complexities, many organizations rely on professional help to handle their Rally-to-Jira migration.

How to Successfully Migrate From Rally to Jira

Moving is one of the most stressful situations you can face. If you’ve ever needed to rely on yourself, family members, or a few close friends to handle a move, you probably agree it’s possible, but it’s a tremendous amount of work. And something always goes wrong.

Cprime Atlassian Migrations

That’s why professional movers exist: they have the tools, skills, and experience to do the job quickly, efficiently, and correctly. It’s still a huge job, but it’s not nearly as overwhelming with professional help.

Similarly, tapping a pro to handle your data migration makes good sense. In many cases, the cost of hiring professionals is offset by the money saved in delays and error-correction you won’t need to deal with. And, it can make an otherwise stressful and frustrating experience much smoother, so your teams can stay focused on what they do best.

Contact the experts at Cprime today to discuss our full-service data migration solutions, including migrating from Rally to Jira.

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Pavel Fomin, Director of Engineering, Cloud Migrations
Pavel Fomin, Director of Engineering, Cloud Migrations