BigPicture board view

BigPicture as a complete PMO solution for Jira

BigPicture as a complete PMO solution for Jira 1935 810 Tom Pabich
BigPicture board view

Jira is great in many fields. I am a big fan of this software. It is a fantastic bug tracker (that’s where it grew from), and in general a super-useful tool for IT and software teams, it has workflow capabilities, which makes it great at managing business processes too, it allows you to track your progress in agile methodologies, it even gives you a powerful ITSM tool, certified and all. But if Jira allows you to do all that, then obviously it means, that it will be used by big companies to manage complex tasks. Tasks that build upon each other, over and over, creating projects, portfolios, programs. How does the software manage that? Well, let’s have a look, before we explore how BigPicture can remedy that.

What can you get from basic Jira?

The basic version of Jira theoretically allows you to manage your projects in some way. And if you know Jira a little bit, you might be thinking: “Right, Jira has an element called Project, so that’s probably it!”. Nope, a Project in Jira is simply speaking just a bag for your tickets. It envelops them allowing to configure some specific functionalities around them, but that’s it. So don’t confuse Jira’s Project with anything even remotely resembling project management. What I’m thinking about are:

  • place to keep your project documentation,
  • project charter, info, description, whatever you want to call it,
  • project plan ,
  • Work Breakdown Structure with Gantt (for waterfall management),
  • sprints management (for agile),
  • resources management,
  • risk management,
  • budget management.

These are more or less the basics. You might go harder or softer on some of these points, depending on what kind of project you are thinking about, you might want to add to the list as well, but the majority of PMO implementations in Jira is contained within these 8 bullet points.

Now, Jira does great at few of them, and so-so or terrible at others. For example you can store your documentation in Jira. It’s not perfect, but is enough in many cases (more demanding companies might want to look into Confluence). It allows you to create project charters, project plans (and other elements of your project deliverables that might be considered a document or a ticket with defined data fields and parameters), it gives you a simple structure that can be used for agile purposes, it can be configured to manage risks as well. Even very simple budgeting can be achieved, if you are flexible enough and maybe employ a reporting add-on. But even if you configure Jira to provide you these functionalities, they will not be intuitive and easy to use for an average user. The what and how will be tricky and will require training. There is a better way…

How to get more out of it? Use BigPicture!

Among Jira add-ons there are solutions that provide you with an additional set of tools for your project management. If you search the Atlassian’s marketplace you will find a lot of them, but there is only a handful of those, that can fight for the top spot. Out of them, BigPicture by SoftwarePlant is definitely the wisest choice right now. It has been on the market long enough to prove it’s usefulness and it is the most popular project management add-on currently, and still going strong.

You can think of BigPicture as an additional layer to Jira, a software that extends Jira’s functionality, providing you with the features that you’ve wished for, like a Gantt chart, a multi-team agile view, resources management, risks, and everything prepared thoughtfully and with a familiar, neat look-and-feel.

Whatever methodology you’re using, BigPicture saves the day. It mostly shines when it comes to waterfall projects (Gantt tab, scope tab) and SAFe approach (board tab, roadmap tab), but agile practitioners will also find it very useful (board again). Resources view on the other hand can be utilized in every scenario, and is very popular among BigPicture users. It gives you a way to see your resources by time planned, or by story points. You immediately see who is overbooked, and who’s not. You can drag and drop tasks to another person, and on top of that you can also do the initial planning by teams, before you get down to assigning specific users to tasks. Oh, and by the way, you can also define holiday plans, workload plans, assign people to projects for a specific percentage of their time, and even define individual productivity multipliers for overachievers, or sluggers. How does that sound?

If you were thinking about getting your risks under control with a matrix view, possibly also a heat map and customizable risk card attributes, BigPicture can help as well. It’s simple, intuitive, yet powerful at the same time. A perfect place to go during status meetings, or risk reviews.

Constant development is the way to go

It’s not perfect though, that is why SoftwarePlant’s team is constantly working on the solution, to bring you even more great features. What I’m missing the most currently, is the proper program and portfolio management. It can be done to some extent, but that is not enough to satisfy everyone. You are allowed to build extended structure of basically unlimited steps, which gives you a possibility to define programs and portfolios and separate Jira issue types, but I personally still look at it as a workaround and I’m eagerly awaiting a dedicated solution, that I know is under construction. Can’t wait!

And this brings us to the most important feature of BigPicture. I know that there is a team of dedicated people working everyday on it, to make it even better. There is no other PMO add-on on the marketplace that is growing so rapidly and adding o many new functionalities every year. Just a few weeks back we got a brand new board tab (Board 2.0 as the call it, still in Beta version as of today), and it rocks. This knowledge gives me a peace of mind, that neither me, nor my clients will be left hanging dry in 1 or 2 years time, after investing money in the tool. Oh, and the support is quick to react as well, which definitely is an additional bonus!

Like BigPicture? Try it!

I know it might sound too perfect, but it’s no joke. I have been heavily involved with project management add-ons in Jira for a long time, and I’m telling you – this is a go-to add-on. We are using it ourselves every day, we are recommending it to our clients, partners, everyone who wants to listen basically, because we believe in what it is, and in what it will still become in the future. I like working with passionate people, those who feel the mission to make something great, and since I know the people responsible for creating this gem, I know I can trust them to do even better with every next version.

If I’ve managed to awake your curiosity, have a look at the add-on on the marketplace and check it out yourself. You can get a free trial and play with it. You can also sign up for a webinar, and ask questions if you have any. I’m sure the team will be happy to answer them.

If you like it, and want to implement it in your company, you might want to assure a smooth adoption with a training. We are providing probably the best BigPicture trainings out there, with tons of examples, tips and tricks. You can opt for a full online training, or the one with a trainer, who will also answer all your questions. Definitely check out our offer.

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