Jira is the most prominent project and portfolio management software used among all development teams across the organization. It eases the project management lifecycle by tracking all the tasks in one place. Jira also ensures compliance with auditing evidence and enables accurate statistical analysis through pre-packed customizable charts and reports. To further boost the functionality and add more features to the Jira software, add-ons or plugins can be additionally installed. One such add-on is called BigPicture that allows users to perform high-level project governance, manage portfolios, and create reports.
In this article, you’ll learn about BigPicture and how it can be used with Jira to perform project management operations. You’ll also learn about various BigPicture modules and how to establish install Jira BigPicture installation.
Table of Contents
- A basic understanding of the need for project management.
Introduction to Jira
Jira is used for project management, issue tracking, and bug tracking tool designed to handle team coordination in agile software and business developments. Jira software was launched by an Australian company called Atlassian in 2002. Since then, more than 65,000 companies have been using Jira for its excellent flexibility and project management approach. Jira has everything you need to manage teams and projects. It is fully customizable to user needs like customizing the workflow, creating the issue types, and designing the issue operation screen as per the team requirements.
Jira is unique from other project management tools because of its various add-ons used for different operations that enhance the project workflow. Jira software allows users to integrate with external systems, provide a detailed overview of team activities, and update the current status and function of the team periodically. Jira is applicable across various groups of an organization like development teams, project management teams, testing teams, HR teams, etc. Atlassian is the official marketplace of Jira, where users can find various apps and add-ons that are used to enhance the functionality of Jira.
Key Features of Jira
- Project Management: Project management has five phases: conception and initiation, planning, execution, performance monitoring, and project close. In Jira, more than 1300 plugins or add-on features are readily available to enhance the functionality for every stage of a project. These inbuilt features of Jira make the project management lifecycle more flexible and straightforward to the users or teams.
- Agile Development: The agile methodology followed by Jira is an iterative approach to software development and project management that helps the team deliver results faster and reduce the cause of errors. This methodology also focuses on project transparency by keeping track of projects in real-time, updating on the success and failures of tasks when the projects are completed. This systematic procedure allows teams to be self-organized and act based on feedback.
- No-Code Automation: Jira’s automation engine speeds up the work by automating repetitive tasks, increasing productivity in the project lifecycle. This no-code automation feature lets users create automation rules in Jira irrespective of their coding or technical knowledge. Users can set the rules that trigger the automation process, like mailing the manager when the task is completed.
- Report and Dashboards: Reports help the team analyze the progressions of a project, track the issues and deliver real-time insights about the current status of a project. This feature allows teams to make data-driven decisions to predict future performance. Dashboard feature organizes reports and tracks achievements in a single view within a Jira workspace. Users can create multiple dashboards from different projects and generate one massive overview.
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Introduction to BigPicture
BigPicture is the most prominent web-based tool for project portfolio management. It was developed and released in the year of 2014 by SoftwarePlant. In Jira, BigPicture is used as an add-on that focuses on visual representation and aggregation of project management tasks. BigPicture allows users to perform various actions like planning and managing projects, supervising the performance, and tracking the project’s current state. Using BigPicture, the project head or project manager can coordinate resources and distribute work among various teams where each progress can be managed and tracked simultaneously. It helps in managing complex and intricate tasks effectively by optimizing the workflow, which results in increased productivity.
Key Modules in BigPicture
1. Gantt Module
Gantt is the Generalized Activity Normalization TimeTable that helps in efficient project time management by planning and scheduling tasks for the team. In the BigPicture, the Gantt module is used to prepare project schedules or road maps, control the project execution, and generate reports according to the progress of the projects. The above image is an example where you can see the Gantt view on the right side and the task view on the left side. It helps users view the task hierarchy with their respective visualization. Using the Gantt module, all the management operations can be done in a single workspace where a user can alter and track all the undertakings at any granular level.
2. Scope Module
It serves as BigPicture’s core module for project management since it is perfect for viewing and managing the work breakdown structure of a project. It also has a quick filter option where a user can aggregate the module according to specific parameters. The scope view or scope module looks the same as the task view in the Gantt module but provides an option for inline editing like arranging columns and switching between views.
3. Board Module
This module visualizes the cross-team dependencies of a particular task of a single project. Using the board view, managers can confirm that the team is working as per the plan and isn’t deviating from the standard workflow.
4. Resource Module
The resource module in BigPicture is built primarily for resource management in which project managers can ensure no one is under-allocated or overallocated with tasks. In the resource view chart, there are three color indicators — green, orange, and red. Green represents a user is correctly allocated with tasks according to their capacity, orange represents that the task allocation is slightly higher than the user’s capacity, and red represents under-allocated or overallocated with tasks. These color allocations are based on the estimates (time/week) that can be adjusted at the top of the screen.
5. Roadmap Module
This module helps a user to easily track the mission and objectives of the projects. The Roadmaps module also guides the team to be aware of the steps they are taking to achieve the results. Program managers can change the order of objectives manually or set statuses of the task as open, completed, failed, or abandoned directly in the road map module.
6. Teams Module
There are two types of teams in BigPicture — global team and program team. While the Global team members can work across any program or task, the program team members can only work exclusively for a specific program. Using this module, team managers can manage and organize the task’s starting date, ending date, skills, and availability of every member who belongs to the global and program teams.
7. Risks Module
This module allows users to create a risk matrix that helps them to manage and categorize risks based on the task’s severity. It can visualize the risk of the specific tasks based on the heat maps. The heat map shows the risk of the task in three different colors — green, orange, and red, which represents the risk level for the particular tasks.
8. Reports Module
In this module, by default, users are provided with five predefined reports: task per risk level, issue type per status, fix version per status, assignee per status, and priority per assignee. These reports can be swapped between different kinds of charts for better visualizations.
Pricing varies according to the three types of Jira subscription plans as follows:
- Jira Cloud
- Jira Server
- Jira Data Center
Depending on the size of the team or organization, users can subscribe to the respective plans accordingly. For more pricing details, you can visit the link.
Jira BigPicture Installation Setup
Here are the steps you can follow to set up Jira BigPicture installation:
Jira BigPicture Installation: Installing add-ons internally using Jira Software
- Open your Jira software and log in using an admin account for Jira BigPicture Setup.
- Go to the Jira administrator.
- Click on manage apps.
- Select Find New add-ons and search for BigPicture.
- Click on the ‘BigPicture – Project Management and PPM’ from the displayed options and install it.
Note: It is always advisable to install Jira BigPicture using Atlassian UPM (Universal Plugin Manager) that always installs the latest and most compatible versions with your Jira instance.
Jira BigPicture Installation: Manual Installation
The manual installation of Jira BigPicture can be done by installing the BigPicture add-on files separately. If your instance or computer is not connected to the Internet or when you want to test the specific version of the Jira BigPicture, you can use this method.
- You can visit the Atlassian marketplace website to find all the versions for a BigPicture add-on.
- Go to this website and choose your desired version of the Jira BigPicture Instance.
- Click on the version to expand its row and click download on the right-hand side.
- Now, the downloaded file is ready to be uploaded into the Jira instance.
- Go to Jira Administration and click on add-ons.
- Then click on manage add-ons.
- Select upload add-on on the right-hand side.
- Now, the add-on is ready to use on your Jira software.
In this article, you have learned about the basic features and functions of the BigPicture add-on. It adds more value to the Jira software by generating project reports that help in effective resource governance and constructive risk management. However, Jira has many advanced features like automated forecasting and scenario planning that deliver end-to-end project management. By combining Jira BigPicture, users or project managers can confine the reports of a project to make it look better and present it effectively.
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