Are you into project management in Jira? Both BigPicture and Portfolio for Jira are capable of delivering a panorama, or big picture, of your organization. They are both powerful, agile and suitable for organizations of various sizes. They are, however, noticeably different and many businesses find one of the apps more useful than the other. So let’s compare Portfolio for Jira with Big Picture.
Since the apps have different logic, please treat this comparison as a draft and a starting point for your own tests.
Table 1: BigPicture vs. Portfolio for Jira
While BigPicture has similar functionalities across Cloud – Server – Data Center editions, Portfolio for Jira may differ across those hostings, so Portfolio for Jira Server has been taken into consideration here.
|BigPicture||Portfolio for Jira|
|In a nutshell||Versatile Project Portfolio Management app for short- and long-term planning. Serves both agile and waterfall projects. Has both proven and modern PM modules. Seamlessly integrates with Jira.||Portfolio for Jira is an agile roadmapping app, seamlessly integrated with Jira Software, that enables better visibility across planned work for your teams.|
Timeline view has basic functionalities of Gantt chart, especially with ‘Kanban’ selected in ‘Team scheduling methodology’ combo box. Alternatively, you could integrate Portfolio with Gantt module of BigGantt/BigPicture. How?
|Work Breakdown Structure||
Up to BigPicture 6 WBS is present within the Gantt chart module; in BigPicture 7 there is a standalone Scope component, in addition to the Gantt chart.
|Themes (high-level strategic focus areas to show teams where they should devote their time)|
|Are portfolio-, program- and project-level plans (roadmaps) linked together?|
lack of JQL filters, less developed admin section
|Sync- and re-sync with Jira|
|What-if scenarios (sandbox before committing changes)|
|Track progress of projects/programs|
|Focus on short-/long-term planning||both short- and long-term||both short- and long-term|
100 years is ok ;)
In version 3.x of the product, users are no longer solely reliant on Portfolio‘s scheduling algorithm to create their plans. Instead, they can manually assign dates for when they want issues to be worked on, expanding the planning horizon as far into the future as their plans take them.
|Additional levels of issue hierarchy, other than the standard triad of ‘epics, stories, subtasks’, e.g. you might want to add a custom, aggregating ‘Initiatives’ level, above ‘epics’||
|No of tasks/issues||unlimited||5000|
Plans can be created based on JQL queries, although Filters specifically are not supported.
|Dependencies between issues (e.g. task A blocks task B)|
Milestones are represented as Releases in Portfolio for Jira and translate to the Fix version in Jira Software.
In 2.x, Target Start/End dates can compare to actuals and original estimates can be designated and compared to actuals.
further developed in BigPicture 7
|Auto-scheduling||Some automatic scheduling options, such as resizing of parent tasks in ‘Auto’ mode on Gantt view, or keeping an eye on resource workload and dependencies.|
|Vacation plans||Substitute Vacation Plans with Holiday plans.||
by adding exceptions to team members
|Observable in||Gantt chart. A parent task makes a release.||You can view Releases under the “Releases” view as well as the “Scope/Roadmap view” (depending on the version of Portfolio you are using).|
Project management paradigms / methodologies
|Agile (Scrum & Kanban)|
|Mixed methodology teams (Scrum/Kanban)|
Team and program levels up to BigPicture 6; starting BigPicture 7 portfolio level, too.
for PI planning and additional breakdown of work
|Supported file types||mpp, mpx, pdf, xml, csv, xlsx, doc, docx (with BigTemplate – an extension of BigPicture)||html|
|Sample import/export features||With BigTemplate, an extension of BigPicture, you can export an entire project in MS Project native mpp/mpx formats or export individual issues to pdf, doc, docx files. You can also import MS Project mpp/mpx files.||Share a read-only link to a plan or embed an iframe.|
|Works with||Jira Software, Jira Core, Jira Service Desk||Jira Software|
|Hosting types||Cloud, Server, Data Center||Cloud, Server, Data Center|
Business data & Pricing
|Jira Server, 100 users, Atlassian Marketplace||$2000/instance/year||$4750/instance/year|
|Jira Cloud, 11-100 users tier, Atlassian Marketplace||$2.8/user/month||$3.5/user/month|
|Available through||Atlassian Marketplace, Atlassian Solution Partners||Atlassian Marketplace, Atlassian Solution Partners|
|User rating (stars)||3.2/4||2.6/4|
|Atlassian Top vendor||n/a|
An effort was made to gather accurate data, but these apps are sometimes incomparable. Data current at the time of writing. Help improve the table – e-mail marketing (a) softwareplant.com.
What do the users say?
This is one characteristic review from Atlassian Marketplace:
With Portfolio you’re big on agile Planning, period. In BigPicture, however, while the app extensively supports SAFe®, you can still practice the proven waterfall methodology. Check this article, especially the ‘BigPicture’ and ‘Portfolio’ sections for better understanding of Peter’s review.
App selection at HP
The need: Support quarterly roadmap planning.
Two apps reached the final round: BigPicture and Portfolio for Jira. We are using BigPicture to plan our R&D department development cycles. Also, teams’ capacity planning features help us to better plan sprints and avoid overloading of resources. In addition, support is fast and committed. I would recommend this app for any company that needs great planning tools over Jira.
How to select the right Jira app?
Atlassian Summit presentation
DevOps Manager | HP Indigo
Atlassian User Group Leader
What does plain Jira deliver?
Let’s quote an excellent thread from Atlassian forum: Jira (Core) is an issue tracker. Jira Agile is an add-on for the core Jira that enables Agile functionality such as boards (Scrum and Kanban), sprints and sprint planning, reporting associated with Agile and so on. More on what Jira Agile can and cannot do.
We’ve seen clients trying both BigPicture and Portfolio before they would eventually commit to one of them. The user interface is polished in both but differs noticeably. It’s worth noting that thanks to its Gantt chart module only one of the tools is both agile- and waterfall-friendly and, according to a recent research1, the vast majority of world’s business is still waterfall to some extent.
1 PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2017®. Project Management Institute, Newtown Square, PA, U.S.A.
Next-gen projects – how good are they, and do BigPicture, BigGantt support them? More.
BigPicture has now the ‘Extra Working days’, if you occasionally work on Saturdays or Sundays. Find the feature in Holiday Plans – see a tutorial.
We’ve been doing custom development for years, but have now released its official guide. Need a new feature in BigPicture/BigGantt? You’ve got options.
See you in:
- Las Vegas for Atlassian Summit, Mar 31 – Apr 2, 2020
- Tallinn for Atlassian in Baltics, Apr 23, 2020
- The Hague at European SAFe Summit, Jun 10-11, 2020