Aug 12

BigPicture vs. Portfolio for Jira. Two Giants compared

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.

Modules

Roadmapping (planning) yes yes
Gantt chart yes yes
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?
Risks yes
Resources yes yes
Teams yes yes
Work Breakdown Structure yes
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.
yes
Reporting yes yes
Themes (high-level strategic focus areas to show teams where they should devote their time) yes
Budgets

Selected functionalities

Are portfolio-, program- and project-level plans (roadmaps) linked together? yes yes
Customizability yesyes yes
lack of JQL filters, less developed admin section
Sync- and re-sync with Jira yes yes
What-if scenarios (sandbox before committing changes) yes
Track progress of projects/programs yes yes
Focus on short-/long-term planning both short- and long-term both short- and long-term
Planning horizon unlimited
100 years is ok ;)
unlimited
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’ yes
unlimited
yes
unlimited
No of tasks/issues unlimited 5000
JQL filters yes yes
Plans can be created based on JQL queries, although Filters specifically are not supported.
Dependencies between issues (e.g. task A blocks task B) yes yes
Markers yes
Milestones yes yes
Milestones are represented as Releases in Portfolio for Jira and translate to the Fix version in Jira Software.
Baselines yes yes
In 2.x, Target Start/End dates can compare to actuals and original estimates can be designated and compared to actuals.
Drag&drop tasks yes yes

Resource planning

Skills yes
further developed in BigPicture 7
yes
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. yes
Story points yes yes
Workload plans yes yes
Capacity planning yes yes
Holiday plans yes yes
Vacation plans Substitute Vacation Plans with Holiday plans. yes
by adding exceptions to team members

Releases (Versions)

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).
Cross-project releases yes yes

Project management paradigms / methodologies

Agile (Scrum & Kanban) yes yes
Mixed methodology teams (Scrum/Kanban) yes yes
SAFe® yes

Team and program levels up to BigPicture 6; starting BigPicture 7 portfolio level, too.

yes
for PI planning and additional breakdown of work
Waterfall yes yes

Import/export features

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.

Requirements

Works with Jira Software, Jira Core, Jira Service Desk Jira Software
Hosting types Cloud, Server, Data Center Cloud, Server, Data Center

Business data & Pricing

Launched 2014 2014
Jira Server, 100 users, Atlassian Marketplace $1500/instance $4130/instance
Jira Cloud, 11-100 users tier, Atlassian Marketplace $2.5/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
Developer SoftwarePlant Atlassian
Atlassian Top vendor yes n/a

Try free

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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.

pdf

How to select the right Jira app?
Atlassian Summit presentation

Gal Fatal

Gal Fatal
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.

Conclusion

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.

 

The good news
Aug 2019
BigPicture 7.4 for Jira Server, Data Center and Cloud is now live. It has new Quick assignee, Multi-select, and Time Tracking (Spent) features, among others.
July 2019
New Reporting component for BigPicture 7.3 and the corresponding version of BP Enterprise is scheduled for a release in July. Pie and column charts, as well as spreadsheet-style reports,  will be available – more.

Upcoming events

See you in:

  • San Diego for SAFe Summit, Sep 29 – Oct 4
  • Paris during Valiantys Enterprise Day, Oct 17

Complete calendar

About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.