Sep 11
Big Picture 7 for Jira

BigPicture 7. What’s changing?

Are you using Jira for managing projects? BigPicture version 7 is coming this year. What’s new and how to upgrade from BigPicture 6?

BigPicture is one of the most popular Project Portfolio Management plugins for Jira. It features resource, roadmapping, risks, teams, the Gantt chart modules and is SAFe compliant. It’s been a year and a half since the launch of BigPicture 6. What’s changing in BigPicture 7.0?

BigPicture 7 calendar

* September 2018 – first release

** October 2018

*** Spring 2019 – more features

(1) New roadmap *

Planning

BigPicture 7 Server boasts a new SAFe compliant roadmap. The current, BP6 roadmap, however, proved so popular that it remains available in the “Boards” tab. The new, BP7 roadmap may look familiar to Cloud users, as it has been present on Cloud for some time.

How better is the BP7 roadmap?
  • it facilitates both strategic and tactical and operational planning
  • how? By allowing a user to set goals both on the Program Increment and Sprint levels
  • goals can be set for individual teams or for a program as a whole
  • drill down the BP7 roadmap to get a detailed picture of a Sprint
  • drill up the new roadmap to get a bird’s eye view of the upcoming 1-3-6-12 months or more
  • set task-based goals or the so-called artificial goals. The artificial goals tend to be utilized for more general, tactical or strategic planning

With the BP6 roadmap, while Sprints do function, there are no artificial goals (all goals are effectively tasks), no long-term, PI level goals and little aggregation of Sprints into Program Increments.

BP6 roadmap. Still available as board in BP 7

Roadmap in BigPicture

The BP6 roadmap remains available in BP 7 in the “Boards” section.

 

BP7 roadmap

BigPicture 7 roadmap

The new roadmap, designed with SAFe in mind, is available in BigPicture 7.

 

(2) New Scope module *

Operations

The Scope tool is a tree structure of tasks – a decomposition of work to be done. The thing is well known in the project management world as Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Although the WBS has been present as part of the Gantt chart module in BigPicture 6, we decided to include the entirely new WBS tool in BigPicture 7.

Within SoftwarePlant we interchangeably call the new tool “Scope”, “Overview”, “Structure” or “WBS”.

Work Breakdown Structure, Scope Big Picture 7

Scope module of BigPicture 7.

(3) Skill planner **

Resource allocation

BigPicture 7.0 allows you to assign skills to a task. Then the resource module will:

  • show allocation, underallocation and overallocation of various skills** based on data from individual tasks
  • on the same screen you’ll see the allocation of teams and team members, as in BigPicture 6
Skills in Big Picture 7

Skills allocation in the resource module of BigPicture 7. Observe the two red ellipses.

 

Skills needed to complete a task. Jira BigPicture 7

Skills needed to complete a task can be assigned to that task in BigPicture 7.

 

(4) User-configurable risk cards *

Drag&drop fields to customize the layout of cards in the risk module of BigPicture 7.

You could, for instance, add the ‘Baseline start date’ field to the layout to make it evident to everybody when a risk becomes current.

Configurable risk card in BigPicture 7

Drag&drop a field from the ‘Available fields’ section to customize the risk card’s template.

 

(5) Board 2.0 ***

Board 2.0 will arrive in Spring 2019. Project managers call the thing ‘Program board’.

Wait! Hasn’t the program board been a part of BigPicture for quite a while? Yes indeed, it has, but until BigPicture ver. 6.x that board was more about iteration planning. When it comes to the higher-level, Program Increment planning the new Program Board 2.0 in BigPicture 7 is your best bet.

We’ve followed SAFe’s recommendations for PI planning, when designing the new Program Board.

SAFe program board for Jira

The new SAFe compliant Program Board module is to debut in BigPicture later in 2018. Pictured is the Program Increment, or PI level of planning.

 

(6) Gantt chart 2.0 ***

Users have long asked for these: (1) Live Sync and (2) Sandbox Mode, a.k.a. what-if scenarios. The former will arrive in Spring 2019 in both BigPicture 7 and new BigGantt. The latter will be added later in 2019.

Live Sync, or collaborative editing, has to do with multi-user environments. When 10 or 30, or 100 users rely on the same Gantt chart, it’s important that everyone sees every change immediately. With the new Live Sync feature every single one of those users will see all activity in real time. No more hitting the refresh button and hoping nobody made any additional changes in the meantime.

The sandbox mode lets you create and test ‘alternate worlds’. You could later delete these alternative schedules, leaving the production timeline untouched. Or you could commit to one of them.

Gantt chart for Jira

Gantt chart module of BigPicture/BigGantt

 

What’s next? BigPicture 7.5

BigPicture 7.5 will debut in 2019 with its Portfolio Management module, also known as ‘SAFe full support’. Stay tuned.

 

How to upgrade from BigPicture 6 to BigPicture 7?

As we’ve gradually tested BP7’s features in live BP6 instances, with the new features hidden, we believe the transition between BigPicture 6 and BigPicture 7 will be seamless and trouble-free for nearly all users. Just download BigPicture 7 if you’re on Jira Server or upgrade if you use Jira Cloud.

Is the upgrade free of charge? Yes, for most users. Let’s look at various scenarios:

  • if you’re on Jira Cloud the upgrade is always free.
  • if you’re on Jira Server
    • and you purchased BigPicture up to one year ago – the upgrade is also free,
    • for those who obtained their Server licences before a year ago, the upgrade is also free if they have renewed
    • if you haven’t renewed maintenance for your BigPicture Server licence you can upgrade to BigPicture 7 at 50% of the current purchase price of BP 7.

Enjoy.

About The Author

Matthew has been answering project management related questions for the last 15 years. With his automotive background he goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.