Aug 17

Redesigned Gantt charts in BigPicture 8 and BigGantt 5

Gantt chart 2.0 BigPicture BigGanttWhether you call them ‘2nd generation’ or merely ‘redesigned’, Gantt charts in BigPicture and BigGantt underwent a major overhaul. Highly demanded new features, such as what-if scenarios, are one big thing. Nicer look&feel is another pro. On top of that are performance improvements – new Gantt charts 2.0 do all the computing more efficiently; hence they work faster.

Surprise: you might have seen the new Gantt chart already. The Alpha version has been on the market for a while in late BigPicture 7 and BigGantt 4, accessible through the ‘magic’ violet button near the top-left corner of the “classic” Gantt charts. However, the fully functional second-generation Gantt charts are to see daylight beginning BigPicture ver. 8 and BigGantt ver. 5.

Best Gantt chart for Jira?

It’s no secret the competition is especially fierce in the ‘Gantt charts for Jira’ category on Atlassian Marketplace. Several sophisticated plugins coexist, with BigPicture being distinctively different in that it is a multi-tool environment – Gantt charts, Resources, Board, Roadmap, Risks, Calendar, to name just a few. Have a look at this datasheet. Now, the Gantt charts have been in the heart of BigPicture (and BigGantt) since the birth of our plugins. Therefore, we would be the last ones to retreat, and so we’re releasing redesigned, modern, and mature Gantt charts in 2020.

Here’s a quick overview of what to expect:

Scenarios

With what-if scenarios – clone your baseline schedule and play with it in the sandbox mode. Create optimistic and pessimistic variants, before you finally merge one of them with the ‘production’ timeline of the Gantt chart module. If you’re more a product owner than a project manager, you could use Scenarios to compare an MVP variant of your product with a loaded one.

Infobar

A sliding, right-side-of-the-screen tabbed pane with four mini-reports:

  • inter-task dependencies
  • overdue tasks
  • milestones
  • tasks on a project’s critical path

BigPicture and BigGantt are becoming increasingly portfolio-oriented. In a massive project, the Infobar can quickly enumerate, say, five tasks, that need attention, because they are overdue at the moment. Wouldn’t those four mini-reports be helpful in your undertakings? Have a look at this screenshot:

Gantt chart 2.0 in BigPicture 8 and BigGantt 5

The hideable Infobar (right) of the new Gantt chart 2.0 module has four tabs (mini-reports): Dependencies, Overdue tasks, Milestones, Critical path. Regarding Scenarios, see this article.

Mini-map, improved performance and more

Other than the landmark Scenarios and Infobar there are several other newly added features in the redesigned Gantt chart 2.0:

  • Mini-map, bird's-eye view in Gantt chart 2.0

    Fig. 2 Click the ‘map’ button (bottom-right corner) for the big picture of your project, program, or product.

    mini-map for the bird’s-eye view on the whole project or portfolio. Why the mini-map? Since relatively hard-coded programs are being replaced with more powerful [Boxes] in BigPicture 8 and BigGantt 5, you might now be dealing with more complex portfolios. This mini-map would allow for natural orientation in such complicated environments. Have a look at figure 2.

  • you can enable both PI (Program Increment) and Iteration overlay on the new Gantt chart’s timeline; as opposed to the iteration-only overlay in the first generation Gantt chart
  • enjoy context menus, more. Sample use: right-click a bar in the Gantt chart to change the status of a task from ‘In progress’ to ‘Done’.
  • determine extras that accompany the bars on the Gantt timeline, see fig. 3
  • also: click a bar on the timeline for a bubble with task detail view, see fig. 3
  • plenty of UX improvements, such as ‘Zoom in/out’ buttons. Locate them in the top right corner of figure 4. While there, notice how tasks grouping was redesigned
  • even more important: the new Gantt chart 2.0 is faster than its predecessor :) Tasks are being dynamically added to the workspace, as you scroll complex charts vertically or horizontally

Note: some of these features are only available in BigPicture and not in BigGantt. Also, certain items from the list will initially be available in the Server and Data Center editions of BigPicture and BigGantt; only later for the Cloud hosting.

Gantt chart 2.0 custom task bar, task detail bubble

Fig. 3 Display or hide Key, Summary, Start and end dates, as well as Assignee next to the bars. Click a bar for a bubble with a task’s details.

Conclusion

BigPicture 8 (and to a certain extent the corresponding BigGantt 5) is a landmark edition. It focuses on big things, such as Portfolio management [Boxes] and integrations with external instances of Jira, Trello, Azure DevOps, and Rally. However, it does also deliver new modules such as the Gantt chart 2.0 and Calendar.

 

New way of tasks grouping in the Gantt chart of BigPicture 8 and BigGantt 5

Fig 4. Improved UX, such as the quickly accessible Zoom in/out buttons, as well as flexible task grouping. Note that you can change the order of items you are grouping by.

 

The good news

Sep 2020
The integration with Trello arriving in BigPicture 8, paves the way for BP to “umbrella portfolio management” league. Let teams in your organization enjoy the tools they love, yet keep an eye on the big picture with Gantt charts, Roadmaps, Program Boards that BigPicture has. More on the new Trello-BigPicture interface.

Sep 2020
The release of BigPicture 8 is fast approaching. So far, we’ve debated on new features version 8 is bringing, such as [Boxes], new Gantt chart 2.0, and Scenarios. Let’s have a closer look at the practical aspect – how to upgrade to BigPicture 8 if you’re on version 7.

Aug 2020
Lately, there seems to be a trend of letting teams keep the tools they love. At this point ‘umbrella’ portfolio management software must step in. Umbrella-style BigPicture 8 has flexible [Boxes] rather than programs, and these boxes can source tasks from Trello and Jira Cloud/Server instances. Azure DevOps and Rally integrations will follow. Check CEO’s, PM’s, team member’s, and admin’s perspectives on BigPicture 8.

Upcoming events

See you at:

  • Global SAFe Summit in Denver, Sep 23-24, 2020

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.