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Aug 06

All-in-one App for Jira? Supplementing What Jira is Missing Most

All-in-one, lite app for Jira

Users indicate Jira’s two major drawbacks – little visualization and missing “management umbrella”. Many point out that these shortages are so deeply embedded in Jira, that they will likely remain for years to come. Hundreds of third-party apps try to patch Jira in these two aspects. If you want to make your Jira odyssey easier, take your time and find a supplement – one app rather than five or ten. Select an app that is booming and not stagnating. All-in-one BigPicture is on the rise and here is how it supplements Jira.

Abundance of arrows, tree structures, color-coded counters

If you like how Jira Cloud has recently picked up timeline view, you’ll enjoy BigPicture. The tool has not one, but an array of modules for both predictive and agile project portfolio management. Overview, Roadmap, Scope, Gantt, Board, Resources, Calendar, Risks, and Reports modules combine business features with abundant visualization.

BigPicture is an all-in-one solution and all nine modules promote getting the job done by using colors, arrows, and collapsible tree-like task structures.

Timebox roadmap in BigPicture

Figure 2. Roadmap module of BigPicture

High-level agile

While Jira has Sprints, as well as Kanban and Scrum boards, it fails at the medium and top levels of decision-making. In an effort to fix that, Atlassian added the ‘Agile at Scale’ category to its Marketplace. BigPicture rules the roost here. Why?

BigPicture adds numerous scaling agile qualities. These facilitate high-level, strategic planning in fully/partially agile organizations. But most importantly, BigPicture lets you track “hybrid” portfolios – ones that blend agile, hybrid, and classic projects, ARTs, stages, LeSS Requirement areas, etc.

Which specific features lend BigPicture those hybrid Portfolio Management + Agile at scale powers?

Board module

BigPicture’s Board varies greatly from what Jira has to offer. Time-box planning, soft and “hard” task dependencies, swimlanes for teams, both iteration and Program Increment support – they all make the Board applicable to any agile methodology. Throw a glance at figure 4.

Overview module

Jira doesn’t have anything even close to Overview. BigPicture’s Overview module is the actual place for managing portfolios – a high-level “cap” for other modules. Here converge, in a tree-like structure, the agile, hybrid, and classic projects, as well as SAFe ARTs, LeSS Requirement Areas, and Stages. They produce aggregates, such as this one.

BigPicture total

Figure 3. Aggregation at project level in BigPicture’s Overview module. Similar aggregates are available at the portfolio and even “root” level (a single progress bar for the whole organization, evident on top of the “tree”).

While Jira has just ‘projects’, Overview lets you custom-design your own high-level types that you can later reuse within BigPicture Overview. For instance, if your methodology provided for ‘Breeds’, you could custom-design the ‘Breed’ Box type, behaving very differently, and featuring different views, than the default Agile and Classic projects. This ‘custom-design’ capability is a BigPicture Enterprise feature. More on Overview and Boxes.

Objective/goal management

Another project management staple that Jira does not do is objective and goal management. BigPicture module shines here with its iterative, quarterly, and timeline roadmaps. More on the three here. Notably, both Jira issues and “artificial” objectives can become roadmap items.

Gadgets

Quickly embed plain and structured BigPicture views in Jira dashboards and within Confluence pages. Currently, Overview, Gantt, Calendar, and Risks gadgets are available. Soon a new Roadmap gadget will pop up, too. These gadgets have the power to bring the otherwise complicated Jira closer to senior managers.

***

The four qualities – Board and Roadmap modules, Overview, and gadgets – make scaling agile easier. Combined with Gantt and Risks modules, they give you full control over agile-and-classic project management. Indeed, Jira + BigPicture is more graspable than Jira alone!

Agile teams board all-in-one app for Jira

Figure 4. (Program) Board module of BigPicture

Tasks in addition to issues and tickets

Jira has its arduous issues, also known as tickets. BigPicture, while recognizes Jira issues, adds the so-called basic tasks, which are devoid of excess fields and – hence – lighter.

Basic tasks are tailor-made for project management, while Jira issues were designed for issue tracking. Make your life easier using basic tasks when the sophistication of issues is not needed. In 2021 we are making basic tasks even more functional and nimble, new features are listed in the recent Basic tasks in BigPicture article.

Third-party tools allowed into Atlassian ecosystem

Think of this telling quote: A unified system for a company counting up to 10,000 or more employees, where every team needs to do something in a different way, just can’t be simple for everyone.1

There are two reasons why it makes sense to keep data in two or more tools and to aggregate them under the BigPicture umbrella:

  1. For some users mastering a simple tool, such as Trello, is all they ever need to do. They do not need to delve into Jira and negotiate its steep learning curve.
  2. Several software administrators, rather than one Jira super-administrator can be a good thing for the organization, too, in terms of dispersion of risks. A Trello administrator being closer to an end user might be beneficial, too.

BigPicture already interconnects its projects with Trello boards, and will soon be able to visualize and aggregate tasks from multiple Jira instances at once, Azure DevOps Server, and more third-party tools.

Connect Trello or Azure DevOps Jira all-in-one plugin

Figure 5. Connecting a third-party tool to a BigPicture project

Conclusion

Once again, the Jira + an all-in-one app from the Marketplace can make your life easier compared to the plain Jira experience. Very few apps available for the Atlassian ecosystem are both of the all-in-one kind and booming. BigPicture is.

Contemporary project managers no longer need to use a tool separate from the one their teams use. A BigPicture project/product manager scopes and schedules work with the very same toolset that work teams take advantage of.

 


1 7 reasons why people say they hate using Jira, Dzmitry Hryb, deviniti.com

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.