Mar 17

Calendar planners in BigPicture (3 approaches)

CalendarAlthough BigPicture is by definition a tool for a team and not for an individual, people increasingly seek calendar views in our software. BigPicture has three calendar-like modules, and surprisingly the new portfolio management-oriented BigPicture 8 makes things even better.

One by one, let’s look at calendar planners available in Jira BigPicture.

Calendar in BigPicture 8

A new Calendar module for Jira BigPicture is currently under development, and will likely be available in BigPicture 8, in the middle of 2020. If you don’t feel like waiting, proceed to the following calendar picks that are already operational.

Key features of the new calendar:

  • not just tasks, but also markers can sit in the calendar. What is a marker? See the Gantt chart screenshot below.
  • you can hide weekends
  • use either Sunday-Saturday or Mo-Sun week format
  • heatmap mode is available – colors represent To do/In progress/Done task statuses, or apply colors manually
  • note the collapsible ‘Upcoming tasks’ right-hand panel
  • most importantly: BigPicture Calendar can be either a personal or team or organizational tool as quick filters are at hand, and you can save views, notice the ‘Hide Done’, ‘Buczi’ and ‘Ania’ buttons in the below screenshot
Calendar in Jira BigPicture

The new Calendar module is under development at the time of writing, to be released soon.


Gantt chart

The key point when using the Gantt chart as a calendar is to use the Zoom in and Zoom out buttons, marked in the below screenshot. Some other best practices:

  • when creating events or reminders in this calendar view, use Artificial tasks, rather than Jira tasks. Follow Task > Create task > Artificial task in the Gantt chart’s menu. You don’t need loads of tasks in the underlying Jira, right? An artificial task will only be visible in your calendar view.
  • when you need a reminder, a marker is a plausible alternative to a task – we marked a marker in the below screenshot
Calendar in Jira BigPicture

Use the Gantt chart as a calendar planner – this view is available in BigGantt and BigPicture.


Workload plans & holiday plans

It would be a shame not to mention these very special calendars available in BigPicture. Workload plans, although they look like a weekly planner, are in place for a project manager or Jira admin to set weekly working hours, rather than some events or tasks. The same applies to holiday plans – see the second picture below – you set bank holidays or extra working days here, rather than goals or reminders.

Google ‘bigpicture workload plans’ and ‘bigpicture holiday plans’ to better understand how these special ‘calendars’ work. They are there for the Resources module to know what is the capacity of a resource.

Weekly planner Jira BigPicture

In the Workload Plan, you declare working hours, such as 9 to 5, rather than schedule actual events.


Monthly calendar, Holiday plan

Holiday plans are auxiliary calendars as well; what you set here will influence the capacity of your Resources.


Calendars vs. the agile mindset

A calendar may be looked at as a micromanagement tool, not entirely compatible with the agile mindset. Few organizations are 100% agile though. HR, marketing, legal, or business development departments still benefit from calendars. A calendar is what project managers told us to build during Atlassian Summits and even SAFe Summits.


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.