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Jan 03

How to have multiple project management methodologies in Jira?

Cross-methodology agile and waterfall project managementJira is officially an agile project management system. Even when Atlassian states Jira does ‘mixed’ PM, they still mean Scrumban or Kanplan. Meanwhile, various non-software industries increasingly rely on Jira and these organizations tend to practice both waterfall and agile methodologies. Let’s see how to maintain a hybrid, cross-methodology environment in a single Jira instance.

Unlike Atlassian, when we say ‘hybrid’, we think of a mixed agile and waterfall approach.

A multi-methodology project management app

When you install Jira, you are given the choice of simple Scrum and Kanban boards, and that’s ok since Jira grew out of the extremely agile software development industry. After all, Jira is a very powerful issue tracker or task manager. If you’re serious about project management and you seek the hybrid – agile and waterfall environment, you’ll need an add-on from Atlassian Marketplace at some point. A single all-in-one project management app is probably the better choice than a set of plugins. Not just for the sake of cost optimization, but also because all the modules will easily talk to each other. For instance, the work breakdown structure will be well integrated with teams, resources, Gantt charts, risks, and reporting.

BigPicture is one such cross-methodology, well-integrated, powerful extension for Jira.

BigPicture for Jira logo How to fit a methodology into BigPicture?
Scrum yes
SAFe yes How to map SAFe terms to BigPicture modules?
For Agile Release Trains – use BigPicture Programs
SAFe Program Board with cross-team dependencies – BigPicture Board module
Program backlog – BigPicture’s Scope module
PI objectives – Roadmap module
Roadmap – Gantt chart or Roadmap module
LeSS yes How to map LeSS terms to BigPicture modules?
For LeSS Development Areas – use BigPicture Programs
Cross-team alignment – Board module
AgilePM yes
Waterfall yes
PRINCE2 yes As PRINCE2 Projects, Programmes or Portfolios – use BigPicture Programs.
PRINCE2 Timeline aspect – use BP’s Gantt chart module.
For the Scope aspect – use BP’s Scope module.
To track Cost tolerance – use the Gantt chart and Resources module.
To manage PRINCE2 Risk performance goal – see BigPicture’s Risks module.


Will new hybrid (agile-waterfall) Jira apps emerge in 2021 or later?

Single-module plugins dominate Atlassian Marketplace. Cross-methodology, all-in-one apps that have both agile and classic tools – Portfolios, Scope, Roadmap, Board, Gantt chart, Resources, Risks, Reporting – are in minority. One way to find them is to google ‘agile at scale atlassian’ keyphrase. We are aware of three to five competitors of BigPicture, and you may come across ‘BigPicture vs. …’ comparisons. How is BigPicture different from the competition? While everybody is officially methodology-agnostic, having evaluated all of them you might conclude that BigPicture is the most ‘diversified’ program. BigPicture was originally built around the Gantt chart, although with such modern additions, as agile iterations overlay. Our approach has evolved and BP has now a mature Roadmap, Board 2.0, and agile Reporting. Boxes make BigPicture an even more universal app.

So, back to the question: will a new powerful, multiple-methodology project portfolio management app for Jira be born in 2021, 2022, or later? It’s a lot of work to develop such a product. It literally takes years. Even Atlassian purchased the overpriced AgileCraft rather than develop Jira Align from scratch ;)

Additional reading: How to have a hybrid project in Jira?


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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.