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Your company is scaling. You’re using JIRA Software and adding BigPicture to help create roadmaps and improve your project management.

A lot of projects are on the way and you need to switch between an in-depth view of specific projects and a global view of your portfolio. In order to access the visibility you need, create Gantt charts, resource modules and risk matrixes; you need to know these top tips and tricks in BigPicture.

Here is how YOU can become a BigPicture rockstar:

Understanding how to use your programs on BigPicture

The first step of this journey is understanding the programs. According to Software Plant documentation, they refer to a program as a container that is large enough to encompass multiple projects inside of them.

When you need to manage different tasks, teams and initiatives, they need to be connected. There are members, releases and features that are shared and related to each other. That’s where the programs come in. They were designed to centralize your information and project management. Now it’s e

You can easily allocate your resources, align your JIRA projects with your business goals and improve your roadmaps, providing an accurate global view for your planning.

With BigPicture is easier to keep your stakeholders in the loop. You add more layers to your project management, providing a more in-depth and visual track of your projects. A program helps you avoid setting different labels to represent a group of projects, messing with your hierarchies and carrying this problem to other JIRA plugins.

“The first thing you have to decide while working with this tool is: what I want to filter and view. You can have multiple projects as well as just one detailed initiative at your BigPicture program.”

Connecting an in-depth view with a global one with BigPicture

Let’s think about its basic structure, a program is just a JQL filter in JIRA.

When you are using this PPM tool to bring full visibility to your stakeholders on multiple projects, it’s important to filter them and provide the information your decision makers need to move forward with their strategies. You can easily pull different projects and modules to group them in your programs.

And one of the benefits of using BigPicture is the flexibility that it provides. Different roles in the company need access to different information of the work in progress and permission levels. You can have the same projects and tasks on multiple programs and tailor them to suit your needs.

“You can have different goals in each of them. One good example is creating a program to track all your deliverables and provide a roadmap of them, or have small specific separated programs of every initiative you need to manage.”

Creating programs in BigPicture

This month, Software Plant released a new version of their plugins BigPicture and BigGantt that updated their Program/Gantt creation wizard to be more user-friendly and break the adoption barrier. It’s a step-by-step guide on how to add programs.

BigPicture Screen Shot

You can create a new program, clone an existing one, import data from a file or evaluate it with sample data.

When you’re creating a new program, you can save time and pull the data from an existing saved filter that you have already created, and use the best of your JQL filters. Another good feature is that it provides an option to add an existing program as a template. You can also choose the modules (Gantt, Resource, Roadmap, Risk Matrix) that you want to use as sources and pull specific data from then.

For project managers that want to evaluate JIRA and its plugins, Software Plant designed an option to use sample data instead, using a pre-configured program that makes it possible to easily restore the default values.

If you use the option to import a specific file, you should have the plugin BigTemplate connected to your solution. You can import files from a Microsoft Excel file or Microsoft Project file. The process is similar but remember that you need to have a special care with the data your importing.

It’s important to notice that when creating or importing a new program, you can always configure your privacy settings before it’s active.  And you can use the same projects and tasks to build unlimited programs and when you delete a program, it doesn’t delete all the information you had there.

Combining Traditional and Agile practices to manage your programs

Now that you have a better understanding on what the programs provide to JIRA, let’s learn how they can connect to your agile boards and help you manage your projects.

As a flexible tool, the plugin allows you to work with hybrid models by combining waterfall practices, based on Gantt charts that provide a view on specific dates and resources, and the roadmaps that connect with agile methods, focusing on teams and releases.

Here at e-Core, our Atlassian consulting team needs to allocate different consultants on multiple projects. So, adding BigPicture to our SAFe compliance project portfolio management strategy was a great fit.

When we start working with a new customer, we create an initiative to group all the epics. They are the deliverables that we use to track the progress using agile culture. The delivery team uses agile boards to work on their stories, the tasks associated to each epic related to this work.

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The management team must be focused on the strategy behind the planning and align these projects with the business goals. They don’t need a detailed view of each task that is in progress, but they need a big picture of the multiple projects that are being executed, their dependencies and status.

Our managers create a program to track all the initiatives and the deliverables for these projects. In parallel, our consulting team is working with an agile board and closing all stories to deliver an specific epic for this initiative.

With all team members, milestones and initiatives visible in a BigPicture program, it’s easier to forecast our work, focus on the most critical projects and have full visibility on all the projects that we delivered in that period.

If you’re interested in implementing a Portfolio Project Management strategy in your company or want to learn more about the benefits of using BigPicture to increase your visibility on JIRA, please contact us and we will help you evaluate your processes and improve your time-to market.

Sources: 

Implementing Programs in JIRA

BigPicture – Programs