BigPicture is now on ! Enjoy enterprise-grade Program & Portfolio Management, now fully integrated with monday.com boards and workspaces.  Try it now
January 22, 2024

#BigTip: BigPicture app configuration explained

System Administration

BigPicture is a robust app adapted to different project management methodologies and work environments, offering advanced functionalities to support project and project portfolio management. But to harness its full potential, the app and your project must be properly configured first. 

Let’s go through the most important concepts behind the BigPicture app configuration, focusing on three levels: App, Business, and Project configuration levels, and the differences between them.

Level 1: App configuration

BigPicture’s initial configuration starts with an Admin (a Jira Admin or a BigPicture App Admin in your organization). They can customize high-level settings responsible for data synchronization between Jira and BigPicture. Why high-level? App-level settings apply to all the current and future projects you’ll have in BigPicture. These settings define app logic.

Access the App Configuration page in the blue top menu bar under BigPicture. The menu bar is always visible, so you can find it in both Jira and BigPicture.

Alternatively, click the wrench icon and select General from the drop-down menu.

The App Configuration page in BigPicture.

 

Proper configuration of the app’s general settings ensures BigPicture imports, aggregates, and displays data correctly. Data mismatches can result in errors in your project.

Settings directly related to your project are in the General and Modules sections. 

App Configuration > General settings

This section is responsible for accurate bi-directional data synchronization. Specifically, the data stored in Jira data fields and Jira issue links in your project.

Fields

Configuring the field mapping ensures that the data from Jira fields inside your Jira issues correspond to the fields in BigPicture.

For example, the “End date” field stores planned completion data. When you expand or shorten a taskbar on the Gantt timeline, BigPicture can automatically update the “End date” field of the task. 

But at the same time, you want that new date to be also reflected in the same project in Jira. 

Proper field mapping enables this synchronization. So whenever you make changes to a task date in Jira, you’ll see those changes in your project in BigPicture — and vice versa.

BigPicture fields against Jira fields. You can map fields for all the projects in BigPicture (General mapping) and for the individual ones (Custom mapping).

 

The good news is that the General mapping is typically only completed once. If your project requires different field settings, then your Admin will need to revisit the App Config page and customize them in the Custom mapping section.

App Configuration > Dependencies

In the Dependencies section, your Jira Admin or App Admin can specify which Jira issue links will be used to visualize soft and strong task dependencies in BigPicture. When they map and sync specific issue links (including custom ones) with BigPicture’s dependency types, you can create, edit, visualize, and manage task dependencies and cross-project dependencies on the Agile Board and Gantt timeline.

BigPicture’s dependencies against Jira issue links. You map links for synchronization separately for soft and strong dependencies.

App Configuration > Modules

The settings in the Modules section are very general and don’t allow you to set up each module individually. (But if you’re a Box Admin, you can do so. We’ll cover individual box module configuration in a bit when we talk about app configuration at a Project level.)

Here, those options are general rules for every box/project that will utilize the Overview, Risks, or Resources module (or all of them).

General settings for the Overview, Risks, and Resources modules.


This section doesn’t come with many options, but it’s worth reviewing the default setup.

App Configuration > Widgets

BigPicture’s widgets have no impact on the app’s overall logic or functionality as such. But they can be very useful to BigPicture and Jira users. Since only Jira Admin or App Admin can access the App Configuration page, you may ask them to enable this feature while they’re setting up BigPicture. 

Level 2: Business/HR configuration (Administration)

The Administration page is where a Jira Admin or App Admin handles general app configuration — but from a different angle.

This time, the focus is on the administrative logic — business and HR aspects of the app. Specifically on the resources’ workload and time off, the default settings for different box types, and the security permissions of the BigPicture users in your organization.

Click the wrench icon and select one of the three options from the drop-down menu: Box types,  Resources, or Security. You’ll land on the Administration page, where you can easily navigate between all those three sections.

The Administration page in BigPicture is home for the Box types, Resources, and Security settings.

Administration > Box types

As a BigPicture user, you get access to up to 11 different box types (initiative templates). They’re pre-configured, but you can fine-tune each of them so they meet the demands of your organization’s unique initiatives.

Any new settings you introduce are applied to every new box created from the template. Say you fiddle a bit with the Agile project box type; when one of your PMs creates a project based on that template, the entire configuration will be applied to their project. 

Project Managers (and other permitted users like Box Admins) can customize the boxes even after they’ve been created. You’ll want to focus on the settings for the specific box types rather than for specific projects you create with those box types.

To get started, click on the box type you want to customize. This will take you to the configuration page for that box type.

Configuration page for the Agile project box type.

 

There are quite a few customization options, such as:

And more.

You can also add a brand new box type for an ultra-unique initiative and configure it from scratch. (An unlimited number of box types is available to BigPicture Enterprise users.)

Administration > Resources

On this page, you can look up all individual resources. If anyone’s missing, you can import the resource from Jira. You can also customize workload and holiday plans, as well as define default resource skills (roles).

Configuration page for Resources where you can find settings for the Individuals, their Workload Plans, Holiday Plans, and Skills.

 

These settings are important because they allow a person managing a given box (e.g., a Project Manager) to customize workload and holiday plans later and assign specific skills to individual resources at the Project configuration level.    

Administration > Security

The security settings on the Administration page are for assigning global roles (App Admin, App Resource Admin, and App User). They define access to the entire app rather than just specific boxes.

You add individuals to global roles so that they can access respective app pages.

Security roles in BigPicture. You can add individual people under respective roles to grant them access to specific areas within an app.

Level 3: Project (box) configuration

The final level relates to projects or other initiatives (e.g., a Project Portfolio or Agile iteration). As we mentioned earlier, box configuration depends on the “Box type” settings (Level 2 app configuration). 

A Box Admin can modify the basic attributes and settings for a given box, including the box’s visual appearance (like icon and color), through the modules, scope, and task structure, up to security and column views. This configuration page is very similar to the configuration page you saw for individual box types.

To access the Box Configuration page, click the Module switcher in the upper right corner and then Configuration from the drop-down menu. Or click the wrench icon next to the project name in the Overview module.

Project box configuration page. Here, we can customize settings for the actual Project Portfolio (not a template) that holds several other initiatives.

 

The key difference is that now, your Box Admin will focus on the setup requirements for the actual initiative (e.g., a new Agile software development project), not a template for every Agile/Classic/Hybrid project, program, or portfolio.

As was the case with the box types, security permissions also apply here. This means the Admin can assign specific security permissions to other people, like Box Admins, Box Editors, Box Viewers, and Sub-Box Creators.

Sign up to try BigPicture for free

BigPicture helps you plan, build, and manage complex projects and portfolios. To be able to harness its power, people like Jira Admin and Box Admin must configure BigPicture’s logic on the app and business levels. When that’s complete, managers can build on those settings and fine-tune their projects.

Sign up for a 30-day free trial to see how BigPicture streamlines projects — no matter how big, complex, or unique they are. We also encourage you to join our live demo webinar to see why more than 20,000 PPMs and their teams trust our software to build their amazing products.