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January 08, 2024

#BigTip: Enhance Jira with BigPicture’s widgets

Jira
Project Management

BigPicture can significantly extend Jira’s capabilities with its powerful functionalities. But sometimes, you might want to perform specific actions without launching a full app.

The solution? BigPicture widgets let you access selected native functionalities without leaving Jira. Currently, three widgets are available to help you expedite your goals. 

Let’s talk about them in more detail.

What is a widget in BigPicture?

Widgets and dashboard gadgets provide a way to integrate some of BigPicture’s capabilities directly into Jira seamlessly. These small but useful items augment Jira’s capabilities by displaying dynamic data from BigPicture. 

Their main advantage is that you can quickly look up specific aspects of your project and make changes without switching to the BigPicture app.

Widget types

What exactly can you do with widgets? Functionalities vary with the widget type. BigPicture offers three widgets for different Jira’s pages:

  • App widget (project screen page)
  • Skills widget (issue details page)
  • WBS widget (issue details page)

We’ll explore each below. But first, let’s see how to enable and configure the widgets.

How to add a widget to your Jira project

Widget management is easy.

Launch BigPicture and select App settings (wrench icon) > Widgets. This leads to the App Configuration page, where you’ll see tabs to customize settings for all three widgets.

The App Configuration page for BigPicture widgets.

 

The widget settings let you activate the App/Skills/WBS widget for all projects or specific ones. (This option is available for all widgets.) 

You can also set the WBS and Skills widgets to display for all or selected issue types.

The WBS widget also has an option to limit the number of issues (parents) shown by the widget. It can be helpful in case the structure of your project is very robust and complex and there are dozens of parents for an issue you want to view.

App widget

The App widget is the most comprehensive BigPicture widget.

It allows you to use the BigPicture app straight from the Jira project screen. Think of it as a gate to BigPicture’s modules and your Jira project screen as the access point. 

The App widget only shows Jira projects matching the scope of the respective project box in BigPicture. So if there’s a partial match, the widget won’t display your project.

For example, if the project box in BigPicture additionally includes another project’s scope (or part of the scope), then the widget won’t show you that project.

The App widget displaying the Smart house App project inside Jira. Detail View for individual Jira issues is also available.

 

The App widget allows you to switch between and access individual modules, check Jira issue details, and use filters. You can also navigate to and manage other boxes that belong to the scope of the parent box (like Sprints under an Agile project). 

Essentially, this widget lets you work on your project as if you were in the BigPicture app – but only in the scope of that one selected project.

Accessing the App widget

Select Projects in Jira’s blue top menu and choose your project. When the project is open, click the BigPicture button on the left-side menu. 

You’ll need appropriate permissions in both Jira and BigPicture. In other words, even though you’re not in BigPicture, you still need BigPicture’s security permissions to work with your project using BigPicture’s native functionalities.

If the widget doesn’t show your project, it’s likely because of a scope mismatch. In this case, the app will nudge you to create a box in BigPicture where you can sync the scopes.

Here, the App widget cannot display the Hausbau project. But we can create a dedicated box for that project in BigPicture to match its scope with the scope of the project in Jira.

 

(If you have no security permissions to do so, a person with BigPicture’s App Admin or Sub-Box Creator and Jira Admin or Project Admin permission in your organization can do that for you.)

Skills widget

The Skills widget simplifies managing resource skills for each Jira issue. After your BigPicture Admin activates it in the BigPicture App Configuration settings, a dedicated widget will appear on the Jira issue details page. This widget lets you add and remove skills required for the completion of the task.

You can find the Skills widget on the right side of the issue details page.

 

Whenever you want to add or remove the skills (roles), click on the skills bar to enable the drop-down menu. The app will show you a list of all the skills you have previously added to your project. Select the skill (or skills) from the list to add them to the task/issue. Click the “x” sign next to the skill to remove it.

What if there’s a skill you want to add, but it’s not on the list? Not a problem. Go to the “Administration” page under the “Resources” button > “Skills” tab. This is where you manage all the project skills, so go ahead and add/edit/remove skills your project needs. 

(Hint: You can also launch the Administration page from the App widget. Just click the wrench icon! 🔧)

The Administration page where you manage your project skills. You can launch it from the BigPicture app or from the App widget.

Skills Perfect match

The Skill widget features a “Perfect match” function that helps you identify the most suitable person for the job. It works the same way as in the Resources module: it suggests up to five people (or teams) who can complete that task based on their skills and remaining capacity. 

The list is sorted by relevance, meaning the best match is going to be the first result on the list. It’s up to you to decide and select whom you want to assign.

The Skills widget determined three people who would be the best assignees for the OA-99 task. The third person on the list is only partly suitable but is still a better match compared to other project resources.

WBS widget 

The third widget is the WBS widget. Like the Skills widget, you’ll find the WBS (work breakdown structure) widget on the issue details page.

This widget displays the hierarchical tree structure of the current issue, offering a concise view of task relationships. (Similarly to the WBS in the Gantt and Scope modules.) 

But unlike the WBS in those two modules, the WBS widget displays only the very issue along with its parent(s) and children. In other words, it only shows parents and children of currently viewed task, so it won’t show the other children of the same parent(s).

The WBS widget is located below the issue description on the issue details page. It also serves as a convenient shortcut for launching a full Gantt module with one click.

 

In the example above, issue OA-99 has one parent. If we launch the full WBS on the Gantt module, we will see that this parent issue has more children that the widget doesn’t show. To see the full issue relationship, click the Show on Gantt button to launch the Gantt module.

Issue structure in the scope of other boxes

If the issue is in the scope of another project (or another box), you can use a box switcher in the upper left corner of the WBS widget to switch to that box. This way, you’ll also be able to check the issue’s relation in the context of tasks in the scope of another box.

The issue OA-99 is in the scope of two projects. With the help of the WBS widget, you can switch to the second project to check the issue relationship.

Column view on the WBS widget

The widget will come with a default column view your Box Admin has set for your project. But as a Box Editor or Box Admin, you can customize that view for the selected issue by adding/removing columns and changing their aggregation method.

 Please keep in mind, however, that unlike in the Scope and Gantt modules, you cannot save the custom column view on the WBS widget.

You can customize the column view on the WBS widget the same way as in the Gantt and Scope modules.

Sign up to try BigPicture for free

BigPicture helps you plan, build, and manage complex projects and portfolios. Widgets like Skills and WBS provide convenient task management and structural views, while the App widget integrates BigPicture’s full capabilities into Jira’s interface.

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.