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Aug 12

Roadmap vs. Board in BigPicture. Who and what needs do they cater to?

Users keep asking us what are the differences between Roadmap and Board modules of Jira BigPicture. Beginning BigPicture 7.2 the two look so similar. Some of our clients use both the Roadmap and the Board for planning their work, while others commit to one of the two. Let’s check how the two tools compare to each other.


Roadmap BigPicture project management Jira


Jira BigPicture agile board 2.0

Plan both iterations (sprints, 2-3 weeks) and program increments (8-12 weeks) in both the Roadmap and the Board.
When to use the tool? Use the Roadmap at the end of the team breakouts #21, as per SAFe wording (google ‘SAFe PI planning’ for more).

1 The second day of PI, program increment planning session.

Use the Board throughout Team breakouts #1 and #2.
Set objectives (goals) on the Roadmap. Plan initiatives, features, stories, or sub-tasks on the Board.
The Roadmap uses the language of Business Owner. The Board uses the language of teams.
The Roadmap is capable of confirming that teams understood the business goals.
Can you concisely convey, in words the business owner understands, the essence of the value sought by implementing this set of features? If a team cannot do this in a clear way by the end of planning, are we comfortable investing over $100,000 to pursue these goals over the next 10 weeks?2
The Board can confirm that teams follow the plan.
The Roadmap can save work, time and money.
Is our goal to complete the listed features, or is our goal to provide the outcomes desired by those features? In other words, if we could provide the same value with half the amount of work, and without building all of the features, would this be acceptable?2
The Board enforces following the plan.
The language of features can frequently steer the team into overlooking creative, valid, and architecturally sound solutions because someone outside the team already provided a preconceived notion of how that value should be provided.2
1-5, max 7 objectives per program increment (8-12 weeks).

More of a big picture, steerable information planning tool.

Theoretically unlimited number of tasks planned for program increment.

More of a managing logistics, team alignment, and coordination type of a tool.

The Roadmap uses backlog less frequently. Say, mere 10% of objectives entered on the roadmap, could come from the Backlog. The remaining 90% should paraphrase the scope. The Board makes heavy use of the Backlog so that you can make use of your Program backlog model during the planning. Enter Program Epics, Features, Stories, or your custom types on the Board.
Some features that the Roadmap has and the Board doesn’t:

yes a single objective can span several program increments

yes you can change the order of objectives manually

yes set statuses of the objectives (Open, Completed, Failed, Abandoned) directly in the Roadmap, without going to Jira task preview, as is the case with the Board

yes enter objectives as free text; nevertheless, Jira tasks are available, too

Some features that the Board has and the Roadmap doesn’t:

yes dependencies between tasks

yes customizable tasks cards

yes bi-directional synchronization with Jira (Sprints, combo boxes, text fields)

yes track task effort vs. capacity – when planning (will be available shortly)

yes track work progress – at the execution stage (will be available shortly)

a.k.a. new roadmap a.k.a. agile board, program board, board 2.0

2 The Role of PI Objectives, Scaled Agile, Inc.


High-level management usually prefers the Roadmap, while teams would rather schedule their work on the Board – 90% of the truth. The Board is more efficient at keeping multiple teams in sync. The Roadmap does better communicating with CEOs. The tools come in useful at various stages of PI planning, as explained in the third row of the table above.




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.