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Jan 18

6 Signs Your Organization Should Upgrade to BigPicture Enterprise

BigPicture Enterprise features

BigPicture Enterprise is richer in features in 2021. There are now more reasons to upgrade from the regular BigPicture to the Enterprise edition. The number 1 pro-Enterprise reason is an unlimited number of Box types/templates you can use in BP Enterprise, while only three slots are available in the regular BigPicture. While a complete BigPicture – BP Enterprise comparison is available here, in this article, we focus on symptoms in your organization indicating it is time to upgrade to the Enterprise edition.

The Enterprise edition is outpacing the regular BigPicture

There was a time, between 2016 and 2019 when BigPicture Enterprise (BPE) merely extended what BigPicture was offering. For instance, the regular BigPicture had Resources module could be augmented with cross-program resource management capabilities provided by the Enterprise edition. Project/product managers could have balanced an individual’s/team’s allocation against not just one, but many projects in a portfolio.

BigPicture Enterprise of the past was also good at Program Increment-level planning with the PI progress bar/pie chart reports, as well as the Program Increment field synchronizable with Jira. Since the Program Increment is a SAFe term, the pre-2020 BigPicture Enterprise was also an excellent choice for organizations practicing SAFe.

Another Enterprise-exclusive feature was integration with Tempo – a popular time tracking tool for Jira. All in all, BigPicture Enterprise was an expansion pack for the core BigPicture. Approx 20% of BigPicture users had the Enterprise add-on installed.

Most of the “classic” Enterprise features continue their presence in the product, a complete list is here.

But, 2020 marked a shift in the BigPicture Enterprise story.

BigPicture Enterprise version 8 of 2020 and later has outpaced the regular BigPicture. With the unlimited number of Box type slots, BigPicture Enterprise has become a true enterprise-level, PPM app. Have a look at this quick comparison focused on Boxes.

BigPicture BigPicture Enterprise
three Box types unlimited number of Box types
Default Box types:

  • Program,
  • Program Increment,
  • Iteration.
Default Box types:

  • Agile project,
  • Classic project,
  • Hybrid project,
  • Hybrid stage,
  • Iteration,
  • LeSS Requirement Area,
  • Portfolio,
  • Program,
  • Program Increment,
  • SAFe ART,
  • Stage.
To add a custom/in-house Box type, you need to release one of the three available slots. The ‘Add new Box type’ button is active in the BigPicture Enterprise’s administration panel so that you can add your own, custom Box types, for instance:

  • to model in new PM methodologies (corporate level)
  • to add templates of projects/products (PMs’ level)


When to consider upgrading to BigPicture Enterprise?

As a rule of thumb, the larger, more diversified, and distributed across the globe your organization is, the more likely it will benefit from the upgrade. Let’s name the top six signals your organization might be giving out that point to BigPicture Enterprise.


Distributed teams, HQ in America, R&D in Europe, IT development in India, manufacturing in China

1. The management board is far from production lines

In other words, your organization is big enough, for the CEO to base strategic decisions on data rather than on daily/weekly alignment conversations with line managers.

Thanks to the unlimited number of Box types, BigPicture Enterprise is capable of adapting to how the work teams like to work. The Enterprise edition can serve an unlimited number of project/product templates to satisfy every team’s needs and speed up their work. As a result of the teams’ overall satisfaction with the software (“It’s our own tool”), the data they enter tends to be of better quality, and so the progress bars the CEO observes are more reliable. Furthermore, the Enterprise edition has close to zero “locked” features (only those related to exporting/importing of data, for which you need BigTemplate). All in all, the Enterprise edition contributes to the level of satisfaction of both work teams and the management board.


Hybrid product project management: agile, predicitive

2. Many project/product management methodologies in use

If your organization practices both agile, predictive, and hybrid product/project management under one roof, then this is the second most important sign you will benefit from upgrading to BigPicture Enterprise. While it is feasible to blend in classic and agile projects in regular BigPicture, only the Enterprise edition lets you:

  • narrow down Gantt chart, Resources, Risks, and other views to sub-Boxes, such as a Stage, Version, or whatever custom sub-Box is consistent with your in-house PM methodology
  • re-label modules to maintain consistency with your PM methodology. For instance, you can rename ‘Resources’ to ‘Workload’, ‘Scope’ to ‘Wbs’, etc.

When your company hits 80-100 people, you are big enough to benefit from BigPicture Enterprise.


Portfolio, boxes in BigPicture

3. ‘Project Portfolio Management’ and ‘Single Source of Truth’ terms are in circulation

If your organization runs multiple portfolios and not just multiple projects, then BigPicture Enterprise is the edition to go. At SoftwarePlant, we have always been committed to supporting managers at all levels. However, with the current version 8 of BigPicture, the Overview module (formerly Program manager) has become more portfolio-oriented than it was up until BigPicture 7.

The new Overview is not only drillable from the portfolio to product/project level, but it also reports on the progress of projects, products, portfolios, and even the entire organization – note the top, root/Home row. The thing is that with the regular BigPicture, even version 8, since you are limited to three Box types, you cannot group projects into portfolios.

Bird's eye view in BigPicture, single source of truth


Therefore, BigPicture Enterprise is more rightful if ‘Bird’s-eye view’, ‘Single Source of Truth’, and ‘PPM’ terms are in circulation across your organization.


Scenario testing in BigPicture

4. ‘Hoping for the best and prepared for the worst’ is your motto

BigPicture 8 has delivered the long-awaited Scenarios, a sandbox for testing variants of schedules. Scenarios are a feature of the Gantt module. While the regular BigPicture has slots for one public and one private scenario, BigPicture Enterprise does not put a limit on the number of scenarios within a project, product, or program. In other words, with the Enterprise edition, you can publish a pessimistic, realistic, and optimistic schedule (public scenarios) for stakeholders to evaluate in any given project or product.

If ‘Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between is your motto’, then BigPicture Enterprise is the way to go.

Read more on how Scenarios work.


Teams and resources

5. You are big on resource management

If your organization practices extensive resource management, be aware of three resource management-related features available in BigPicture Enterprise only:

  • ‘Show overall assignment’ checkbox. You can analyze how the capacity of any individual or team is allocated across all the organization’s initiatives, not just the initiative you’re running the Resources module for
  • Tempo for Jira integration (BigPicture Server and Data Center only)
  • Manual mode available within the Workload Contouring pop-up in addition to the three modes regular BigPicture has (Flat, Front-loaded, Back-loaded)

Other than the three features, the Resources module is present in both BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise.


Complex portfolio in BigPicture

6. Complex portfolios

Room for automation of project management is the last of the top six pro-Enterprise signs your organization might be sending out. Consider BigPicture Enterprise if you manage complex portfolios, such as tens or hundreds of similar products/projects. This is because the Box types of BigPicture can be utilized as templates of new products or projects, so you can multiply tried and tested workflows and practices in no time and just tweak them to what your new initiatives require. It’s the Enterprise edition that allows for an unlimited number of Box types, rather than the limit of three present in the regular BigPicture.

Example: a tour operator has 30 sightseeing tours under development for the European market for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. They can create a ‘Sightseeing tour’ Box type with a preset of PM rules and tools, such as Roadmap, Gantt chart, Resources, Risks, Reports. PMs responsible for newly devised tours can quickly draw a “draft” from the ‘Sightseeing tour’ Box type. The tour operator saves, let’s suppose, five hours of a product manager’s work needed to pre-configure software for the development of each tour times 30 projects. This is how BigPicture Enterprise promotes automation.



Did the list ring a bell with you? If your organization is giving out any of those signals, consider upgrading to BigPicture Enterprise. The Enterprise edition, or BPE, as we call it at SoftwarePlant, is an extension for BigPicture, so you need licenses of both apps. BigPicture Enterprise is available for Jira Cloud, Server, and Data Center. Note, that the Cloud and Server versions slightly differ as far as their feature sets are concerned. For instance, the ‘Select the geographic location of your data server’ feature is available for Jira Cloud only, for obvious reasons. With Atlassian’s shift to the cloud, the coming years will see special attention paid to the cloud version of BigPicture Enterprise, while the Server and Data Center versions will continue to be developed as long as feasible.

Ready to try BigPicture Enterprise? You can test free for 30 days. Or, email us at sales@softwareplant to schedule a 1-2-hour demo session.


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.