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Jan 17

BigPicture modules explained. A “sequence” of modules matches your workflow

Jira Big Picture modules

BigPicture has nine distinctive modules plus the Overview “umbrella” module on top of them. Users can disable/enable individual modules on a per-initiative (e.g. project) basis. Let’s have a closer look at all 10 modules.

Good news! Both BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise boast the very same set of ten project portfolio management modules. Both apps let you turn on and off modules for each initiative (project) separately. For example, you are free to enable just Scope, Gantt, Resources, Risks, and Calendar modules for a classic project, and hide the rest. For an agile team – on the other hand – you could have Roadmap, Board, Teams, and Reports modules turned on, while the others might be off for simplicity. A hybrid project could have a selection or even all of the modules active. Take a look at figure 2.

Can you notice how the Classic Project has a set of modules, unlike the one of the Less Requirement Area?
BigPicture modules by initiative

Figure 2. BigPicture command center (Overview module) lets you step down to the actual nine project management modules. Note how the Classic Project has quite a different set of modules than the Less Requirement Area. Some of the items in the two drop-down menus are merely aliases of the very same modules (Gantt -> Roadmap, WBS -> Backlog, Reports -> Charts), while other modules are unique for the Classic Project (Workload, Calendar) and for the Less Requirement Area (Sprints, Objectives). The screenshot comes from BigPicture Enterprise.

This is how we got to the edge BigPicture Enterprise has: it is out-of-the-box compatible with SAFe, LeSS, hybrid management, etc. BigPicture Enterprise arrives with preset SAFe ARTs, LeSS Requirement Areas, Hybrid Projects, and others. For instance, the SAFe ART “template” has ‘Program Board’ and ‘Objectives’ modules, as per Scaled Agile Framework terminology. You can further freely relabel modules to adjust them to any business need. Hence, the Gantt module may bear the ‘Roadmap’ label or the Roadmap module might bear the ‘Goals’ name. BigPicture Enterprise indeed has an advantage over BigPicture.

Enable/disable – turn on/off modules

You can enable and disable modules, as well as rename them – see figure 3.

Disabling enabling Jira Big Picture modules

Figure 3. Turn on/off modules in both BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise. Rename them in BigPicture Enterprise only. The figure exhibits the ‘Template level’ – read below.

Yet you can pull the strings in two very different ways:

  • Template level – for all future clones of Agile project, Classic project, or whatever templates you maintain. We call the templates ‘Box types’. This is a “save time in the future” approach. You need to be a BigPicture admin to edit templates.
  • Specific project. You need to be an admin of a specific project; typically a project manager will have these rights.

Which of the two is more efficient? BigPicture (not Enterprise) users might prefer to control modules at the ‘specific project’ level. That’s because the regular BigPicture has just three slots for templates, so naturally, there is less room for extensive pre-configuration.

BigPicture Enterprise, quite contrary, with its unlimited number of templates, makes it easy to extensively pre-configure agile project, classic project, hybrid project, and other templates to facilitate launching real-life initiatives on the fly. Not to mention that 10 ready-to-use templates – ranging from classic, predictive cannons to agile at scale management – come with BigPicture Enterprise as standard.


BigPicture Enterprise

10 portfolio management modules yes yes
Turn on/off modules yes yes
Set a default module (“home screen”) yes yes
Rename modules yes
Where to edit module sets? Since BigPicture has just three slots for project templates, it is more practical to enable/disable modules down at the initiative level, i.e. for each real-life project separately. You lose on speed and scalability, though. First, preset modules for each of your initiative templates (Box types). Then reuse the templates to get up and running with actual new projects in a blink of an eye. You can fine-tune modules at the project level if needed.

Why modular and not monolithic architecture?

While many competing project management apps have gone towards homogeneity, BigPicture has its distinctive modular design. How come?

  1. Back when we launched BigPicture it was already becoming clear that hybrid, mixed, agile-classic approach will prevail, eventually. Some charts, matrices, or reports fit agility better, while others – the predictive management.
  2. Smoothen your workflow by freely choosing 3, 5, 7, or whatever number of the 10 BigPicture modules, and disabling the rest.
  3. BigPicture ONE, a future Atlassian-independent product will have modules at its core, letting everybody decide what they need and what they pay for.
  4. Gantt, Resources, Board, Teams, and Risks modules made the original BigPicture, back when it was first released on Atlassian Marketplace. Roadmap, Scope, Reports, Overview, and Calendar modules followed one by one throughout BigPicture 6, 7, and 8.

Continue to a quick 2-minute preview of modules

Touch and feel modules on BigPicture ‘Test it now!’


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.