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July 04, 2022

8 Things to love in BigPicture 8.x

System Administration
Agnieszka Sienkiewicz

Great PPM software is more than a collection of the best features. It is also how all the features work together to lead your organization to a higher success rate.

In late 2020, we released BigPicture in version 8.0, bringing a range of new functionalities and improvements to the application. But we did not stop there. We continue our mission and deliver new powerful features and swift performance to help you make informed decisions and keep work on track. We also strive to balance new and existing features with ease of use so that you can do your amazing work more efficiently.

And although we cannot promise you that BigPicture will continue growing into infinity, we can tell you for sure that the future releases look very promising, and we cannot wait to deliver them to you. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at some of the best features of the BigPicture suite versions from 8.0 upward as of today.

Not a BigPicture user yet? Start your free 30-day trial today. Or visit our demo page to play with the app straight in your browser — no registration or installation needed.

1. What if (scenario) mode

“What if there is a delay in my project?” “What if I do not have enough resources at some point?” “What if…?”

—What if you do not need to guess anymore?

BigPicture (Gantt module and Resources modules) and BigGantt feature a Scenario mode that will aid your strategic planning. It will help you understand the entire scope of a situation, clearly lay out the steps, establish a timeline, and consider the order of execution and completion of your tasks, deliverables, or goals.

Availability:

  • BigPicture (Cloud; Server; Data Center)—2 scenarios per project (1 public, 1 private).
  • BigPicture Enterprise (Cloud; Server; Data Center)—unlimited scenarios per project.
  • BigGantt (Cloud; Server; Data Center)—2 scenarios per project (1 public, 1 private).

2. Calendar module

Adding tasks to your project is one thing. Having a clear visual overview of tasks coming up today, tomorrow, or five months ahead is a whole different story.

Now, imagine you can conveniently look up other work you have planned according to different methodologies. Or that you find out the precise dates of a given Sprint or PI with a quick glance, and see all the tasks included in that timebox. And if you manage classic projects, you might want to have a low-level overview of tasks scheduled for a particular day or week.

With the Calendar module, you can do it all.

The Calendar module will help you stay organized and up-to-date with your tasks planned on all connected platforms. It displays the number of tasks planned for each day which you can click and view on a separate modal. You can also reschedule them with an easy drag-and-drop feature, add new tasks to your Calendar, or edit the existing ones.

Additionally, if you want to see the tasks planned not only for today but also several weeks ahead, expand the “Upcoming tasks” sidebar on the right hand-site for a more comprehensive view. You can also add markers to any day to make sure you do not forget about anything important planned for that day.

Availability:

  • BigPicture (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
  • BigPicture Enterprise (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
A Calendar view for a classic project.

3. Overview module (a.k.a command center)

If your organization runs several initiatives simultaneously on different levels, it is essential to keep and manage them in one place rather than have them scattered around living their own separate lives. What comes to mind is the command center for your projects, programs, and portfolios.

In BigPicture and BigGantt, we call this command center the Overview module. This module provides a centralized intelligence space for decision-makers who need to view and track all the initiatives running across an organization. This module not only keeps all your initiatives in one place but also allows you to structure those initiatives and track their progress in a unified and standardized way.

Overview module: a Hierarchy view.

 

You can view your initiatives at the portfolio level in 3 different ways: with the Hierarchy view, you will see an outline of the whole structure of your initiatives; with the Timeline view, you will have a Gantt chart-like perspective; and with a Kanban view, you will clearly see which of your initiatives have not started yet, which are in progress, and which have been already finished.

Overview module: a Timeline view.

 

In the Overview module, you can personalize the columns you want to see (you can add custom columns too) and how you want to have them aggregated. This way, you will see exactly what you want to see and structure your initiatives at the portfolio level the way you want.

Moreover, since it is your command center, you can navigate to other BigPicture modules (e.g., Roadmap, Resources), organize your initiatives into portfolios, add new initiatives, re-arrange the existing ones, and track their overall progress, status, and costs.

Availability:

  • BigPicture (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
  • BigPicture Enterprise (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
  • BigGantt (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
Overview module: a Kanban view.

 

4. Reports

Reports can give you valuable insights, and thus, help to ensure that your project will finish according to plan. However, after long hectic days of managing a project (or projects), preparing reports for your management can be exhausting. Luckily, with the help of BigPicture’s powerful reporting tools, you can easily generate visual and informative reports on different aspects of your initiatives.

When you open the Reports module, you will see 5 predefined reports that were a staple in the app’s previous version: Status per Assignee; Assignee per Status; Issue Type per Status; Priority per Status; Priority per Assignee. Previously, you could not edit them—now you can. Additionally, you can change their width and how you want to visualize them (as a pie chart, bar chart, or list).

Predefined reports in the Reports module.

 

On top of these, the latest 8.x releases added 7 new reports which you can generate and edit as per your needs: Task report; Risk matrix; Team dependencies; Dependencies (Enterprise); Milestones & Markers (Enterprise); Velocity (Enterprise); Plan delays (Enterprise).

Enterprise users can expect to receive more report types in future releases.

Availability:

  • BigPicture (Cloud; Server; Data Center)—all predefined reports; 3 report types (Task report; Risk matrix; Team dependencies).
  • BigPicture Enterprise (Cloud; Server; Data Center)—all predefined reports; all report types.
7 customizable reports in BigPicture Enterprise.

 

5. Initiative templates (a.k.a Box Types)

In the latest BigPicture generation, we replaced “Programs” with “Initiative Templates” which, essentially, enable you to group all your projects, products, teams, or portfolios. Why it is one of the best features? Templates, paired with advanced filtering options, give you unparalleled clarity and control over all of your initiatives. Or, the “big picture” of your initiatives, if you will.

A few releases later, we added several initiative templates that have different configurations depending on the type of business initiative. Thus, you can have such templates as “SAFe ART,” “Iteration,” “Portfolio,” “Agile Project,” “Sprint,” and many more.

Template, as the name suggests, will save you a lot of time since you configure it only once. And when you adjust the settings as per your preferences, you can apply the configuration to a new template or let it inherit the configuration from the upper-level templates.

Availability:

  • BigPicture (Cloud; Server; Data Center)—all 11 default templates; users can create up to 11 initiative templates.
  • BigPicture Enterprise (Cloud; Server; Data Center)—all 11 default templates; users can create unlimited initiative templates.
  • BigGantt (Cloud; Server; Data Center)—all 11 default templates; users can create up to 11 initiative templates.
The 11 default Initiative Templates.

 

6. Integration with Jira Cloud

Your organization is like no other. You likely work within different structures and use different Jira Cloud instance configurations. Having this in mind, we wanted to provide our users with a holistic overview of their organization based on data from many sources.

Therefore, with the release of BigPicture Enterprise 8.5, we introduced the possibility of integrating BigPicture with multiple Jira Cloud instances. After you complete the integration, you will be able to work with your Jira Cloud projects from within BigPicture.

Availability:

  • BigPicture Enterprise (Cloud).

7. Gantt module

The Gantt module is not entirely new but in the eighth generation, it received a major re-design and improvements. And thus, it completely replaced the module from the previous version. Plus, in the meantime, it has received quite a few new functionalities.

In the Gantt module, apart from the staple Gantt chart with a timeline and WBS, you will find the Resources panel, and the Infobar. The Resources panel gives you an overview of your resources’ workload. Whereas Infobar will show you the most important information related to your project, i.e., Overdue tasks, Critical path, Dependencies, and Milestones.

And if you need to share a view with someone, simply generate and send them a link. They will get the exact same view as the one you are looking at.

Availability:

  • BigPicture (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
  • BigPicture Enterprise (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
  • BigGantt (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
A work breakdown structure (left), Gantt chart (middle), and Infobar (right).

 

On a side note—the Gantt module is not only for classic projects. You can effectively use it in Agile, or even as a roadmapping tool.

8. Security: role-based access control

The security level built into your project management software determines your project’s safety. Too little security can open your projects to people who are not part of your initiative. Or, allow your team members to make changes in your project by mistake. On the other hand, too much security can restrict your team from accessing the information they need.

BigPicture features two global security roles (an app admin and an app user) and the Resource Admin role.

The first role is the app admin who can access and manage all the initiative templates in the BigPicture instance, and gadgets. They can also assign security permissions to specific initiative templates, which are determined by the portfolio structure.

The second role is the app user who can access and manage specific, individually assigned initiative templates and their children. Users with global roles and access to upper-level templates can also access all lower-level templates.

And the third role is the Resource admin who, essentially, extends the app user role. Resource admins can access all the pages on the Administration page and perform all operations within these pages as long as they are related to the Resources.

You can edit security settings anytime.

Availability:

  • BigPicture (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
  • BigPicture Enterprise (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
  • BigGantt (Cloud; Server; Data Center).
Security settings for the respective app roles.