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April 11, 2023

BigPicture vs. BigPicture Enterprise: which solution for your organization?

BigPicture BigPicture Enterprise Integrations
Agnieszka Sienkiewicz

At the core, BigPicture (BP) and BigPicture Enterprise (BPE) are equally fast and stable and both greatly extend Jira’s capabilities. Thus, the difference between these two solutions does not stem from their reliability or quality. In this particular case, it is a matter of the level of flexibility and functionality.

Since BigPicture Enterprise builds on the BigPicture standard version, at the core, you receive everything that BigPicture offers. But with the Enterprise edition, you gain even more control over your projects—without the need of adding yet another third-party tool to your Jira stack.

So let’s take a look at how these two solutions compare and what perks you can expect from the top-tier BigPicture product.

#1. Initiative templates: for creating and storing any undertaking

Initiative boxes are conceptual containers for your projects, programs, and portfolios that can store as much Jira data about them as you need. They come in 11 different initiative box templates that are pre-configured for (Scaled)Agile, Classic, and Hybrid projects, as well as programs and portfolios. Both BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise users can access and use to manage all sorts of different initiatives—no matter their size or complexity.

The 11 initiative box templates you can find in BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise. Only BPE users can create new templates and store more than 11 in total.

(Unlimited) custom initiative box templates

The main difference, however, is that only with the BigPicture Enterprise edition can you create new initiative templates on top of those 11 templates. So in case none of the templates have the right settings you need for your project, the BPE lets you create a brand new custom initiative template from scratch. In other words, custom templates give you the possibility to create the perfect setup matching the requirements of the projects run in your organization.

Moreover, as a top-tier BigPicture user, you have no limits as to the number of templates you can create, customize, and keep.

Therefore, if your organization runs multiple diverse initiatives for which they need perfect-fit “containers;” and those initiatives are part of a larger undertaking (program, portfolio) that needs active management, then BigPicture Enterprise might be a better choice for you.

#2. Modules: tools for efficient management

Modules are the unique feature of the BigPicture family. They equip you with all the necessary tools you need for managing a wide spectrum of initiatives, including Agile, scaled Agile, Classic, and Hybrid projects. There are 10 different modules in BP and BPE that are geared toward project, resource, and risk management, as well as roadmapping and reporting.

The 10 modules available in BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise.

 

Notably, the Gantt module features the Work Breakdown Structure and a Gantt chart for Classic and Hybrid projects. This module is versatile enough to make visualization of Sprints on a Gantt chart possible. To a certain extent, you can use it for resource management as well.

The Board module, on the other hand, lets you build and manage the backlog. And thanks to the Agile Board element, you can plan and visualize Sprints, iterations, and Program Increments (PIs).

On top of these, there are a few module features that only Enterprise users can access.

Custom module names

Management modules have default names that reflect their core purpose. However, every business and project is different. For some of them, those names might not be entirely accurate.

To address such situations, the Enterprise edition additionally allows the renaming of module names on the project, program, or portfolio level. For example, you might want to use the Gantt module specifically for roadmapping your Classic initiative or a product portfolio. Consequently, you could rename it to the “Roadmap” or similar.

BigPicture Enterprise lets you customize the name for every module on the project, program, and portfolio level.

 

Better resource capacity and workload management

A few of the available modules house additional perks that aid resource-related activities. Specifically, when it comes to more informed resource capacity and workload planning and management. Here, the resource is understood as an individual or a team.

Workload Contouring

The first feature is called Workload Contouring. It allows you to distribute an effort of a given resource over a specific period of a task in 4 different ways (Flat, Front-loaded, Back-loaded, and Manual). Workload Contouring is available in the Resource module and Gantt module (Resource panel).

A “Flat” Workload Contouring on Angela’s task PP-231 distributes the total effort required for task completion over the entire task duration. The “Flat” contouring is one of the 4 contouring modes available in BigPicture Enterprise.

Show Overall Assignment

The second one, the Overall Assignment, shows you all the tasks assigned to a given resource. With this Enterprise-level feature, you can fully examine assignments for a shared resource, even if the tasks belong to another project. This way, you will know what is the actual remaining capacity for your resource and fill it with tasks from your project accordingly.

According to the capacity bars next to Angela, we can see her remaining capacity in Week 09 is 24 hours, and 5.4 hours in Weeks 10-12. This capacity estimation was calculated based on the tasks belonging to the scope of the “SAFe ART (Smart house)” initiative.
With the “Show overall assignment” checked, we can now see that Angela not only does not have any remaining capacity left but her workload has greatly exceeded the weekly maximum. That is because her actual capacity was filled with light-colored tasks (tasks that do not belong to the scope of the “SAFe ART (Smart house)” initiative).

 

The Overall Assignment is hugely beneficial if you run initiatives that rely on shared resources and want to ensure you will not burden any of your project colleagues beyond their capacity. Here, BigPicture Enterprise offers more in terms of resource management—especially for managers who need temporary or cross-project resources to execute their initiative. You also get more flexibility in module management which might prove to be helpful in large organizations executing diverse projects, programs, or portfolios.

#3. Integrations: connecting additional tools

Some apps are better together, especially if you and your teams use other tools alongside Jira and BigPicture. The standard BP version allows you to plug in the Trello app. If you want to add more apps, you will need to upgrade to the BigPicture Enterprise. Thanks to this, you will be able to seamlessly add and manage multiple Jira Cloud instances right in your “master” Jira Cloud instance for better cross-team progress cooperation and coordination, and project supervision.

By connecting multiple Jira Cloud instances, you will be able to manage tasks from multiple Jiras in a single place.

 

In addition, you will also be able to connect Tempo Timesheets, Planner, and Budgets with BigPicture Enterprise Server and Data Center. The integration with Tempo Budgets might be of particular interest to your organization since BigPicture does not offer, as of yet, any module that would be solely dedicated to the financial aspect of initiative management on any level.

#4. Data and reporting: more data on your projects and teams

BigPicture reports and report dashboard help you stay on top of your projects and manage your stakeholders’ expectations. Custom and predefined reports are one of the best tools you can use for tracking and communicating project progress, scope, and schedule anytime and to whoever needs to know. You can customize them using the built-in options or the JQL language to filter the fine details you really need.

Furthermore, the reports you create stay on your dashboard. This way, you can look at them anytime you visit the Reports module without creating them from scratch every single time. Plus, you can build several versions of the same report depending on what you want to track. For example, a Milestones & markers report can show you all the milestones and markers on one report, or each of these items individually on two separate reports.

Three versions of the Milestones & markers report on the reports dashboard in BigPicture Enterprise: milestones with markers; milestones; and markers.

Advanced custom reports

The reporting feature, including the dashboard, is available to regular and Enterprise users of BigPicture but not to the same extent—the non-Enterprise edition offers all of the predefined reports but not all of the custom ones.

The custom reports available in BigPicture Enterprise. BigPicture standard is limited to the Task report, Risk matrix, and Team dependencies. The predefined reports (a few of which can be seen in the background) are for all BP and BPE users.

 

The Enterprise advanced reports, i.e., Dependencies, Plan delays, and Milestones & markers, provide the crucial data in an easy-to-read format which you will not be able to pull out of plain Jira.

Report grid customization

The reporting dashboard is like a blank page that you can populate with any report you would like, in any quantity and size. The sheer choice of size is also the Enterprise feature that further allows you to arrange visually their reports however you see fit. You can expand the grid for every report window up to three times diagonally and vertically. Blowing up the size for some of the reports might be a good idea when the report contains many details and you want to see it in a more readable format.

The Milestones & markers report on the left-hand side was resized and now it spans 2 rows and 2 columns on the reports dashboard.

 

To summarize, the reports module provides you with a lot of useful data. But, depending on the projects and the data you and your stakeholders need, the predefined and custom reports available in standard BigPicture might not be sufficient. The premium version of BigPicture offers more insights into your resources, projects, and schedule which you can further narrow down with the help of built-in options and JQL.

#5. What-if scenarios: simulating different effects on a project plan

Scenario mode allows you to create so-called what-if scenarios that will help you determine the potential outcomes based on varying conditions. They are crucial when you want to test out the outcome of the impact of varying factors on your plan, both positive and negative. Therefore, the primary purpose of what-if scenarios is to provide valuable insights leading to more informed business decisions.

Both BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise come with a Scenario mode that you can use to test out several variables. Those variables are the same for both products, with the exception of the workload contour as this feature is available only in the Enterprise edition.

The Scenario mode is available in the Gantt and Resources modules. When you enable this mode, you will be able to introduce a series of changes to your schedule and resources to test their impact on your project plan.

Unlimited scenarios

As a standard version user, you can run and keep three simulations. If you want to conduct more tests on your plan, you will need to delete one scenario to make room for another. Or—upgrade to the Enterprise version that lifts this limit and lets you create and compare as many scenarios as you want.

Consequently, for large and complex projects comprising many moving parts, unlimited what-if scenarios will prove to be extremely helpful. That is mainly because you will be able to carry out more thorough research against multiple plan versions and get a more comprehensive picture of potential outcomes. For smaller, or perhaps even more linear initiatives, three scenarios might be sufficient. Especially, when you do not need to compare as much data as it might be the case with other projects.

#6. Cloud data residency: geographic location of the server matters

Data residency is a legal matter that should concern every organization handling private data. In general, privacy law requires nationals’ and residents’ data to be collected, processed, and stored inside the country of its origin. Also, data administrators cannot transfer somebody’s data without the owner’s explicit consent.

For that reason, it is important to choose the right geographical location of the (cloud) server where you will be storing personal data. Moreover, the distance between the server and the physical location of your organization can also impact the latency. And thus, a significant distance can decrease your app performance.

Greater flexibility in server selection

When it comes to the server choice, the BigPicture standard version matches the server’s geographical location dynamically based on the location of the users. With the Enterprise edition, on the other hand, you can pick the suitable server from the drop-down list. In other words, BPE users can manage server locations themselves for data handled by their organization.

Click on the “Location” drop-down menu and select the server’s geographic location.

#7. Teams: managing a collection of resources

When you want to manage a collection of users in Jira, you simply assign them to specific Jira groups. Likewise, in BigPicture, you can go about it by creating a team of people to whom you can assign individual skills (roles).

With a dedicated BigPicture Teams module, you can create global teams and assign them to multiple initiative boxes; and “regular” teams that you assign to one initiative. Furthermore, when you assign a group of individuals to specific teams, you can easily manage their (un)availability, capacity, and team membership.

BigPicture teams based on Jira groups

If you already have created Jira groups and meticulously assigned your people to them, you do not need to do it again in BigPicture. With the recent Enterprise feature, you can create a new team based on a Jira group. You can manually synchronize those two entities. This way, whenever you add or remove a Jira group member, BigPicture Enterprise will reflect the change in team composition (and vice versa).