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August 17, 2022

6 awesome benefits of project management software

Project Management
Jerzy Żurawiecki Content Specialist @BigPicture

As a project manager, you have a lot on your plate. Staying on top of so many things can be overwhelming. PPM tools can help alleviate some of the everyday burdens, but only the best ones support you comprehensively. If you haven’t used one before, here are six benefits of project management software that will change how you handle your initiatives.

Benefits of Project Management Software

1. Saving time

Project managers have their hands full at all times. Hence, they expect their PPM tools to reduce the time of actions they must perform on a daily basis.

BigPicture saves managers’ time in a variety of ways. The big one is a two-way integration with Jira. When a team member creates a task in Jira, it is reflected in BigPicture. This also works the other way around. Whenever you change a date, assign someone to a task, or perform any other project-related action, your team will see it in Jira too. Simply put, you make changes once, and they apply to both tools automatically.

The sync has another perk as well. It allows teams to work in the same module simultaneously. In the era of remote project planning and schedule setting, it’s a hugely beneficial solution. It’s also valuable for Sprint or Program Increment planning.

When you create a new project with a structure similar to your previous ones, you don’t have to worry about making a task structure, issue hierarchy, or Work Breakdown Structure from scratch. You can use the last project as a template for the new one. That way, the appropriate hierarchy is ready from the start. All you have to do is add new tasks.

Task structure selection in BigPicture

It goes further than that. You can clone the entire scope and make quick changes using in-line editing. With BigPicture, manual structuring is a thing of the past.

Scope cloning in BigPicture

What about applying this method at scale? It’s more than possible. All you have to do is define the rules for a given project type. Whether it’s Agile, Classic, or Hybrid: set the rules once, and they will apply any time you create a new project in BigPicture. The more projects you structure this way, the more time you save.

2. Clarity of information

Each project comprises so many variables that it’s often hard to track them all. The abundance of information requires proper visualization.

Consequently, in BigPicture, you have a clear view of the whole project structure. You can see the entire hierarchy of epics, tasks, and sub-tasks. From there, you can quickly go to the desired item. This structure makes it easy to find things and place them in a broader context.

SAFe Roadmap in BigPicture

Most actions you can perform by using drag-and-drop and in-line editing. This eliminates the need to dig through the entire task structure. The changes apply immediately, and you see them in the high-level overview. It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

On top of that, the most critical pieces of information are aggregated based on your metrics of choice. Want to see how many tasks are completed in each iteration? No problem.

Aggregation in BigPicture's Board module

What about the percentage of total story points done in each epic? Sure thing. As long as a custom field tracks what you’re looking for, you can set aggregation for it. This lets you get a clear picture of your selected criteria in a blink of an eye.

Overview in BigPicture for SAFe® projects.

Different project management methodologies require different visualization tools. In BigPicture, the modules are specific to your methodology of choice. For instance, the Classic approach utilizes a Work Breakdown Structure, but Agile uses a backlog. The variety of modules means that clarity of information is intact, no matter what methodology your team works in.

3. Seamless report generation

Presenting the overall progress of initiatives is a routine task of every project manager. The best PPM tools will help you generate reports based on project data – no need to add any numbers manually.

BigPicture does precisely that. To create a report in BigPicture, just pick the appropriate fields and filters. Then, the report will be generated automatically. How? It downloads the data straight from your Jira.

Reports in BigPicture

The creation of a report is quick, and the contents are accurate. As long as it’s up-to-date in Jira, that is. Also, reports in BigPicture update as often as you want. If anything changes in the scope of your report, it will be updated automatically after a refresh period selected by you.

4. Anticipating obstacles

Just because a plan is solid doesn’t mean the execution will follow it to a tee. Dealing with potential issues along the way is easier when you can plan for them. While it’s impossible to predict everything that might go awry, it’s still worth trying.

But how does project management software help you do that? Let’s look at some of the possibilities from BigPicture to answer that question.

The first way is by using scenarios. Let’s say you have an outline of a project: dates, phases, tasks, and resources. If you want to check what would happen if some circumstances changed, BigPicture lets you do that. You can easily create an alternative project path and modify your original timeline, scope, or resources.

Project Management Software – Scenarios vs Live view

That way, you can visualize any potential changes and their dependencies. Consequently, preparing for problems that may arise during the project’s lifetime will be easier. The scenario doesn’t overwrite the original path of the project until you decide to do so. In other words, you can keep scenarios as backup and apply them at any time with a single click.

Then, there is the Critical Path. It’s the longest possible sequence of events that results in completing the project. BigPicture calculates the critical path automatically. It means you will know which parts of the projects are immovable. This will help you make crucial decisions and save the project before it’s too late.

5. Improved team management

Staying on top of your team’s efforts, whether in the office or distributed, can be challenging. After all, your team members probably work on multiple projects. Thus, keeping track of who does what and when gets increasingly difficult with each new initiative. Comprehensive team management is a crucial part and one of the benefits of project management software.

You don’t have to go into each separately when assigning projects, epics, or tasks. You can use BigPicture’s drag-and-drop and in-line editing to assign a member on a board containing all the tasks in a given project, iteration, or sprint. It’s so much faster.

It also provides you with a broader context in terms of the workload of the team. For example, in Resources, you see how many hours or story points each team member is allocated and the specific items they will work on.

All of that is displayed on a timeline. The estimated effort and workload are aggregated daily, weekly, or monthly – it’s up to you.

Benefits of Project Management Software – Improved Team Management

This view provides project managers with lots of information at a glance. You will instantly know which team or member has too many tasks or can take on additional work in a given time frame. On top of that, there is a list of tasks assigned to each team member. All of that is instrumental in making better decisions regarding workload optimization, planning, and performance monitoring.

6. Effortless risk mapping

Every initiative carries a certain amount of risk. Managers should be able to estimate it and map out all project risks. It’s one of the main benefits of project management software.

Jira doesn’t have built-in fields for assessing and categorizing risk. However, BigPicture fixes that flaw. You can assign risk values in two dimensions: consequence and probability. The best part is how easy it is to map risks. You have a dedicated board at your disposal where you can pick a place on the matrix and add a task in a blink of an eye.

Risk Matrix in BigPicture Portfolio Project Management Software

That means you can assign risks faster and easier. Not to mention that you have a clear picture of their severity because of the visual board. The Risks module gathers Jira tasks from a given project instead of all the projects you manage. Thus, finding the issue you want to designate risk to is even faster, especially if you are involved in multiple endeavors.

Staying on top of potential threats to the project and being ready for trouble is critical in any business. The better you map your risks, the more prepared you are to mitigate them when they appear. And you don’t need a standalone risk management tool to do that. Thanks to BigPicture, you get an additional set of valuable functionalities integrated with your Jira instance.

BigPicture and Jira go well together

That’s it for the list of the six work-improving benefits of project management software. As you can see, each one concerns an area that every project manager will appreciate. Using Jira as your default work management system? BigPicture is the perfect tool to complement all your project management needs.

With the seamless two-way integration, tons of additional project management functionalities, and the ability to connect multiple Jira Cloud instances, BigPicture will be an invaluable asset for managing your projects – no matter the methodology. Check it out and get the most out of your projects.