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Jun 24

Compare Agile at Scale Jira apps: BigPicture – Structure – Aha Roadmaps – Easy Agile – Advanced Roadmaps (Portfolio)

Agile at Scale project managementWith the newly added ‘Agile at scale’ Marketplace category, Atlassian has confirmed what the community has long expected: Jira is appealing to blue chips. While Atlassian has generalized that apps in the new category are ‘above team-level tools’, you’ll quickly discover that some of them are problem-specific, while others are more complex and cover the entire spectrum of Project Portfolio Management. Let’s compare members of the latter group.

Why did we choose the following five apps and not others? We think of them as direct and indirect competitors to our home BigPicture.

Aha! Roadmaps BigPicture Easy Agile Advanced Roadmaps (Portfolio) Structure
In a nutshell Why (Strategy view), when  (Releases view) and what (Features view) of product planning. Aha! app comes before development and the ‘How?’. Aha! Visual Product Roadmaps are more ‘product’ than ‘project’. Versatile Project Portfolio Management app for short- and long-term planning. Serves both agile and waterfall projects. Has both proven and modern PM modules. Clients say you need not one but three apps: (1) Easy Agile Roadmaps for Jira, (2) Easy Agile Programs for Jira, and (3) Easy Agile User Story Maps for Jira. Advanced Roadmaps, formerly Portfolio for Jira is an agile roadmapping app, seamlessly integrated with Jira Software, that enables better visibility across planned work for your teams. Visualize, track and manage progress across large-scale projects with adaptable, user-defined issue hierarchies.
Strategy yes
‘Strategy’ view. Graphical mindmap; personas; competitors, goals, and initiatives matrices
Themes (in 2.x, Themes provide high-level strategic focus areas to show teams where they should devote their time)
Program-level view, track progress of projects in your portfolio yes
with Strategy roadmap and Initiatives
further improved with Boxes, starting BigPicture 8
yes yes
Roadmaps: Program-, high-level roadmapping yes yes yes
program increment-level roadmaps are in Easy Agile Programs for Jira
Roadmaps: Iteration-, low-level roadmapping yes yes yes
iteration-level roadmaps are in Easy Agile Roadmaps for Jira
Roadmaps: User story roadmapping yes yes
BigPicture does not have a standalone user story roadmap, but you can place user stories, instead of goals, on the ‘regular’ roadmap
user story roadmaps are in Easy Agile User Story Maps for Jira
In Advanced Roadmaps  Cloud and Server, and Data Center 2.x you can select the hierarchy filter to display a roadmap that only shows user stories. In Advanced Roadmaps Server and Data Center 3.x, you can adjust the hierarchy range to show Story to Story and display a roadmap that only shows user stories.
Board (a.k.a. agile board, program board) yes
Features board; based on releases and not iterations or program increments
Program-level and iteration-level board, starting BigPicture 7.2
Boards in Jira Software are an issue source for Advanced Roadmaps plans. You can use Jira Software boards for program level and initiative level items as well as day-to-day planning.
Gantt chart yes
simplified Gantt chart (timeline) view within the Releases module; has work breakdown structure, task dependencies, and milestones
yes yes
simplified Gantt chart (timeline) view within the Easy Agile Roadmaps for Jira
Timeline view has basic functionalities of Gantt chart, especially with ‘Kanban’ selected in ‘Team scheduling methodology’ combo box. Alternatively, you could integrate Advanced Roadmaps with Gantt module of BigGantt/BigPicture. How?
with Structure.Gantt, an extension to Structure for Jira
Resources pane below Gantt chart yes yes
with Structure.Gantt, an extension to Structure for Jira

a standalone work breakdown structure module, separate from the Gantt chart or Roadmap

yes yes yes yes
the extra checkmark for the Scope module being central in the app, and thus, refined
Risks yes
Resources yes
yes yes
simplified, per-team, per-sprint, resource management using story points on the program roadmap
yes yes
the extra check mark for the auto-scheduling feature
Skill management yes yes
Teams yes yes yes
Reporting yes yes
the extra check mark for spreadsheet-style pivots and charts
BigTemplate extension helps a lot with reporting. You can export data from various modules of BigPicture and customize templates.
yes yes yes
the extra check mark for the spreadsheet-style auto-sum row below each structure
Project management methodologies
Agile yes yes yes yes yes
Suitable for SAFe® yes yes yes yes
Hybrid (agile and waterfall) yes yes yes yes yes
Waterfall yes yes yes yes yes
Selected features
JQL filters yes yes
Plans can be created based on JQL queries, although Filters specifically are not supported.
What-if scenarios yes
Publishing, exporting Publish roadmaps and views to audiences outside of Aha! Formats: web page, image, pdf Use BigTemplate extension to publish data from various components, including Gantt charts; export individual issues with customizable templates; exchange information with MS Project. Supported formats: mpp, mpx, pdf, xml, csv, xlsx, doc, docx. Export roadmap to pdf. Share a read-only link to a plan or embed an iframe. (a) You can download the structure that you see on the screen as an xls, printable page – with Structure for Jira

(b) You can produce pdf or svg file with your Gantt charts using configurable export; with Structure.Gantt

Timeline vs. Grid
Timeline, chart approach yes yes yes yes
Grid, spreadsheet approach yes yes yes yes
Business data
Hosting – Jira: Server, Cloud Server, Data Center, Cloud Server, Data Center, Cloud, with the exception of Programs, that are not available for Cloud Server, Data Center, Cloud Server, Data Center, Cloud
Atlassian Top Vendor yes yes yes

An effort was made to gather accurate data, but these apps are sometimes incomparable. Data current at the time of writing. Help improve the table – e-mail marketing (a)


Additional considerations

  • All five apps were designed ‘Agile at Scale’ by Atlassian. Google ‘agile at scale atlassian marketplace’. BigPicture, Advanced Roadmaps (Portfolio for Jira), and Structure might be thought of as more advanced applications, more on that here.
  • All five keep in-sync with Jira.
  • Aha! Roadmaps have the interesting ‘Ideas’ portal. You can substitute that with a regular backlog in the other four.
  • Structure is distinctively different because of its spreadsheet, grid approach, while the other four are more timeline-centered. BigPicture and Advanced Roadmaps are in fact dual—they also have grid-based Scope views. Structure.Gantt extension adds a timeline to Structure for Jira.
  • The roadmaps of Aha! and Easy Agile are in fact simplified Gantt charts; this is why we think you might try to work waterfall-style using the two, especially with the Aha! app, as it has the work breakdown structure within its roadmaps.

Also, check BigPicture vs. Advanced Roadmaps and BigPicture vs. Structure.



Since we compare Agile at Scale apps here, you might be wondering why we have included the waterfall Gantt charts in the above table. This is why:

  • According to a recent research1, the vast majority of the world’s business is still waterfall to some extent, especially on the top management levels.
  • Even the roadmaps of Aha! Roadmaps and Easy Agile Roadmaps for Jira are, in fact, simplified Gantt charts.

1 PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2017®. Project Management Institute, Newtown Square, PA, U.S.A.


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.