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May 04

How to gear Jira for a Large Enterprise?

Jira for an enterpriseLet’s suppose you’re a big multinational company. Is it reasonable for a large enterprise to choose Jira as a long-term project/product management solution? How to set it up to increase the chances of company-wide adoption? If an overseas subsidiary rejects Jira, in favor of their ‘local’ Trello instance, could it put the whole initiative at risk?

And is Jira the right tool to combine the efforts of agile teams with the workflows of waterfall-practicing departments? Will a CEO be supplied with a single progress bar for all the subsidiaries, branches, and departments? Let’s shape short answers to all these enterprise-level questions.

Is Jira a sound long-term choice?

Large companies need established solutions, ones that will stay alive within decades, right? Have a look at the below screenshot. Already the most popular project management framework in the world, in addition, Jira exhibits an upward trend. You can confirm this statement on Google Trends. Read more: Is Jira a risk-free project management framework?

Project management software by market share

Source: Datanyze. Project management software by market share.


How to ensure the company-wide adoption of Jira?

…throughout subsidiaries, branches, departments, and teams.

Short answer: you can’t.

Long answer: you shouldn’t.

Trello Jira integration two way synchronizationIn a multinational enterprise, if teams are to be efficient, they must be allowed their favorite tools. A dictated, ‘central’ project management solution might doom productivity and create loads of detached from reality, made-to-order data. If they love Trello, let them keep it. How to put this into practice? You need an ‘umbrella’ app that will reside on top of your ‘chief’ Jira and suck data from those Trello instances.

One such ‘umbrella’ app is BigPicture version 8, which debuts in 2020. It resides on top of your headquarter’s Jira, but lets you connect ‘local’ Jiras or Trellos to the motherboard so that they collectively create sort of a network. At the same time, BigPicture is a PPM (Project Portfolio Management) plugin for Jira, has all the roadmaps, Gantt charts, and WBS-es. Since BigPicture is essentially a plugin, you can get it from Atlassian Marketplace, it’s easy to install, and reasonably priced. And it lets your enterprise run projects with that great-for-distributed-and-dispersed-teams Jira.

Enterprise Gantt chart

Sophisticated Gantt chart of BigPicture. An enterprise can easily build a multi-level, hierarchical WBS tree in the left pane.


Mixed agile-waterfall working environment

Hybrid project/product management is inherent in large companies. What does the ‘hybrid’ mean? It’s just unrealistic to expect that 100% of subsidiaries, branches, teams, and departments in any given corporation have agile workflows. Business development, HR, or law departments tend to work waterfall-style, even if all the product owners and engineers have embraced agile. CEOs and boards of directors also tend to think ‘timeline’, not ‘iterations’.

Consequently, the ‘How to gear Jira for an enterprise?’ question boils down to this: how to the product management (agile world) with the project management (waterfall world) in a single PPM solution?

Iterations on Gantt chart, hybrid PM

Hybrid project management with BigPicture Gantt chart. Agile iterations and PIs overlay on the Gantt chart.


Product owners, engineers, developers, and even marketing teams might be thankful for regular Jira because it’s an excellent product management app, thanks to the Scrum and Kanban boards, and the backlog. However, as far as senior management and project managers are concerned, Jira lacks three things:

  1. classic project management tools, such as Gantt charts, resource management modules, risk matrices
  2. cross-team, program increment-level boards, and roadmaps
  3. and higher aggregation levels – we mean a progress bar for each project, program, phase, Agile Release Train, or for the whole portfolio. So that a CEO or the board of directors, or a product owner/project manager can monitor the progress of whatever high-level item they are responsible for

Again, BigPicture kicks in here. It has Scope, Gantt charts, Roadmaps, Cross-team Boards, Resources, Risks, Teams, and Reports modules. All of them feeding on thousands of issues that you store in Jira.

BigPicture 8 portfolio-level reporting

Portfolio-level progress tracking in BigPicture. Monitor agile programs, hybrid, and waterfall projects using the ‘Overview’ module. – a standalone tool in the near future

Let’s get back to the first question: is Jira a safe, risk-free solution for a large corporation? Are there exit strategies, if something goes wrong en route? I can see two of them:

  • give up Jira entirely and stick to, a standalone enterprise-level tool. In this scenario, you use’s issue tracker engine, instead of the Jira’s one. Teams can still keep their ‘local’ Jira or Trello instances attached to projects, programs, ARTs, or phases of BigPicture. Note that is a standalone PPM tool, as opposed to BigPicture, which is a plugin for Jira. is to debut in 2021.
  • or: keep the Jira, but abandon BigPicture. Choose another project management app from Atlassian Marketplace – compare major players here.



The ultimate answer is ‘Yes, Jira is an excellent choice for a large corporation’. Firstly, the Atlassian ecosystem looks promising in terms of lifespan. Secondly, Jira welcomes third-party project management add-ons that supplement what Jira lacks. Thirdly, all-in-one ‘umbrella’ apps, such as BigPicture 8, exist and they increase the chances of widespread adoption in a multinational company.


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.