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Oct 02

Manage Scope in Jira. New Scope module in BigPicture 7

Scope female magician

Indeed, when defining the scope of a project you’re like that magician. In 99% of cases the scope would later change, hopefully not reaching the level of scope creep.

Had the founding fathers of Strategic Defense Initiative a.k.a. Star Wars properly defined the scope, this gigantic project wouldn’t have failed at the age of 10. What they saw back then was a massive scope creep. Back to reality: what can you, a project manager do to properly define and manage a change in your project’s scope in Jira + BigPicture?

First, you need experience ;) Second, you need a tool. A flexible one.

What a Scope management tool for Jira should be able to…

Scope management is all about being able to ‘observe a project from various perspectives’. Think pyramid, think work breakdown structure, think drilling-down high-level tasks/goals, think changing the order of rows, and most importantly – select columns accordingly. For instance, when doing short-term management you might want to see assignees, whereas when dealing with deliverables or sprints you might wish to see aggregated story points.

So, to effectively manage scope of a project you simply need an extremely flexible… pivot table. In Jira.

There are a couple of competitors in the ‘scope management in Jira’ game. This is one notable comparison of them and this is another one. Now let’s look closer at the new Scope module in BigPicture 7.

How to manage scope with Jira + BigPicture?

BigPicture features a couple of new modules. ‘Scope’ is one of them.


Jira Scope plugin

Scope module in BigPicture 7.

Over 100,000 tasks?

Plenty of due work on the screenshot, right? How about 100,000+ tasks in a project/portfolio? We’ve estimated that the new Scope module in BigPicture is capable of handling that, or even more, in a single project or program (what’s the difference).

Save custom column viewCustom column views in the new Scope module

Each project is different. A two-week ‘prepare for a trade show’ project needs a very different column set than a massive ‘release a new product’ program. Ever-trending fields do exist though, so let’s name just a few: key, story points, risk probability, assignee and reporter.

There are dozens of column headers available in the BigPicture’s Scope module, as seen on the below animation.

Having set up your view, you can decide whether to save that view and/or make it your ‘favourite’. See the beside image.

Scope in Jira, select columns, width

Change columns’ width and add new columns to your view. Save or dismiss that newly built view.


Aggregate story points, max, sum, avgAggregate values to see the big picture

‘What have we spent?’, ‘how much time do we need?’, ‘how many story points have we burnt?’ are PMs’ daily questions. You can aggregate columns in the new Scope module to get all the answers.

Besides the standard min, max, sum, avg operators, available are fancy ones, such as Avg_no_parent or Subtask_status_categories_percentage.

Quick filtersNarrow your focus

The big picture is almost always preferable ;) but… you may occasionally need to narrow your search. All three industry-standard search methods are available in BigPicture’s new Scope module:

  • Quick Filters
  • Text search
  • JQL search

Agile sprints and the Scope module

Scope agile sprints

Tasks are grouped in agile sprints and shares of To do/In progress/Done tasks are shown in the rightmost column.


Check Check Scope module Docs for more features.


Scope module tutorial



Scope vs. Gantt chart

BigPicture users might notice that the new Scope module looks like the left half of our proven Gantt chart module. Not entirely true. Sure, both the Scope module and the Gantt chart module feature Work Breakdown Structure, but that WBS is much more flexible in the former. Let’s look closer at how do the two modules differ…

Gantt chart Scope module
Typical activities visualize workflow on the timeline
  • ‘roughly’ plan project
  • decompose large chunks of work, e.g. tasks into work packages
  • create structure, e.g. Program Epic > Features > Stories
  • time track tasks, PIs, sprints, etc.
  • aggregate values. For instance ‘how many story points/PI will the entire project burn?’
  • edit tasks in-line*
  • multi-edit tasks in-line*
  • multi-drag&drop tasks*

* at the time of writing this is an upcoming feature

Planning horizon The Gantt chart is more efficient for short-term planning, or operations management. The Scope module is equally suitable for short-, medium- and long-term planning.


Scope and Scaled Agile Framework

The new Scope module is totally suitable for those with SAFe® background.

Think ARTs instead of projects.

Think RTEs instead of Project Managers.

Work Breakdown Structure is rarely seen in SAFe®, ‘backlog structure’ and ‘feature structure’ are more common.


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.