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Sep 29

Risk Management with BigPicture plugin for JIRA

Once your project is fully scheduled and tracked, with time you will note that some tasks are of particular attention. Either because they are known for causing trouble (like returning bugs) or simply due to their utmost importance. You could note this all on a sticky note and keep it in your head. Or, you can use the Risk matrix module of BigPicture to keep things tidy and usable.

Setting up

Once you have a Program, you have its Risk matrix already set up.


The only thing left is to populate it with some tasks, and there are 2 main approaches our customers usually take.

Assign risk levels to existing tasks

A very common scenario, where the Risk module serves as a way to prioritize selected tasks from the Program.

For any task to appear on the Matrix, it needs to have any values set for 2 custom fields installed with the plugin.

By default, these fields are called Risk Consequence and Risk Probability. You can edit the fields’ names and visibility (such as showing them on the JIRA task screen) just like you do with any other custom field. First, go to the custom field list and note the new entries:


Now click the gear icon next to the field and select Edit to change the name and description:


Lastly, under the same menu select Configure to re-arrange the options. You can add and subtract risk levels as you desire to create a customized matrix:


To make the fields visible on tasks inside a project, go to the project’s administration, then screens:


Click the screen name (Default on the screenshot) and on the new screen, scroll down and add the 2 Risk fields by typing:


Alternatively, you may simply open a task and select Admin->Add Field:


The last thing left is to visit a task and set the levels:


Creating non-task Risks

Some prefer to have separate tasks representing different Risks, not connected to the actual work pieces. For such a scenario, we recommend creating a Risk type for JIRA tasks:


In this setup we also recommend making the Risk fields visible only for the Risk type and making the fields required. When you add a custom field you can set what context the custom field applies to, such as the project, and the issue-type. You can simply delete the Risk fields and then re-create them to define this. If you then configure in that project’s Field Configuration scheme and make that custom field _required_, when an issue of that issue-type is created that custom field will be added and required in the create phase.

You can find more details in the following documentations:


Operating operationally

With the matrix full of your precious tasks, you can do a few neat things. The module is designed as a high-level tool for tracking manually specified tasks. You can drag and drop them around to update the levels, or use the table below for inline editing:


Please note that the table allows you to change the assignee. A common practice across Project Managers across the world is to have a look at the Risk matrix, use the Unresolved Quick Filter to see only open tasks, and if any of them is in the upper-right corner (AKA trouble territory), re-assign them to people with less work on their hands and/or competences better suited for the problem. They can also edit the Risks’ summaries, such as by adding an exclamation mark to them. This is often done on a separate screen, using the fullscreen mode.

It is also possible the embed the matrix as a gadget in JIRA dashboard or Confluence page:


That’s about it for the current version of the Risk matrix! In 2017, the module will be reworked to more comprehensively cover the most common risk management approaches, such as Risk acceptance and mitigation processes. We’d love to hear your ideas and include them in the next version!


And for now, stay tuned for next week – we’ll go through all the new stuff in BigPicture 6.0, debuting in a few days!

About The Author

We're SoftwarePlant team. We're striving to make Jira, Trello, Google Calendar and 'you name it' task management software talk to each other, and at the speed of light. We will one day unite them all. When the dream comes true will you still need any 'uber-software', other than BigPicture, to manage projects?