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Aug 24

‘Umbrella’ portfolio management in BigPicture 8. Four perspectives: Senior manager, PM, team member, and admin

Umbrella portfolio management toolPrograms known from BigPicture 7 have been retired, and Boxes were born in BigPicture 8. With that, BigPicture has transformed into an umbrella portfolio management tool. What does ‘umbrella’ imply? Firstly, you can now oversee agile, hybrid, waterfall (classic), and other theoretically incompatible undertakings as combinable Boxes. Secondly, you can connect Trello and other popular tools to those Boxes, and source tasks from there.

Anything can constitute the Box: a project, LeSS requirement area, a stage, a SAFe Agile Release Train, an iteration, or even a program or portfolio. While you can keep separate Gantt charts, Boards, Roadmaps, Risk matrices, etc. for each of these Boxes, the Boxes combined can produce a single progress bar for a CEO to keep an eye on. It stands in opposition to what we saw in BigPicture 7, where relatively inflexible programs barely produced that much desired big picture.

Not only can BigPicture 8 unify agile programs with classic projects. The Boxes have sockets to accept tasks from Trello, and will have similar sockets for extra Jira Cloud/Server instances, Azure DevOps, and Rally Software. Consequently, your teams can retain the tools they love. Plan and manage their work with BigPicture’s Gantt charts, Resources, Roadmaps, Boards, and Risks. Let the CEO get a bird’s eye view of the whole organization with BigPicture Overview and Reports. At the same time, your teams can keep their beloved Trello, Jira, Rally, or TFS.

It is why we consider BigPicture 8 an umbrella PPM tool.

Now let’s see one by one, how a CEO, a project manager, a team member, and a software admin take different perspectives on the umbrella portfolio management in BigPicture 8.

1. Bird’s eye view for the senior managers

We’ll deliberately simplify things for a while. The CEO and the senior managers could theoretically keep an eye on the top Root / Home row of the Overview module in BigPicture 8 only. All the projects, programs, and products under development converge here. It’s here where that ‘single progress bar’ of the whole organization can be seen. Of course, the senior managers could also drill down to where project/product managers look at – see the next section.

Big picture of all projects. BigPicture 8 Overview module

Senior management will typically keep an eye on the Root / Home row, but they could drill down to the Program / Project level, too.



2. Project managers’ perspective

A project or product manager will typically make use of all the modules BigPicture has long offered, such as the Gantt chart, Scope, Program board, Roadmap, Resources, Teams, Risks, Reports, as well as the entirely new Calendar.

New in BigPicture 8 is the fact that you can add tasks from many Trello accounts and boards to the scope of a BigPicture project, program, ART, or phase. Sockets for Azure DevOps Server (TFS), extra Jira Cloud/Server instances, and Rally will follow suit. Once you’ve modified a task in BigPicture, the changes commit back to that Trello, Jira, and Azure DevOps Server (2-way sync).

Add Trello, Jira Cloud Server tasks to new Gantt chart of BigPicture 8

A team may elect to keep a tool they love, such as Trello, whereas a PM can still manage the team’s work with BigPicture Gantt chart, Scope, Program board, and other modules. The sync works bi-directionally: Trello to BigPicture and back.

3. Team member’s perspective

Team members can keep the tools they love, such as Trello, Jira Cloud/Server, Azure DevOps Server, or Rally (see calendar). The idea behind BigPicture 8 is ‘let teams keep the tools they love’.

Or, they may use tools available in BigPicture, such as the Gantt chart or Program Board.


4. Admin’s perspective

Finally, let’s move on to the software administrator role. One should understand that, say, the Agile Project Box type (see the below screenshot) is a configurable template, whereas the live instances of the ‘Agile Project’ Box type, have their switches and controls, too. Hence, the whole ‘umbrella’ is configurable both by the admin (Box types) and by project managers (instances of Boxes – real-life projects).

Predefined box types in BigPicture 8

Make use of BigPicture 8’s predefined Box types, such as Agile, Classic, and Hybrid Projects. Also, note the ‘Add new Box type’ button, available in BigPicture Enterprise (top right), which a BigPicture admin could use to add Product, Phase, or another custom Box type. All this stands in contrast to BigPicture 7, where all you had were just programs.

Rename modules Box tyle

Honing the Agile project Box type. You can enable/disable/rename modules available within the context of this Box, for instance.


BigPicture 8 is a landmark edition. It advances to the umbrella tools league, thanks to the portfolio management-oriented Boxes, as well as the sockets that will accept tasks coming from extra instances of Jira Cloud/Server, Trello, Azure DevOps, and Rally.


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.