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8 Most Common Mistakes Users Make in BigPicture


We all make mistakes, as it’s a human thing… and when we do, it is a great opportunity to learn and grow. Implementing technology to automate our operations may significantly decrease the level of potential errors.

The world of software is fast-paced and constantly changing. The automated processes usually require a certain level of expert knowledge, however,  mistakes are still inevitable to occur. We've taken a closer look at questions from BigPicture users, and we have noticed certain patterns of mistakes managers and admins make when configuring and using our flagship product.

 In this article, you will find a compiled list of the most common mistakes our customers make while using BigPicture and a brief explanation on how to prevent further confusion.

1. Confusing Boxes with Box types

Together with the 8th generation of BigPicture, we've introduced full support for portfolio-level management and the possibility to organize all your projects, programs, products, teams, or initiatives into various collections and track them in a standardized way. It was a pivotal moment for our users to adopt this new feature. Although, some are still not using the system to its full potential and confusing the “tree-like structure” of Boxes, with Box types.

Boxes are flexible management spaces for tasks. BigPicture allows within these spaces to combine agile and classic projects, products, Agile Release Trains (SAFe ARTs), Requirement Areas (LeSS), and many more. Furthermore, they empower to manage initiatives and to track the progress of diversified portfolios. Boxes can source tasks from third-party tools, and anytime during their lifecycle, their configuration can be perfected.

With Boxes in BigPicture you can manage the following areas:

  • Scope (Box Configuration and Business Administration)
  • Dependencies between Tasks (Board and Gantt modules)
  • Allocated resources (Resources and Gantt modules) 
  • Key Deadlines / Milestones (Markers)
  • Goals and Objectives (Roadmap module)
  • Risks (Risks module)


Box Types are like templates to create a Box that can be edited and adjusted to your evolving organization. You can use preconfigured Box Types (frameworks), or you can amend their settings to suit your needs.

BigPicture Box Types:

  • Program Box 
  • Program Increment 
  • Iteration

BigPicture Enterprise additional Box types:

  • Portfolio
  • Waterfall project
  • Hybrid project
  • Agile project
  • Waterfall stage
  • Hybrid stage
  • SAFe ART
  • LeSS requirement area


2. Confusing Box Hierarchy with Task Hierarchy (Work Breakdown Structure) 

BigPicture allows you to design the custom hierarchy and create your portfolios. Box hierarchy is the way we see Boxes and is related to the scope definition. Within scope definition, you can define a range of tasks available in a Box. There are 3 different types based on scope information:

  • None – No tasks inside, just a grouper
  • Own-scope – List of all tasks connected with Jira projects (listing Jira issues)
  • Sub-box – List of tasks filtered from an Own-scope Box

Task hierarchy (WBS – Work Breakdown Structure) within the Box, can be generated automatically, or built manually. Thanks to Tasks Structure builders your own hierarchy may be pre-configured, and consequently saved and used as a template. Task Structure can be created based on both build-in task attributes (e.g., Epic link, Component, Version, Sprint) as well as links.

Example of Task structure builders in order:

  • Project
  • Epic
  • Sub-task

BigPicture > Administration > Select Box type > Tasks > Scope definition / Task structure


3. Attempting to create conflicting task structures 

Some structure builders cannot be enabled together as they generate structure conflicts. By definition, the application cannot duplicate the same task. Hence, when selecting structure builders it is crucial to create a defined process. As a result of the not correctly built structure, a task will be nested under only one of the builders: which has a higher priority.


4. Defining incorrect task start and end date

The important point, which quite often is omitted, is to remember that the Gantt chart requires defined start and end points to display a taskbar on the timeline. The application allows you to synchronize Start & End Date aptly with your current needs. It is really easy, as long as you map all the data correctly.

If you already use date fields in Jira, such as Due date, simply map them and BigPicture will synchronize tasks accordingly. However, if you want to base your schedule on an estimated time and resource availability map the end date to a time estimate field (Original estimate or Time spent + Remaining estimate).

Mapping has to be done in the planning stages, as otherwise, tasks will automatically source the creation date as a start date with a duration period of just one day, and when the end date is not defined the system will select the following day as the end date. This process has to be mapped in the Jira Administration BigPicture App configuration panel to avoid unintentional updates of the schedule.

 BigPicture App configuration > General synchronization settings
defining tasks.gif

5. Searching for data aggregation in wrong places

BigPicture has a very unique advantage and is capable of measuring and tracking progress not only on a single task level but also on a project or its phases level. 

However, some users struggle to see the results of the aggregation process on a higher level. The visibility of this function is not always automated. For this reason, one should remember to configure the system accurately. Starting with simply adding the time tracking column and then selecting aggregation based on data you wish to receive.


6. Incompatibility in mapping teams in BigPicture

Quite often, moving from Jira to BigPicture we can notice a lack of information about teams. Good configuration of the system helps us to ensure no information is missing and accurate resources are responsible. BigPicture uses the “Team task field” to create a bridge for information and store Team codes assigned to tasks. We recommend mapping it with Labels, as the simplest way to keep track of work and teams that are responsible for delivery. However, if the Labels have a different purpose in your case, use any Jira Single Select Custom Field. It's worth remembering that in App configuration, we must select the appropriate team task field, so the mapping of this process is completed. 

BigPicture App configuration > General synchronization settings

7. Confusing BigPicture with BigPicture Enterprise

BigPicture is our flagship product ideal to manage and view the progress of your Portfolio, Products, and Projects, with information clarity on all management levels. BigPicture Enterprise is an extension of BigPicture, which offers you the next level of customization and flexibility, with unlimited  Boxes and what-if scenarios. Please keep in mind that you need BigPicture first to be able to get BigPicture Enterprise.


8. Not reading the documentation

We know it is easy to contact support with any issue and we’re always happy to help. However, to set up a new support ticket, you need to provide all the necessary information about your system, hosting platform, Jira type, etc., which might be a bit daunting. If you like to find answers on your own, you will be delighted to know we do have our own wiki. It’s a great platform where you can find answers to your current question, but also a source of information to deepen your knowledge of the system. We continuously work on improving the quality of information, readability, and clarity of every section. You can find it here. However, the easiest way to access it is directly from the BigPicture main bar, under the Help Center. We advise you also to check our YouTube Channel where we have a whole section of Tutorial videos.




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Deleted user December 7, 2021

That's a very useful first-hand information set. Thank you @Anna-BigPicture

Like Anna-BigPicture likes this
Fabian Lim
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December 7, 2021

This is very helpful.  Thanks @Anna-BigPicture 

Like Anna-BigPicture likes this
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