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I'm an engineering project manager, responsible for the delivery of development projects. We're currently using MS project for project for task and resource management and have been recently introduced to Atlassian Big Picture

I've found Big Picture to be inefficient in comparison to MS project with a variety of features and functions, also being cloud its not as a smooth or quick as MS project. The only advantage being you can have actual Jira issues to create a schedule

I've recently been appointed as a development project manager for teams across the globe, extending the resource pool from 16 engineers to 63 engineers in total. I want to know if anyone has experience managing such a large resource pool and what software tool you use for effective task and resource management

I'm researching about MS project online, but afraid it would double up on some of the functionality we already have with Atlassian Jira

Note: The complexity of our projects vary from project to project, we deal in Aviation/ defense, some of the project require a huge resource pool ranging from 500 to 1000 tasks and complex interdependencies

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  • Welcome to PMSE. Perhaps it's worth noting that BigPicture is not an Atlassian product. It integrates with Jira but it is sold by a company called Appfire.
    – nvogel
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 12:08
  • Yes, I know that. Thanks
    – NinjaPM
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 1:48
  • I’m voting to close this question because software recommendations are subjective and out of scope
    – MCW
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 16:24

2 Answers 2

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An alternative solution to MS Project on line consists in linking your off-line MS Project to Jira. It is possible to publish all tasks in MS Project directly to Jira taking into account the links. There are several MS Project add-ins that allow this. I use Ceptah Bridge (you can check it out here: https://www.ceptah.com/). I can manage a team of about 30 people. The interesting thing is that the link is bidirectional, and so once team members enter the hours they spent working on a task in Jira, all the information is consolidated in MS Project.

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MS Project Online vs Desktop version- MS Project Online has all the same functionality as the Desktop version with additional enterprise capabilities, such as: (+) Timesheets- Team members can create/update task status through a Project Web App (PWA) webpage (+) Resources can be managed across multiple MS Project files (+) check-in/ check-out capability if multiple PMs or project coordinators are modifying the project file. here is some online project editing capability, but it's limited and works best by checking out to modify on the desktop client, publishing, and checking back in.

MS Project Online licensing- Project Online comes in 3 subscription licenses. Project plans 1, 3, and 5. Plan 1 required for each team member for timesheet/task reporting. Plan 3 for project managers. Plan 5 for the Project Web App administrator.

Jira BigPicture (ver 8.4) Limitations I've only spent a few hours tinkering with BigPicture. Limitations I've found so far (vs MS Project). (-) Cumbersome task planning. No ability to switch between a basic task vs a Jira Issue. If a task is a Jira Issue, I'm not finding the ability to assign assign multiple resources to it. (-) No budget management. (-) No timeline feature. Useful feature in MS Project to pick select items from the Gantt chart.

Jira BigPicture (ver 8.4) Advantages (+) Risk management. Looks like risk management activities can be linked directly to the risk register/matrix. Not sure if this exists in MS Project (+) Agile/Kanban features are in MS Project but seem to be limited.

Regarding task tracking- When individual team members to enter timesheets in MS Project Online, the remaining hours decrement automatically against logged hours. Individuals can also update the estimate remaining hours. Some disadvantages are that populating a timesheet and searching for the right task is cumbersome and slower than the Tempo app in Jira.

Regarding budget management- BigPicture does not have any budgeting capabilities as far as I can tell. Not even basic functionality of baseline vs actual costs, unless you customize a workaround with custom number field.

Regarding project reporting in PowerBI I've found any data in a project file was accessible for custom PowerBI reports. A bit of a learning curve for the Odatabase schema, but all the data is there. PowerBI reports won't be live, but you can program to refresh at a specified time on a daily basis.

Regarding project analysis- The Visual Reports feature in MS Project is powerful. You can export all data to an excel workbook and use pivot tables. For example you can slice the data to analyze cost/labor/material by resource/task/time period, etc.

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  • Yes, that is correct. We do use Tempo for time management and it is easy to use. Getting the team to clock time to Project online would be a duplication as they already use Jira Tempo.
    – NinjaPM
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 1:41
  • Yes, that is correct. We do use Tempo for time management and it is easy to use. Getting the team to clock time to Project online would be a duplication as they already use Jira Tempo. The problem that we have complex engineering projects, some aspects of which use waterfall and some use agile, also external stakeholders would like to get frequent project updates through reports, which I currently struggle with given that I use MS Project for schedule management and Jira for time management. I would also like to use Power Bi for creating project dashboards with all the schedule and risks
    – NinjaPM
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 1:48
  • I associate waterfall with fixed scope, flexible duration; and agile as fixed duration, flexible scope. How are the dependencies linked between your waterfall and agile work packages?
    – guest
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 19:59
  • In my project, we have a few hardware/software integration milestones that we track. The software team operates in an agile manner (scrums, backlog, velocity tracking). I consider the final integration milestone to be fixed scope, but allow the intermediate milestones to be flexible scope.
    – guest
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 20:03
  • Interesting that you're using Jira BigPicture and assessing MS Project Online. I'm using MS Project Online and trying to assess Jira BigPicture. What limitations have you experienced with BigPicture that requires also using MS Project?
    – guest
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 22:13

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