Third from a series of product comparison articles

If you already use a tool to manage your Jira projects, or you’re looking for a project management tool that fits with your organization, then this series of comparison articles is for you. You might also want to check the other product comparison articles as well: Advanced roadmaps and Structure. We’re taking a look at some of the most popular project portfolio management tools that integrate with Jira. Of course, each has their pros and cons and some may fit better with your needs than others.

Down to business: Swanly vs. BigPicture

Today, we’ll be comparing our plug&play app Swanly, a super easy to use and set up, portfolio project plan and roadmap tool built for Jira Cloud, and BigPicture, the portfolio, product and project management app developed by SoftwarePlant and available on Jira Cloud, Jira Server and Data Center. We’re also comparing their features side by side in a comprehensive infographic at the end of this article.

Quick overview of BigPicture

Overview of BigPicture app in Jira
BigPicture - Jira app overview

Toolset for project management

BigPicture is a whole set of tools that can be used to run a project portfolio; it includes a program dashboard, Gantt charts, roadmap view (kanban-like), risk management table, dependencies table, resource management, and a hierarchical list view of project tasks.

Visualize everything

Manage and visualize projects, programs, products and portfolios, no matter the complexity and interdependencies.

Plan with Gantt module

BigPicture’s Gantt module allows you to plan and manage issues from across projects in a single timeline. The Overview module on the other hand, offers a high-level portfolio view, while the other modules allow for managing and tracking specific tasks.

Aggregate your data

Collect and aggregate data from many levels and tools like Jira, Trello and others, then track progress, and create informative reports.

From macro to micro

Create Agile roadmaps for the big picture, then track your work at the granular level.  

Report panel section in BigPicture for Jira
BigPicture for Jira - Report Panel 


BigPicture pricing options

BigPicture is available in Jira for $5 per 10 users, or $2.8 per user beyond that.

Pros in a nutshell - BigPicture

BigPicture for Jira Pros
BigPicture pros - PPM for Jira 
  • Enjoy a whole set of tools to run your project portfolio
  • Visualize projects, programs, products, and portfolios with complex processes and interdependencies
  • Allocate resources and automate laborious tasks.
  • Aggregate data and create reports
  • Customize your workspace with the Overview module and Boxes
  • Supervise performance and track progress, then coordinate resources and distribute workloads

BigPicture customer feedback - the good, the bad, the ugly

Good

  • It is very similar to a Microsoft project, making it easy to transition
  • It is complex and powerful

Less good

  • Bottom-up approach to planning estimates and scheduling key activities based on scope, make it more suited for waterfall projects. But you can change to Top-down planning approach in settings.
  • Tool is very complex with a steep learning curve

Quick overview of Swanly by Jexo

Swanly - PPM and product roadmap for Jira
Swanly - Project Management Roadmap for Jira

Top-down planning

Swanly is a solution that looks at both macro and micro; the long term vision uses a comprehensive roadmap, which gradually progresses into smaller work structures based on the larger goals.

Efficiency in planning and tracking

Planning and tracking in Jira with Swanly is an efficient process thanks to cross-team collaboration with multi-project releases and issues, and information that is aggregated into dashboards with actionable insights.

Granular data in report

The deliverable (which could be a release or issue) is connected to all the data specific to it in a report panel that slides seamlessly from the right, and into the roadmap itself.

Report panel in Swanly - project management for Jira
Swanly Report Panel for Jira Releases and Issues

Defined approach to info

Swanly is a plug&play app with its own system of working, planning and tracking in Jira, with minimal customization. It’s designed as a ready-made, hassle-free, simple to use solution for agile teams.

Swanly List view of Jira Releases and Issues
Swanly List view of Jira Releases and Issues

Less noise, more clarity

Swanly offers a focused, gradual approach to navigating information, which means you can take in information whenever needed without being overwhelmed; the info is compartmentalized.

Suitable for all teams

Swanly is designed as a simple, straightforward app that is easy to set up and is suitable for technical and non-technical teams alike.

Swanly report panel - project management for Jira
Report Panel slides from right

Swanly pricing options

The app is available in Jira for $10 per 10 users, or $1.5/user beyond that; bigger teams get more discounts.

Pros in a nutshell - Swanly

Project plan for Jira - Swanly pros
Pros for using Swanly - Project Plan for Jira
  • Top-down planning tool for agile teams, useful for planning key activities first
  • Minimalist tool with pre-defined and ready-to-use reports for key activities
  • Plans and objectives are clearly illustrated, with high-level details
  • Visual roadmaps help communicate goals across projects and teams
  • Insights for issues and releases are available with aggregated reports
  • Release and issue roadmaps are merged together, into one window
  • Multiple templates are available to customize delivery phases
  • Zero configuration is required
  • Multi team collaboration is possible thanks to cross-project work

Swanly Customer feedback - the good, the bad, the ugly

Good

  • Setup is simple and fast
  • Top down planning is useful for agile teams
  • Can drill down for more insights as opposed to a Gantt chart which showcases everything
  • The structure is straightforward and the approach is geared towards offering guidance
  • Uses predefined and quick way to plan and track work

Less good

  • Cannot configure much in it
  • There is no auto-scheduling available, making it unsuitable for highly complex waterfall projects
  • There are no hierarchy options available (yet)

Structure vs. Swanly feature infographic

Project management app for Jira Cloud: Swanly vs BigPicture

To summarize: Swanly vs. BigPicture

So, to give you the gist of it all.

If you're looking for a plug&play, simple tool you can get up and running within minutes (skipping the headache of setup all together) and that features a dashboard offering compartmentalized access to information so you don't go blind with everything all at once, not to mention direct access to ready-made reports, then Swanly is for you.

If on the other hand, you're looking for something much more complex with a whole set of "Microsoft project style" tools including Gantt charts, risk management table, dependencies table, and so on, with a hierarchical list view of project tasks and a comprehensive resource management module, then BigPicture is for you.