The very first screen you will encounter after BigGantt is installed and properly configured by your Jira Administrator, is the Program Manager. This is our start screen and from here you will begin your adventure with the app.

What is a Program?

A concept of a Program was created for the purpose of creating highly editable and adjustable Project Portfolios and to assure their proper management. Jira as a project management environment has a clear-cut hierarchy and there’s no doubt about it. Users’ tasks can be aggregated in specific Projects, each with their own Versions and Components. Jira Software also introduces us to the Epic-Story structure and that’s about it.  But what if you were to try and implement Program management without changing the whole toolset? Without constant restructuring of your Jira Projects?

BigGantt and BigPicture Programs form the most basic layer of our app. Each Program can represent a JQL (Jira Query language) filter, meaning that it can set its scope to (literally) any number of Projects.

There are two basic principles which apply to a concept of a Program:

  • There is no limit to how many Programs one can create and maintain. This means that we can use the same data in 10 different Programs at once, and just configure different view settings for each if so you desire.
  • There is no limit to how many given objects (Tasks, Projects, Epics, Subtask, etc.) a Program can uphold. All of these objects are synchronized between each other, so we can use the same tasks in multiple Programs.

A common use case incorporating the above is a setup, in which teams have their own Programs, with low-level view and Edit permissions. Shareholders and Team Leaders have access to a separate Program, which pulls in tasks of all Teams. It gives them a higher-level view and view only or edit permissions. A separate admin has access to technical setup of all of the above. Obviously, this is just an example. There are many different ways in which the concept of a Program can come in handy – depending on the Project Management Methodology of one’s choice.

In order to access the Program Manager, please expand the BigGantt from Jira Menu Panel at the very top. There we can find the Gantt which we are currently working on along with our desired feature. If the application has been just recently installed this list will only show the Program Manager. That’s why we’ve aimed to cover this piece first.

Program Wizard

Once in the manager, we can see a set of menus, sorting and filtering options. Let’s focus on our Program Wizard for no as display features will be covered in the following paragraphs of this documentation.

Program Wizard can be accessed by selecting + 'Add New Program' button on the top left part of the screen just below our Program Icon and Program Name. The wizard is very easy to use and has amazingly intuitive look and feel. It allows users to build their portfolio with few smooth moves and clicks. Once we select it, we will see four interactive action bars which will guide us through a Program creation process:


Allows user to add new Programs in BigGantt

Create new Program

Allows users to either Create completely new Program from the scratch or one that uses preconfigured setup of other Program.

Clone existing Program

Creates new Program with set of settings configuration, JQL filters and dependencies between tasks which are present in its ‘Mother Program’.

Import data from file

Creates new Program based on the data from a Project imported to BigGantt.

Evaluate with sample data

Creates a Program with sample data.

Creating a new Program

By selecting this action bar, we can either Create Program from scratch or Use configuration of existing Program. After pressing the ‘Next’ button we will enter the Basic data of which first option will return a menu with fields to populate. These fields are: PROGRAM NAME, its LEADER, a period of time in which we presume our projects will be ongoing and of course privacy settings – to either make Program Visible to everyone or Visible only to its creator.

Scope data if the menu that follows and allows us to define subsets of tasks that we would like to include in our Program. As we’ve already mentioned, the user is allowed to import everything from Jira or select Projects, Boards and saved Filters. They can even create an ad-hoc JQL filters with queries they input in the extra filtering field. One is also allowed to skip all this by toggling the ‘Create brand new Jira Project’ feature. After finishing with this part (once we either define our scope or decide to create a new – empty Project) user is moved to the Advanced configuration to define the Project Key (optional – for brand new Projects) and the Scope Context User.

Scope Context User is a user in whose context the whole Program will operate. This user (for global projects) is usually a Project Manager / Lead, Scrum Master or Administrator. It is good to assure that the person has a wide range of permissions in order for Jira to correspond properly with our Program.

If in the first menu we decide to Use the configuration of an existing Program, we will be able to get a list of our portfolios from the drop-down menu and go through the same set of options as in case of Creating Program from scratch, yet with memorized data scope options.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Choose 'Create new Program' from the available options and click on the 'Next' button.
    1. Create a New Program from scratch.
    2. Use Configuration from an Existing Program (you will need to select a Mother-Program)
  2. Basic data - enter the required information:
    1. Program Name
    2. Program Leader
    3. Source file to Import
    4. Privacy Settings ('visible to everyone' or 'visible only to me')
  3. Data scope - click on the 'Create brand new Program' to start from scratch or select the following information to limit the scope of data used:
    1. Board
    2. Filter
    3. Project
    4. Extra JQL filtering conditions
  4. Advanced configuration
    1. Project Key
    2. Scope Context User
  5. Click on 'Let's get it started' 

Cloning existing Program

The second bar allows users to Clone Existing Program. What does it mean exactly and how is it different from Creating New Program with the configuration of an existing one? Well, it is - as it not only copies the configuration of its Mother-Program, but also replicates all tasks and relations between them while following the same synchronization and scope definitions.

By selecting the second option, we can choose the desired Mother-Program, press the ‘Next’ button and also define the Basic data as in the case of a New Program Creation. In this menu though, we are also able to decide if we’d rather Create new Jira Project or select an existing one to which tasks and configuration will be applied.

The last option will allow us to pick a Jira Project Key that will define our portfolio.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Choose 'Clone existing Program' from the available options.
  2. Select a source Program - from the list of available Programs amd click 'Next' button.
  3. Basic data -enter the requires Program information:
    1. Program Name
    2. Program Leader
    3. Program Start and End dates
    4. Privacy Settings ('visible to everyone' or 'visible only to me')
  4. Advanced configuration - 
    1. Choose a Project key from the list of available Projects
  5. Click on 'Let's get it started'

This option will Create a New JIRA Project. And the following settings / data from the source Program will be used - along them all issues included in the Program's scope:

  • Perspective configuration
  • Synchronization configuration
  • WBS

Importing data from a file

This bar will allow us to go through a process of creating a completely new Program and Jira Project based on the settings which we Import from either MS Project ( MPX / MPP ) or MS Excel ( XLS / XLSX ) files. Few very important rules have to be followed once importing files mentioned above and we will try to briefly describe those too.

When importing from MS Project or MS Excel to BigGantt, it's possible to change the representation of imported project in our applications. For now you can choose only from 2 possible Import WBS Strategies: a Structure based on tasks and a Structure based on Epics. Once we pick one of these two options we will be introduced to the Basic data screen as in every previous case, though in here we will see an additional option which allows us to Browse a file from which we would like to import.

Importing Microsoft Project file:

Importing a MS Project file can be done if few quick steps:

Choose 'Import Project from a file' from the available options.

  1. Basic data - enter the required information:
    1. Program Name
    2. Program Leader
    3. Source file to Import
    4. Privacy settings ('visible to everyone' or 'visible only to me')
  2. Click on 'Let's get it started' 

Please bear in mind that the file cannot be over 50 MB. 

Importing Microsoft Excel file:

This are is so broad it requires a separate documentation article in the BigTemplate Documentation section. Nevertheless, this is how it looks in the simplified steps:

  1. Choose 'Import Project from a file' from the available options.
  2. Basic data - enter the required information:
    1. Program Name
    2. Program Leader
    3. Source file to import
    4. Privacy settings ('visible to everyone' or 'visible only to me')
  3. Import MS Excel detailed data - mapping. Choose the fields to be mapped:
    1. Summary
    2. Start Date
    3. End Date 
    4. Parent row
    5. Links
  4. Click on 'Let's get it started' 

Evaluating new Program with sample data

This feature allows users to create a new Program with a new project for evaluation, training and practice purposes. It allows users to play around within BigGantt's Gantt chart and WBS Panel. We highly suggest to create one right after installation of the app, so you can look and touch what you will deal with and master later on!

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose 'Evaluate with sample data' from the available options.
  2. Basic data - enter the required information:
    1. Program Name
    2. Program Leader
    3. Start to End Dated
    4. Privacy Settings ('visible to everyone' or 'visible only to me')
  3. Click on 'Let's get it started' 

This pretty much covers all options we can go through in the Program Wizard. Beside the wizard itself though, we have a selection of other features to get a better insight into our Programs.

Display Features


This Panel / Tab allows users to sort Programs by theis: Names, Leaders and Start Dates filled in the Basic data field during Program Creation process.

Views: Tiles, List, Gantt, Timeline

Our Program Manager also introduces many different views which allow users different display options of their Programs. Each one of them holds a different amount of details and various range of information. Gantt and Timeline for example display a selection of our Programs in form of a Gantt chart! Thanks to this feature we gain a global view over all our projects and portfolios. 


Filtering feature allows us to display Programs created by ourselves, our Favourites and by the status which they are currently in. A very useful mechanism especially when our portfolio is massively packed with Programs.

Filtering by date

Pretty much self-explanatory. With the addition of previous functionality allows us to narrow down our display even more. 


A form of an ad-hoc filtering features. Allows users to search for Programs by the Program Name.

Fullscreen mode

When we feel like the Jira and Program Panel are obsolete. 

If you require any additional assistance or would like to learn more about our Program Manager, please contact our Support Team as per information included in this article: SoftwarePlant Support