BigPicture for Jira by Appfire

Navigating the vast universe of game development, Creative Assembly, the architects behind the monumental Total War series and the spine-chilling Alien Isolation, wanted to streamline their sprint planning and road-mapping.  

With a crew of over 850 people in four studios in the UK and Bulgaria, coordinating their interstellar missions required a tool as dynamic and expansive as the cosmos itself.  

Enter BigPicture for Jira, the navigational beacon that guided their journey towards harmonized development process, better long-term planning, and clarity to their intricate projects. 

Precision in Planning and Customer Service 

There are multiple project teams at Creative Assembly and within those teams, multiple discipline-specific teams.  

The Total War Core Technology team is one of the latter and one of the major beneficiaries of BigPicture. They are responsible for the engine and infrastructure on which the Total War games are based.  

“At Creative Assembly, BigPicture is mostly used by game producers. Teams that rely on BigPicture usually work in Scrum and SAFe® methodologies, specifically, their Sprint planning and road mapping are now done with the use of this software.  

We’ve been using Jira for a few years before implementing BigPicture. Jira does not have a long-term planning mechanism that would suit our needs, so this is something we really appreciated when acquiring BigPicture. This software allows us to move long-term planning to Jira, using tasks and epics we would have to put there anyway and saving our team extra work.  

The biggest challenge for us was pushing estimates from BigPicture to Jira when enabling the sync. Fortunately, the Support Team has always been quite helpful in tackling it.” – Roberto Geroli, Senior Development Manager. 

Navigating Agile Galaxies: Scrum and SAFe® 

In the quest to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving game development universe, Creative Assembly leveraged two critical agile frameworks: Scrum and SAFe®.  

Scrum, with its flexible framework, empowered their teams to generate value for complex challenges through adaptive solutions and collective intelligence. Without any detailed instructions, the Scrum framework guided Creative Assembly’s relationships and interactions. Meanwhile, SAFe® offered a galaxy-wide view, aligning collaboration and delivery across numerous agile teams with its structured guidance on roles, responsibilities, and values.  

 The BigPicture app supports all leading agile, classic, and hybrid management frameworks, which makes it a go-to solution for organizations with diverse portfolios of initiatives (e.g. undergoing agile transformation). 

Illuminate the Development Path: Enhanced Clarity and Collaboration 

The introduction of BigPicture into Creative Assembly’s universe illuminated the intricacies of sprint planning and road mapping, offering a clearer path through the development cosmos.  

“It is still a bit tricky to read the Gantt chart that comes out of tasks and epics for people who are not ‘insiders’ or don’t work with Gantt daily. We are also using other tools to present a more easily digestible view of the Gantt chart.”  – Roberto Geroli, Senior Development Manager. 

BigPicture’s Agile Advantage in Game Development 

Embarking on the creation of AAA titles is a journey through time and space, demanding not just creativity but also a disciplined approach to navigating the vastness of game development.  

 Through the agile lens of Scrum and SAFe®, Creative Assembly discovered the power of iterative exploration, breaking down cosmic-sized projects into manageable sprints. Each sprint cycle revealed new worlds of potential while ensuring the spacecraft—be it a physics engine or AI intelligence—was built for interstellar endurance. 

The saga of Total War: WARHAMMER III, the trilogy's epic finale, stands as a testament to the prowess of Creative Assembly’s pioneering spirit, enhanced by the strategic capabilities of BigPicture. As they set their sights on new galaxies to conquer, the lessons learned and the tools wielded in their current ventures promise to propel them to even greater cosmic triumphs.