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Struggling with Initiatives

Hi All, we have setup our portfolio and jira environment with the following hierarchy - and in theory it works well, but when we try to use it to made decisions we are struggling. Would love to get some insights from companies that are using it successfully to made planning decisions with a similar setup or a similar need.

Initiatives -- holder of main project details (Initiative A - Dodge Ram) - we store some project level details here that we use to made decisions about priority

Epics -- holder of sub projects from initiatives (Epic 1 - Dodge Ram America Epic 2 -Dodge Ram Europe) we put hour estimates here, target start and end date. 

What I'm struggling with is views. I need to see the initiative and the epics to be able to understand details that will help me prioritize. I can't see those in Portfolio easily; I can't add necessary columns and I can't filter on certain fields that would help me drill in. I've been playing with the Pivot Report add on and the Structure Add on, but both have gaps. For Structure the documentation isn't helping me.

I feel like I shouldn't be using Initiatives because it seems very disconnected. Thoughts?



Hi Wendi,

Sorry to hear you've been unable to find a solution in Structure's documentation. This video can be of some help, and we can also set up an online demo - please, contact us at for that. 

Egor Tasa

ALM Works

Like Wendi Pannell likes this

Egor, thank you for the offer. This video is from 2016. No updates since then. I think a fundamental question for me is if the intent is that I recreate the hierarchy myself - ie Initiatives --> Epics --> Stories

Hi Wendi,

Yes, that video is rather old, but it covers the mechanics required to build exactly that hierarchy. You can look at such hierarchy in our sandbox environment.


I'm struggling to get a good view with Initiatives - is there a way to see the hierarchy starting with Initiatives?

Certainly. You can insert Initiatives as the top level items of the structure's hierarchy, using inserter with JQL like issuetype=Initiative. Our sandbox uses project=SPF JQL, because that project contains only initiatives, you may need to restrict your JQL to some project as well as issuetype.


I have done that, but it does t sort them in hierarchical position. My initiative will be in one row and associated epics somewhere else. 

Hi Wendi,

Epics would have to be added via Automation+>Extend by>Linked issues with correct link type and direction set.


Can you point me to documentation on this? I somewhat saw how this was done with SAFE example in the sandbox. But I don't want to create a new link type when JIRA has this built in. It seems there should already be an association. 

Hi Wendi,

Structure has Portfolio extender ( You can test it in our sandbox as well, since it duplicates "Implementation" link.


That seems to be exactly what I'm looking for but I don't see that option in my drop down?

This sounds like what I need - but I don't see that option in my Extend options. Is this available in Structure Cloud

Sorry, I did not realize this was about Jira Cloud. There is no Portfolio extender there at the moment. Basic parent-child links would have to be used for now.


Hi @Wendi Pannell ,


I'm a product manager in the Portfolio team. Could you please explain me the problems you are facing? I'll be interested to know:

1. Which version of Portfolio are you using?

2. How did you add the initiatives? Did you create a Jira Project for these?

3. Did you follow our getting started guide?



Hi Hu, thanks for following up. 

  • We are using Portfolio Cloud
  • We added the initiatives in the project that we were already managing Epics in
  • Yes I did watch that video. I have found that Initiatives are not well explained throughout documentation


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