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Portfolio and Initiatives: Correct setup across multiple Projects and Plans

I am looking for recommendations on the correct setup for creating High Level Initiatives and associated plans for my department.
We have multiple teams across multiple Jira projects which all feed into different High Level Initiatives.

From the documentation, the recommendation is to use a separate Project for all Initiatives, which I have done, namely Planning_Project.

I am looking to create a Portfolio Program per Product Type. And within each Portfolio Program, a Portfolio Plan per team based on their scrum board.
- For example Team A owns ProjectA1, ProjectA2 and ProjectA3 and has a Scrum Board based on a filter across the 3 projects.

My question is, when I’m creating the Portfolio Plan for Team A, do I add 2 sources to combine the Team’s Dev Work with the high level Initiatives (which are already linked via Parent Links):
1. Team A Scrum Board
2. Planning_Project Board

If I setup my Team A Portfolio Plan like this, I have to limit the Scope of the Plan to just the Initiatives relevant to this team, which doesn’t seem maintainable. What if new Initiatives come in? I’d like these to be picked up automatically.

What is the correct way to setup Initiatives and Plans so that I can be sure that everything is accounted for.
Or is there a way of having a list of Initiatives which are not assigned to a plan (i.e. a Backlog) and then use this list in planning to allocate them to the correct plan/team?

Any guidance would be great, thank you

1 answer

1 accepted

0 votes
Answer accepted
Roi Fine Atlassian Team May 28, 2020

Hi @Clare Chawke

You are on the right track!

Instead of adding the whole Planning_Project Board, you can create a Jira filter that captures only the initiatives that apply to team A. 

You can choose any attribute for it, some use components, labels, custom fields. We use the Team field for that.   

Let me know if that helps,


Thanks @Roi Fine That makes total sense. I'm now using Jira Filters on the Project Planning Board to limit the scope automatically which is great.

Do you have any advise or reference material on managing Backlogs in Jira?

In our setup we have ~ 200 initiatives in the backlog in various stages of maturity. They are not assigned to Projects or Teams until they are fully defined and accepted by the Development team.

Would you recommend having a separate Planning_Project Board for the backlog which can be updated, groomed and prioritized. We are thinking that once the Initiative is set to a specific State (i.e. ACCEPTED) and to a Team then it will move to that teams Planning_Project Filter. Does this seem like a good setup?

Roi Fine Atlassian Team Jun 03, 2020

Yeah that sounds like a good direction.

For grooming your initiatives, you can utilize a kanban board with a column for each status workflow. I.e. Draft -> Ready -> In progress -> Done.

You can configure a filter that excludes the "draft" ones and use them as issue  source for different plans. 

Does that make sense?


Like Clare Chawke likes this
Roi Fine Atlassian Team Jun 03, 2020

By the way @Clare Chawke ,

We're actually exploring how to make this configuration experience simpler. I'd be glad to chat about your experience so far, and maybe give you some tips. You can use this link to schedule a meeting with me -



Like Clare Chawke likes this

Perfect. I will try doing the Backlog Grooming like that. Currently we don't have Component field enabled but I think this would be a useful way to identify Initiatives for a particular plan.
A meeting to discuss would be good. However I checked your calendar and we're total opposite timezones so I don't see any time that we overlap (I'm Ireland, GMT).

Like Roi Fine likes this
Roi Fine Atlassian Team Jun 09, 2020

Hey @Clare Chawke , could you please send me an email to

I'll send you an invite we could both edit the time for.


Like Clare Chawke likes this

Hello @Roi Fine 

Just stumbled on this while looking for a similar solution.

I could use a very descriptive breakdown of this concept if possible :pray:. 

Like Claire, I'm project/product planning for initiatives that span multiple teams/boards. I believe my project has all the access to initiatives and parent-links etc needed to account for the work and include in our bottom line. 

I'm struggling a bit with a more fundamental concept here; the difference between a team portfolio and a simple 'view' of an initiative from the project lense itself. I want to be able to create a temp board that I can simply paste the filter into our project discussions for anyone to access and view the progress of that initiative. Again, I want this to be away from the Roadmap/higher level. 


Thanks in advance :)

Like Roi Fine likes this
Roi Fine Atlassian Team Oct 25, 2020

Hey @Cody Mages ,


Advanced Roadmaps can help you visualize any chunk of work in Jira Software. To get a view of only one certain initiative you can create a JQL filter to get all the child issues of an initiative. 

Then create an Advanced Roadmaps plan to visualize that JQL filter.

Let me know if that makes sense,


Like Cody Mages likes this

Hello @Roi Fine 

Our hierarchy currently starts at Epic and we're looking to add Initiatives to relate a set of Epics that contribute to a bigger context.

We have three products (as in deliverable s/w packages) that have independent development teams, priorities and release schedules. These products are currently managed independently in three different Jira projects. The three products interact in customer deployments so Product Owners sync "off-line" to manage dependencies.

The above discussion leads me to believe that I should create a new project for the Initiatives and then link Epics from the three projects - is that right?

Then a Kanban board can use a filter that picks up the Epics from the three projects and swimlanes can be setup by Initiative to manage the state of the Epics across the projects. If this works, then do all 4 projects have to have their EPIC state/workflows aligned?

Roi Fine Atlassian Team Nov 19, 2020

Hey @bjohnson ,


Your setup sounds like you are on the right track. A few thoughts:

1. You can either align the epic status workflow or just map the statuses to the new consolidated kanban board statuses

2. Swimlaning by intiatives could be done but requiers some effort to maintain. I tried to use a few JQLs (one for each intaitive) - ParentLink = 

I'd be interested to chat with you about your usecase and learn what could best suit your needs.

Feel free to schedule a chat -

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