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Why can't I create stories under existing epics in Jira Plan.

I am seeing what looks like a bug or a poor design in Jira Plan, where one wants to do roadmap planning by creating Epics and Stories to do what if analysis before pushing the scope back out into the teams backlog.

I am able to create an Epic and create stories under the Epic I have just created as long as I don't navigate away from this to anywhere else on the screen.  As once I do I am no longer able to create stories under the Epic and any other Epic that may have already existed.

This doesn't make sense and really devalues the Jira plan as a planning surface.

I am on  a on premise Jira 8.5.4.

Has anyone encountered this?

Is there a system configuration attribute to set to correct this behavior?

2 answers

0 votes
Dave Atlassian Team Jan 19, 2021

Hi @Tarang ,

That does sound like a bug but not one that I can reproduce on the latest versions of Advanced Roadmaps. Can you confirm what version you're using? 

You definitely should be able to continue creating as many epics and stories as you like within a plan though!

Regards,

Dave

As I mentioned that we are on Jira  8.5.4

is there another version number corresponding to Jira plan - aka Advanced Roadmap?

Also to be clear I can add Epics and I can enter stories to the Epic being entered.  However I can’t add stories to existing Epics - defeating the very essence of Agile practice, that of emergent scope. In this case additional stories at a later point in time.

Kind regards,

Tarang

Dave Atlassian Team Jan 20, 2021

Hi @Tarang

Yes, Advanced Roadmaps (formerly known as Portfolio for Jira) is a marketplace application and the Jira version you're on (8.5.4) will be able to support many different versions.

The reason I ask is that it's possible a bug crept in that we subsequently fixed, we were previously releasing Portfolio / Advanced Roadmaps every 2 weeks so there are quite a few versions you might be on!

You should definitely be able to add new stories to existing epics though - so if this is present in the latest version then this would definitely be a bug we need to fix urgently, however given that as you point out this is something of a core capability I would have expected us to have received a lot more support requests about this - and this is the first time I can recall seeing anything raised about this.

That's not to imply it's not happening for you - simply that perhaps there is some other reason that isn't apparent and I'm keen to get to the bottom of it to unblock you.

I'm trying to think through reasons why this might happen, one possibility for example could be that you have the hierarchy filter set from Epic to Epic (in which case you would not be shown the option to create a story).

I'd also be curious to know the exact steps you're taking - are you creating a story from the main "Create issue" button or one of the meatball menus next to an existing issue?

Any additional information you can provide would be very helpful

Regards,

Dave

 

This is when I create a new Epic in the 'Advanced Plan'. - for now not so advanced and I will refer by the tab name Plan.  I am doing this when I have set the hierarchy filter to Epic, as that where I can see this level and below. So surely entering issues at the level of filter should mean Epics and any issue type below that Epics can and do contain.

CreatingEpic+ChildStories.png

 

On creating the Epic I can now create any child issue as shown below, but once the cursor focus moves of the

CreationofChildIssue-unrestricted.png

 

Result I see is:

 

ResultStructure.png

 

However I am unable to continue adding more stories and instead see odd behavior such as this

Abugorwhat.pngso sure enough it is a bug. As for why not many reports, frankly because most don't use this 'planning surface' as I call it to enter their story map and come to it to see pretty gantt charts :-).   

As a Agile coach I am coaching teams to get comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty through use of this planning surface to manage emergent scope.

 

hope this helps track down the bug.

Dave Atlassian Team Jan 20, 2021

Hey @Tarang ,

Thanks for feedback... actually, those screenshots are really helpful because I now realise that you're using the old interface (commonly referred to as "Live Plans" that was released with Portfolio for Jira 2.0).... my assumption was that you were using the new interface introduced in Portfolio 3.0 on server and then rebranded as Advanced Roadmaps when it was taken to Cloud last year.

You're certainly right that most customers are no longer using that interface as most have migrated to the newer interface (as an aside I'd be interested to know if you've tried the new interface and if there is a reason why you're still on the old version?)

The new interface certainly doesn't have this problem (you can create  and my recommendation would be to adopt the new interface if possible. Looking at the Live Plans interface this does appear to be a limitation of the design which you're correct to point out is not particularly good in this regard.

In all honestly, I don't expect that this is something that we would prioritise to change on the old interface - I appreciate that this isn't the answer you're hoping for, but I just wanted to set your expectations realistically.

Regards,

Dave

I have tried the New interface, and also recall speaking the the Product Manager in Sydney couple of years ago.  I had pointed out that the new interface reinforces old patterns of behavior and use, which is an anti-pattern for fostering self-organizing teams key to agile practices.  The new interface works great for project managers and program managers who may live of the Gantt chart. 

It does little in the way of collaborative team planning.  The old interface allows one to see the Product Roadmap and Release Plan in the form of a Sprint Capacity map (scope & team capacity).  It is better able to foster teams into mapping exercise to develop a plan that they believe in vs. a gantt chart that is the realm of project manager/program manager.

I had suggested at the time that the plan should tailor the view based on the role and really the old interface is great view to bring teams to own the planning surface and do what if's? and really play. Where as Gnatt chart view is great from Program/Project managers. One wants views based on roles for the underlying information.

This having been said, I would really like this bug fixed on the old interface as otherwise fewer teams will be using the plan and this agile tool is broken when it comes to supporting agile practices.

Dave Atlassian Team Jan 20, 2021

Since my last response I've actually discovered that it is at least partially possible to do what you'd like. If you hover your mouse between the issues then you get an option to create an issue.

If you are hovering between an epic and one of it's children then you can add additional children - however, if you are hovering between epics then you can only create another epic. See this screenshot:

Screen Shot 2021-01-21 at 1.31.26 pm.png

I'm obviously not going to suggest that this is a good UX as it's incredibly hard to find and you still can't create child issues for epics that don't yet have children.

The reality though is that unfortunately we're not going to be making any more improvements to this old interface as we are investing in the new interface.

I appreciate you re-iterating the concerns that you've previously expressed and I will try and find the PM that you previously spoke to so that I can review the notes of the discussion.

I'm certainly not going to attempt to change your opinion on the new interface, but I will say that the feedback, analytics and adoption of the interface indicate that it's more broadly viewed as an improvement on the previous Live Plans interface. It is obviously by no means perfect and there is much that we are keen to improve on - and improvements around capacity management and visualisation of both teams and individuals is something we're particularly interested in addressing.

I am very interested in exploring the anti-patterns risks that you've referred to though and will definitely look into those concerns.

Regards,

Dave

Thank you for the partial solution. You are absolutely right about that UX as I have only recently seen that green marker and didn’t know what triggered it.  This was when I was trying to create and capture the screen shots for this thread.

As far as the analytics and usage regarding the new interface, I have no doubt what you are not seeing is the role that is coming back time and sharing and using the plan.  I see it in my work arena, that it’s primarily project and program managers. As I attested that their comfort zone is often in the realm of gnatt charts.

However planning is a social event and the following experience report may help better understand this concept and allow you to see how to overcome the anti-patterns that are now rooted in the ‘not so Advanced Roadmap’

 

https://crisp.se/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Agile@Lego.pdf

Dave Atlassian Team Jan 21, 2021

Thanks for sharing that PDF, it's a really interesting read. We have been looking at ways in which we can introduce other ways of visualising the plan data and that program board style view (or variations of at least) are something we're considering amongst other visualisations.

Unfortunately we've not been able to make as rapid progress on this work as we'd have liked - there are certainly many features and visualisations we'd be keen to add but (like everyone else!) we're always dealing with competing priorities.

Although I know that Big Room planning is common, it's not necessarily the norm for all organisations - as even the authors in the PDF state, it only became necessary as the org grew. It would be interesting to know if you feel like the ideal solution would be to reproduce that kind of in-person collaboration in the tool? With concurrent editing? Or is this something you would expect to be reproduced in a more asynchronous nature?

Regards,

Dave

By the way that solution, identified as poor UX design works to introduce issues for any epic.  It is the only way to consistently introduce stories within Epic's on Jira Plan using old interface. One can introduce any issue type. Sure it isn't intuitive and wouldn't surprise me if very few people used it to being with.

 

image.png

Dave Atlassian Team Jan 23, 2021

I'm definitely not disagreeing with you on that UX, but it is 5 years old now and was replaced with an updated interface 2 years ago that doesn't have the same problems and is (hopefully) more intuitive when it comes to issue creation. The problem that you're describing is one of the many usability and complexity problems that we have attempted to address.

The reality is that we're not going to be updating that old interface, however we are keen to improve the newer interface to address the feature gaps between that exist between it and Live Plans.

There is a build and support burden to maintaining legacy code like this and we're therefore keen to help our customers move to the new interface. You've raised the point about the current visualisation introducing an anti-pattern, and although we're unlikely to change it, we do hope to introduce additional visualisations and planning modes which might address some of those concerns. For example we introduced the additional Dependency Report which we've had good feedback on (see https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Advanced-Roadmaps-articles/Introducing-Advanced-Roadmap-s-new-dependency-report/ba-p/1542097 ) and as mentioned elsewhere we looking at program style boards as well.

I'd be really keen to learn what additional features we'd need to add in order for you to be successful with the new interface as we're actively trying to understand this for all remaining Live Plans users.

Regards,

Dave

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