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Constraints and best practices for Parent Link in Advanced Roadmaps

Darrel Jackson August 15, 2021

We've recently made the switch to Advanced Roadmaps. We were using custom issue types and custom link types to represent an issue hierarchy. We have switched to using the Parent Link custom field in Advanced Roadmaps.

I have found a number of non-obvious constraints which I'll publish as a discussion. Firstly, I want to raise awareness of these issues for people transitioning to AR so they can set their user's expectations and, second, I'd like to hear from the community and collect more that I haven't hit yet. I have linked to the Atlassian feature request/bug (where available) to track them.

Note: This is for Cloud version of Jira Premium.

As a side note, if anyone else is moving from custom link types for hierarchy to using Parent Link, I have written up a procedure to do this programmatically. Let me know if there is interest and I'll publish it.

Before I list the constraints I just wanted to say that I'm loving Advanced Roadmaps. It's a great tool. The constraints below are intended to increase awareness and assist the community, they aren't intended to be a critique of the tool.

Here are the constraints I've found so far:

  • You cannot sort by Parent Link in JQL. JSWCLOUD-21837
  • You cannot create a child issue from the parent. Compare with Epics, they have a "Create issue in Epic" button and action. Instead you have to use the generic Create Issue action and manually type in the Parent Link. JSWCLOUD-19005
  • The Parent Link can't be used in many Dashboard gadgets (e.g. pie chart gadget) JSWCLOUD-21837
  • Parent Link can't be used as a swim lane in a Kanban board JSWCLOUD-18413
    • Current workaround is to use swimlanes based on Queries and create a query per Parent Link
  • Parent Link custom field can be queried via JQL but cannot be queried in Basic Search JSWCLOUD-19187
  • A workaround is required to set a default value for Parent Link in automation rules as Parent Link is not a field you can directly choose from the drop down. You need to use the advanced script to set the value. (AUT-1779)
"fields": {
"Parent Link":"ABC-123"
  • It is easy to mix up "Parent" (which is the parent issue of a sub-task) and "Parent Link" (which is the parent issue for any issue in the hierarchy at "Epic" level or above). JSWCLOUD-21864 
  • The Parent Link field on the Issue View shows the Issue Type, Key and Summary for the parent issue. Other issue-based views (e.g. Child Issues, Linked Issues and issues mentioned in free-text fields) also include Status. Would be good to include Status for Parent Link for consistency. JSWCLOUD-19883

I will try to keep this up to date with further issues I find and with feedback from the community.


Rohan Swami
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
August 20, 2021

Hi Darrel,

We're in the process of making improvements to the way parent link works. We are aiming for a consistent way of showing the relationship between an issue and its parent irrespective of where it sits in the hierarchy, thereby eliminating some of the inconsistent features across epic-link and parent-link including issue search and JQL. Unfortunately we are not far along enough in the work for me to provide a timeline on this just yet.

I hope this will address some of your points of feedback, and we'll take the other points under consideration.

Kind Regards,
Rohan Swami
Jira Software Product Manager

Like ken_becker likes this
ken_becker July 27, 2022

When will sorting and using this field on dashboards be avail?

Daniel Turczanski - __JQL Search Extensions
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
August 24, 2021

Hi @Darrel Jackson 

I can see you probably found a few workarounds already but if you're looking for solutions to improve your Advanced Roadmaps reporting you can consider using our indexing service

The app makes it possible to list issues that belong to a certain hierarchy, even recursively. These are the new JQL functions:

  • ParentsOfIssuesInQuery
  • ParentsOfIssuesInQueryRecursive
  • ChildrenOfIssuesInQuery
  • ChildrenOfIssuesInQueryRecursive

You can read more about it in the documentation.



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