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How to associate an Epic to an Initiative

I got some excellent help in a previous thread about how to create Initiatives:

However, I can't seem to make the next step, which would be to be able to associate an Epic TO an initiative. I feel like there may be a field I need to enable or something along those lines, but I'm not sure where/how do do so.

Can anyone point me in the right direction, please?



3 answers

1 accepted

8 votes
Answer accepted
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Apr 10, 2018

Hi Brian,

You can edit the Parent Link field of the Epic issue to the Initiative issue key. This will associate the Epic with the Initiative. 

If you are unable to do this, please provide screenshot which might help to understand.

Best Regards, 

Do I need to have portfolio license to do this? I'm getting an error

Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Aug 23, 2018

The context in which was mentioned above is in regards of JIRA Portfolio. In order to use JIRA Portfolio functionalities, you will need a Portfolio license.


Can I link my epics to an Inititive (Parent link field on Issue edit page) or you can do it only if you have Portfolio license? In other words, is Epic the highest level in Jira hierarchy if you don't have Portfolio license? 

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Andy Heinzer
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Apr 05, 2019

Hi Karine,

This question was mis-labeled as being Jira Core. But the original question was about how to setup the hierarchy in regards to Jira Portfolio. In Portfolio, you can actually configure what the hierarchy should be for your environment. Atlassian recommends a top to bottom of Initiative, Epic, Story, subtask. But you can set this in Portfolio the way you want to with a different order or even additional levels.

If you do not have Portfolio, then yes, Epic is the highest level issue available in Jira Software. You can't use Epics at this time without Software, (sorry Jira Core users).


just that Atlassian knows, in my org. we dont need portfolio tool BUT we do badly need to group epics with an initiative. Making us buy the portfolio tool just for getting the hierarchy set does not sound logical/ right for the small organization like us.

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update from my last comment:

we still badly in need of this - we came up with some workarounds which is NOT A COOL process - Jira was supposed to make the life easier for PMO departments but makes it complex.

Our Org is not receiving Jira tool well. 

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I've been reading through various JIRA documents trying to figure out how to manage Cross-Project work. We need a way to group EPICS togehter because JIRA has the limitation of only showing the EPIC on the Agile board, if is assigned to a specific development team (we have REP, PROP, Integrate, etc.). I was really exicited to read about the use of Initatives and then, after a couple hours of reading, stumbled on this  post that says you have to have Portflio subscription in order to use this. Is this really the only way to do this?  

Mary Kay

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We should not need to buy another add-on from Atlassian to group epics together in an Atlassian project.  

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i have same issue - i have created initiative but cannot link the epics to it. when i click on Parent >> choose option > the initiative is not available Screenshot 2022-04-29 at 13.38.19.png

We just upgraded to Free Premium Trial. Parent Link field has to be added manually to your schema and then to screen layout.

We have Portfolio and I do not see a Parent link option. 

Same here.  I can't see any way of adding a child Epic to an Initiative whether in Jira or Portfolio

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Same here! It took me about 10 different pages of Jira documentation PLUS the $400 Portfolio training, more than 15 hours of research and now I am stuck AGAIN! Someone please help asap. I needed this done 2 weeks ago. 

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  • In general, a parent link exists when Portfolio is in place, however, the field isn't automatically added to the screens where you might want to see it.

The process is similar for server.

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