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What is the scheduling algorithm in Jira Portfolio?


According to Portfolio for Jira Support, the scheduling behavior is as follows:

The scheduling algorithm will take into consideration without any additional plan configuration the following aspects:

  • Backlog item' priority
  • Release and sprint assignments
  • Estimate
  • Dependencies between backlog items
  • Team schedules

I am new to using Portfolio and I cannot figure out why the algorithm is attempting to schedule issues with low priority before issues with high priority.  These issues do not have a release or sprint assignment, they do not have a time estimate (only story points), and they do not have dependencies or team schedules involved.  

Can anyone tell me what other factors would cause a low priority item to be scheduled before a high priority item in Jira Portfolio?  If I need to manually order the priority within the scope list, is there a way to show the priority in a column on the scope list?

Thank you!

1 answer

2 votes
Walter Buggenhout
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Dec 21, 2017

Hi @Jill Guardanapo,

"priority" (as determined by the priority field in Jira) is not a factor that impacts the scheduling. You may be confused by the issue's order in the backlog instead. Roughly, the scheduling behaviour is based on the following:

  1. Issue rank in the backlog (at story level)
  2. Available capacity (and thus team / team member assignment)
  3. Dependencies
  4. Earliest start date
  5. Release assignment
  6. Sprint assignment

The further down the order, the more precise the scheduling gets.

To add to what @Walter Buggenhout has above, in Portfolio, Stories are the strict child of an Epic. However, in a Scrum Board, Stories are ranked in the backlog independent of the Epic. 

For Example, when viewing the Backlog of a Scrum Board, Story 1 of Epic 3 is ranked above Story 1 of Epic 1. In Portfolio, Story 1 of Epic 3 will be scheduled before Story 1 of Epic 1. Which in turn schedules Epic 3 ahead of Epic 1. 

While this seems counter-intuitive, it allows the Teams to maintain the autonomy over their backlogs. It also encourages the system as a whole to maintain shorter queue lengths (fewer Initiatives and Epics In Progress). 

I think the problem I am having is that I was thinking Jira Portfolio would take into account the priority of the Epic as it is indicated in Jira Software.  If I have an Epic with a priority of "Highest" and another Epic with the priority of "Lowest", I thought Jira Portfolio would automatically put the Epic with the highest priority sooner in the timeline than the Epic with the lowest priority and all of the stories under that Epic later as well.  Then, if I want to re-rank them in Portfolio, I can choose to move the Epic.  It sounds like Jira Portfolio is story driven though.   

Walter Buggenhout
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Jan 03, 2018

Yes, that is correct @Jill Guardanapo. Story ranking indeed takes precedence over Epic ranking in Portfolio.

I think the real issue with this is that they are not synced.  I understand why portfolio does not look at the epic priority, but when you change the epic "priority" in portfolio, I would like that to be reflected in JIRA so you get the same picture.  You can find suggestions on this at and  Feel free to vote for them. 

I agree.  That is the problem, Mike.  I voted on issue 1467.  Thank you for your input.  

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