When to use subtasks

mbrees86 July 17, 2019

Hi All,


This isn't necessarily a question that can be 100% answered it's more of an opinion piece.  I recently shifted to a new company and position and I've been learning how they work in their agile process.

I came from a much larger company with a bigger IT focus with years of agile development under their belt.


Recently in one of our retro's the questions of sub-tasks came up.  My old organization we always had sub-tasks usually the basic(Dev,QA,Documentation) then we would add some as needed per the story(If it was complex and had a web element and a db2 element or something).


A majority of the developers didn't see the need of having sub-tasks on stories.  Their thought is you don't get enough value out of the effort of making them/using them.  I've been tasked with coming up with a suggested use for them and what the benefits of using them are, all I really have is my experience and why I think they are good, but I'd like to get the communities idea of when the right time to use them is, or if there is an opinion on if they are dumb or not!




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Paweł Albecki July 18, 2019



I like to use subtasks for large Tasks/Stories. This gives my team small and well-described tasks that must be performed for Story to complete. We estimate them separately so it's easier to track when whole functionality will be finished. 

On the other hand, for the majority of Tasks/Stories, we use checklists. We are "eating our own dog food" because we created a checklist app for Jira. You can find it here if you would be interested.




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Thomas Magny-Garcia
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July 19, 2019

Hi @mbrees86 ,

I am like @Paweł Albecki , I like (and I used) to use subtasks to well-describe task to complete a Story.

Another aspect I like to talk about is the ability to flexibility with small tasks.

If one member of the team is not able to work, it is really simple to another team member to get and continue the job to do. When you have a large story, it is harder to continue the job.

Also, a goal of having small tasks is that it is easier to detect subject more difficult than estimated. With a large story, you have time to try to solve an issue by your own even if you take time (maybe to much time to complete the story). With 1day-tasks, an alert is raised earlier, so the entire team should complete the story in time.

Inherently, I don't think there is a value to create subtasks but a clear and detailed description should always go with a story and I think create substaks is the better way to do that!

Hope it helps !

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