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Link stories to custom issue type "Feature"

Hi 

Please help: we are using SAFe. We have the default hierachy from Jira, Epic - Story/Task - Subtask. We have created a custom issue type, Feature, that is bigger than stories, smaller than epics. We use epic link to link features to epics. A feature is then splitted in several user stories. 

What can we do to be able to link stories to features, and have also a parent- child between them? Feature link aka epic link I understood that it is not possible.

Thank you very much. 

2 answers

First-off, you can't have two parents in Jira, today at least.  You can link stories, features and epics simply through issue linking, but if you are trying to do parent/child relationships, then you'd need to use something like Jira Align/Advanced Roadmaps to add more hierarchy levels I believe.  You mentioned using SAFe, so following the logical conclusion of the path you are on, you'll want to tie features or epics to program epics and those to portfolio epics, and those to enterprise business needs and strategic goals (there is a lot of assumption there of course).  So you may find you have a roadmap with other needs to support adding this additional capability.  Otherwise you are limited to the three level hierarchy imposed by Jira.

In the implementation I've done with my current company, a feature is managed as a program epic, as that feature has the ability to impact  many products and teams, each working their own set of epics to fulfill the program epic.  Further, SAFe programs and portfolios are managed through kanban, while product teams are using Scrum, so this separation helps facilitate the impedance mismatch between those two methodologies.  Epic/Story/Task remains as the default structure in Jira for product dev teams, and program managers manage above that.  My point is that perhaps you may want to reconsider your organization of features relative to the other artifacts driving your team efforts.

I confess I'm not clear on why a feature and an epic are separate in your model, or why a feature would be under an epic, but perhaps if you elaborated on why that constraint is necessary, different solutions could be posed.

You may also want to consider some of the recent changes to orthodox scrum (see my post), as this will have some impact on Jira's roadmap I expect.

Hi🙂, thank you for your answer. The SAFe req model advocates for Epic- Capability - Feature - Story. I have a Kanban for Portfolio epics, a Kanban with Features/Enablers that are part of a certain epic or are standalone. At team level I have stories, part of a feature, which I want to link them with feature they are part of. Not sure what is a best practice here, my goal is to make it easy for the teams to link stories to features, and also on the team board to have the stories grouped by feature. I looked into some add-ons, but not sure which one could help me... 

I don't have a good answer for you off the hip I'm afraid.  Hopefully we aren't talking at cross purposes in respect to the term 'Epic', as I'm interpreting this as a Jira epic at the individual team level, not as a program or portfolio epic.  Any way you chose to do this though, if you want a parent child hierarchy, you'll have to bring in another Atlassian product to get past the 3 layer hierarchy limit of Jira.  After that you can define the issue types and workflows as fit each of these types pretty much without constraints excepting the hierarchical relationships you have imposed.  As per your goal of grouping your kanban by common feature groups, that again sounds a little more like Align/Advanced Roadmaps functionality than Jira on its own.

@Popa Ileana I was reading through the community and found your question - I thought that I will share some suggestions how you could move this forward. 

You  could try to "accommodate" SAFe concept and definitions into JIRA's, hence what I would try doing is following:

map out the definitions on SAFe with JIRAs ones - as you wrote there's concept of following structure: Epic/Capability/Feature/Story. Check what do they really mean and how they can be "translated" into JIRA's configuration.

At first glance I see following (SAFe to JIRAs)hierarchy mapping:

  • Epic - Initiative 
  • Capability - Multiple Epics (Theme) 
  • Feature -  Epic
  • Story - Story
  • Sub-task if needed 

Having such mapping you can then go ahead and indeed use Advanced Roadmap to create sufficient hierarchy. having such mapping (followed by clear definition what is what) you could easily create a structure of Story-> Epic -> Theme -> Initiative (or vice versa, generally it's about leveraging hierarchy to create good plans and programs). Where program consist of multiple plans = initiatives. 

The other way which comes to my mind is to simply follow the structure above but change the naming convention of the issue types within JIRA. This way you would keep SAFe names and rename (or create new issues types)to reflect SAFe related labels. 

I find this article about configuring initiatives and other hierarchy levels useful 

I hope this helps and good luck :) 

Eva

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