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Sub-tasks not showing up in the SCRUM board

We're using Jira Cloud and just started a project a few weeks ago.  Using the Scrum Board, we'd like to work with sub-tasks rather than stories. However, seems like you only can work with stories?  Is this by design, or is there some configuration for sub-tasks in Boards?

All Jira configuration is pretty much out of the box (I think I used Agile/Scrum template). Only a few custom fields have been added. Workflows, types, states have not changed.

We created Epics and Stories. Stories have been broken down into sub-tasks. We created a sprint, pulled some stories into the sprint and started the sprint.

However, the Active Board showed only stories. You have to click on a story to see its sub-tasks in the pop-up window.

So, conceptually, how would one work with stories and sub-tasks in a scrum board?

Do I have to enable some automation (e.g. I saw some state automation for stories and tasks, like to change the state of a story when all sub-tasks state have changed, etc).

Any feedback would be appreciated.

3 answers

1 accepted

0 votes
Answer accepted


Thanks for your responses - really appreciated.

I tried a few things:

1) The stories in the Active Sprint have been broken down into sub-tasks AFTER the stories have been assigned to the Sprint.  The sub-tasks are contained in their respective stories (which are part of the sprint) as expected. See screenshot of a sample dummy story which contains 2 sub-tasks.  None of the sub-tasks are visible in the Board.

2) The sub-tasks of the stories in the sprint have the property "Sprint" set to the correct value of the active sprint. See screenshot

3) The Swimlanes setting of the board, "Base Swimlanes on", was set to "Stories", which was the default.

4) I tried to change the Swimlanes setting "Base Swimlanes on" to "Queries" and added the following JQL:  "issueType in (Story, Sub-task, Task, Bug)". However, this had no effect at all.

I am still not clear about the workflow:

Based on our SCRUM process we did the following:

1) Prod owners create stories in epics in the backlog

2) Dev team estimates stories with Story Points (and T-Shirt sizes (added custom field))

3) Scrum master creates sprint and sets start and end dates

4) During sprint planning call, pull stories from backlog into active sprint

5) Start Sprint

6) Dev team breaks down stories in active sprint into sub-tasks and assigns them to team members

That's it.  --> Only stories are visible in the board swimlanes. No sub-tasks.

Not sure what the expected behaviour should be wrt what item types should be visible in the board swimlanes.  I'd like to see the sub-tasks as "cards" on the board, with title *plus* (important!) the ID and title of its parent story.  That way, tasks can be moved from one board column to the next according to the workflow. Eg from TO DO to IN PROGRESS once a developer is starting to work on a particular task.  If the sub-tasks would not show the containing story, but just ID, title and Epic name, the board would be a mess.  Lots of the tasks have similar titles, like "Write unit tests" or "Do code review", etc.

Ideally, I would like to select if stories and/or sub-tasks are displayed in swimlanes. Moreover, the states of the sub-tasks should be "rolled-up" to the contained story. I.e. if the state of all sub-tasks change to the same state, the state of the story should be changed to the new state. I saw a function/macro for that in the library, which is great...



Daniel Ebers Community Leader Feb 10, 2021

What does your filter for the board exactly look like?
I mean the one from your Board >> ... >> Board Settings >> General >>  Saved Filter / Filter Query

Unless there is something that is totally out of logic I assume (somehow) the filter being involved - the filter is responsible for what is shown on the board and can indeed stop the whole show, if not set right.

Like anowak likes this

Ahh, that was it!!!

I wanted to see only stories of a particular version and added that condition to the Saved Filter.  We did not set the version for the sub-tasks during story task break-down. Therefore, sub-tasks have been filtered out.

I modified the filter slightly (show all sub-tasks) and now I can see the sub-tasks in the backlog and on the board.

It all makes sense now :-)

Thank you so much.

Sudarshan TS Community Leader Feb 12, 2021

@anowak Glad you found your answer.

I request also accept the relevant answer, click the  "Accept answer" so that it helps the community :) 

0 votes

Do you have a custom field that's used in the filter for the board that didn't get inherited by the subtasks, or did you add the subtasks before the story was pulled into the sprint? I'm also a noob, but I believe that subtasks don't automatically move with an story/issue. I think that, unless you add the subtasks AFTER the issue in added to a sprint, they do not inherit the sprint attribute.

Caveat, I could be wrong.

So, to add to @James Peden comment. Since you are using Scrum, there is no way to just add or show subtasks in a backlog. You have to have a task or story in the hierarchy to carry the subtask. That said if you add a Story or Task to a Sprint that has subtasks, then they will be in the SPrint as an issue that needs to be completed. I'm not sure why you aren't seeing them on the board once they are added to the Sprint.

Think of subtasks as just a To-Do list within a task to break it up into smaller parts for the Sprint.

Per @Sudarshan TS you can try the swimlane settings although all of the items in the Sprint should be on the board regardless of swimlanes.

Can you get a screenshot of what you see? Perhaps get something that shows the backlog page where it shows what issues are in the Sprint and what your board shows to start with. Can you also provide the filter query for the board you are viewing? I think that might give us a clue as well.

Like James Peden likes this

We have added sub-tasks to the stories in the active sprint - basic story-task-break down.  The sub-tasks have been added to the stories after they have been assigned to the active sprint and after the sprint has been started.  Both, stories and their respective sub-tasks have the property "Sprint" set correctly to the active sprint.

Please see also my response in this discussion below.

0 votes
Sudarshan TS Community Leader Feb 09, 2021

Hello @anowak 

Understanding from what you have explained,
Can you check how your board configurations look like? go to --> Active sprint --> board--> configure --> swimline tab --> you should find the swimline configured to stories.

If yes, try giving - No swimlines and check your board.

for more information refer below link:

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