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How to identify and visualize blocked issues In Jira - Dependency Mapper for Jira

If you’re a project or team manager, we don’t need to tell you that one of your biggest responsibilities is to identify and manage dependencies to ensure projects are completed on time.

🤹‍♀️ “Juggling act”, 🐈 “herding cats”, 💭 “knowing what you don’t know” - fill in your favorite phrase here. 

Jira is the environment we work in and for all the native power of the platform enabling teams to work on individual and linked issues and tasks, trying to keep an eye collectively on how the team is progressing and heading off conflicts before they affect the team’s overall cadence can really can be akin to working with blinders on. 

What Brought You Here

If you’ve been pouring through the Atlassian Community on this topic, our guess is you’ve searched for answers by using a combination of any or all the following;

  • Filter blocked issues
  • Resolve dependencies
  • JQL issues with linkType = ‘is blocked by’
  • JQL query to find issues blocked by another issue

What Is A Dependency.png

In Jira terminology, a dependency is a scenario where an item of work (e.g. Story, Task, Epic, etc.) cannot be completed until a separate item of work is completed. In the image above, A is a dependency of B. For work to be completed in a timely manner across all teams, it is important to identify, visualize, and manage dependencies that occur across all projects.

The idiom, “can’t see the forest for the trees”, is often used to describe this scenario in product or software development where it can be difficult to see the broader picture of relationships outside of what we are directly focused upon. There certainly are filtering techniques you can employ using Jira Query Language (JQL) that will get you part of the way. However, they’re less than ideal and somewhat clunky.

For instance, you could implement the following JQL;

project = <project name> AND (issueLinkType = "is blocked by" OR issueLinkType = "blocks") AND resolution = Unresolved

Or a variation on “resolution”

(resolution != Fixed OR resolution is EMPTY)

A quick search in the Atlassian Community for “JQL find blockers” will yield two pages of results and that’s before you need to start refining exactly the results you’re looking to receive. 

So yes, it certainly can be done with Jira alone, however not an elegant solution and certainly a true visual representation of your Jira interdependencies.

✨ A better way to identify and visualize blocked issues In Jira

Yes, there's a better way, and it doesn’t involve detailed workarounds, nested or special conditions.

Dependency Mapper for Jira creates visual representations of your interdependencies, giving you one source of truth on the sequence and progress of your work. It provides the ability to monitor issues from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective, allowing you and your teams to quickly identify bottlenecks before problems develop.

Inputting Jira Search Query

As the app runs within Jira, JQL Query is still used to get the ball rolling.

Input Jira Search Query-Dependency Mapper for Jira.png

A real gem of a feature of Dependency Mapper is unlike the limitation of running one, basic query via JQL, you can use subqueries to further refine the results. This functionality has been added to overcome JQL’s limited functionality when searching for specific issue links. Additionally, the Select Jira Filter option allows you to select from a dropdown of your existing Jira filters, auto-populating the query field.

Filter by issue or link types

Choose Dependency Types-Dependency Mapper for Jira.png

In the next set of options, Choose Dependency Types, you now can specify the ‘Issue Types' (e.g. Story, Epic) and the ‘Issue Link Types' (e.g. Relates to, Block) that are to be included in the final results.

📊 Chart visualization options

The Configure Options tab presents an extensive number of possibilities to group, display, and refresh issues. 

Configure Chart Options-Dependency Mapper for Jira.png

Dependency Summary Dashboard

When you’re set, simply click the Get Data button and hold onto your seats. The View Charts tab is where the magic then comes together. Dependency Summary Dashboard-Dependency Mapper for Jira.png


The Dependency Summary displays a variety of data tiles, each of which can be used in a Jira Dashboard, displaying insights into all dependencies filtered in the JQL query you created. If that weren’t enough, you can then use either the Quickshare Link, generate a summary CSV extract, or a detailed CSV extract.

Dependency Board- Are we sequencing our work correctly?

In a nod to a SAFe® Planning Interval (PI) Planning Board, at a glance see the Expected Date as columns, and the swim lanes or rows displaying each project with an identified dependency. To view the details, simply click the dependency and it will open fully in a new browser tab.

Jira Dependency Board- Dependency Mapper for Jira.png

This is just the icing on the cake 🎂 as there is an extensive list of views - lists, matrix, and charts - to dig deeper into the details;

Your Data Transformed 🪄 🐇

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the power and visibility offered by Dependency Mapper for Jira. Dive into full transparency mode of all dependencies facing you and your teams, identify bottlenecks, get insights and on-demand updates of your issue data, and share the information in an engaging, presentation-ready series of visualizations.

🎯 Take the next step and checkout Dependency Mapper for Jira on the Atlassian Marketplace.



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