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Transition Initiative to In Progress when Epic starts

I am using Advanced Roadmaps to create initiatives and set the Parent Link for Epics. I want to transition the Initiative to In Progress when at least one Epic starts. I have tried many different things but they have all failed to work. I would like to do this without purchasing another add-on as I believe this should be native functionality.

My structure is like this: Initiative -> Epic -> All other Standard Issue Types -> All Sub-Task issue types. Epics will be set with a 'Parent Link' to the initiative.

Is there a way for me to do this using Automation?

5 answers

1 accepted

20 votes
Answer accepted

I think I figured out how to get this working. You can use a new Variable or just set the smart value directly in the JQL.

  1. Set your Branch rule to use JQL -> use this query: issuetype = Initiative AND issuekey = {{issue.Parent}}
  2. Create a new Variable called {{parentLink}} -> set Smart value with {{issue.Parent}}. Next, set your Branch rule to use JQL -> use this query: issuetype = Initiative AND issuekey = {{parentLink}}

Keep in mind if your Parent Link issue type is not 'Initiative' then just replace Initiative with whatever you're using. I hope this helps someone else.

initiative to in progress.png

Deleted user Jul 14, 2021

spent 4 hours on this problem until I found your post! many thanks!

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Thankyou Michael, been struggling with this one for awhile. Great answer, easy to follow.

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How would you test for Initiative existence first? The rules throws an error when one is not linked.

You can try checking if the {{parentLink}} is not empty before proceeding else log something to the audit log--see screenshot below. I have not tested this so it might not work but give it a shot.

Screenshot 2021-10-26 091333.png

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How I create a smart variable? I am not seeing that on JIRA DC automation.

Also would this be possible if Initiative are on one project and Epics are on a different project. Our setup has all of our Initiatives in a single jira project  and Epics are on different team projects.

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@Davor Fisher when you add a new action, do you see this option

Screenshot 2021-11-19 151254.png

I set up a global rule so I don't think it cares which project the Initiative is in as long as it is the parent issue of the Epic.


I do not. It must be just available on the cloud which is unfortunate as teams would love to have this functionality. 



I did some looking around and you're right, it is not in server yet. You can try using option 1 I mentioned above. Here it is again for reference:

  1. Set your Branch rule to use JQL -> use this query: issuetype = Initiative AND issuekey = {{issue.Parent}}
Like Quentin Laudrain likes this

Thanks for this post.  Unfortunately, {{issue.Parent}} does not contain a value, at least in DC version 8.13.10.

Any pointers from the Atlassian team on how to solve this for us poor on premise users?

Hah.  Got it working with just {{issue.Parent Link}}.

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Sue Lund
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Sep 22, 2023

I needed this today.  Thank you Michael. 

DC ver 9.4  it also worked with Branch by linked issues - type "child of"
automation to update parent of epic.jpg

For Data_Center

there is not option to create variable, and for some reason rule branch[Parent] didn't work nor other options.


however after many hours I was able to make it work 

JQL > issue in parentIssuesOf("{{issue.key}}")

Related Issues Condition > issue IN ChildIssuesOf("{{issue.key}}") and issuetype=epic

Matches >issue IN ChildIssuesOf("{{issue.key}}") and issuetype=epic and status = Done


what this rule does it will change the status the initiative Epics' were done, 

obviously you can modify it as per your need 



To save your time double check the status transitions,

I had an issue whatever I was doing to the rules nothing seems to be working

eventually I've found out it was due The Transitions on the workflow 

therefore it was not changing the status from To Do > Done once I added the missing transitions the rules start working.


Hi @Michael

In addition to the use case above: is there a way to set the status of the initiative to 'Done' when all the childs (epics) have the status 'Done'? I can't figure it out with the existing options you can choose from in the 'branche rule', sub field: 'Type of related issues'. This is what I've tried so far.

Any idea? Many thanks!2021-12-09 16_26_02-Clipboard.png

I think I figured it out. The following options should automatically set the status of the initiative to DONE when all the child issues (epics) were on status DONE.

2021-12-09 16_26_02-Clipboard.png

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@Sander Voskuilen thank you, but what is your value at {{parentLink}}? {{issue.Parent}} and {{issue.Parent Link}} isn't working for me. 

Hi @Noah Dellenbusch ,

Have you created the variable with the correct settings? Shown below how my settings are set.

Screenshot 2022-07-10 at 21.39.47.png

After that, it should work! Or are you Server? Then you do not have the option to create a variable.

Like Noah Dellenbusch likes this

Hi @Sander Voskuilen 

I've tried this rule creation but it is not working since the JQL is not formed precisely, could you please send the complete screenshots of this automation rule if possible, that will significantly help full for me.


Thank you in Advance!

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