Sub-tasks and multiple assignees

Hello everyone

We use JIRA as a database for our production of books, which means that each book is an issue.

Each book is a unique issue and has a reporter/assignee from our office, who handle the primary work on the book. There are multiple tasks to each issue/book, e.g. cover production, which is handled by freelancers who work in JIRA from home. They have a hard time keeping an overview of their work, since we can't assign them to our titles.

At the moment, we have disabled sub-tasks, but I thought they might be useful for this. But each sub-task receive a new issue-key(which opens up a whole bucket of problems with our existing setup). Is it possible to have sub-tasks not have an issue key?

Is there a better way to have multiple assignees? I read the link below a couple of times, but none of the solutions seems like what I'm looking for, except the sub-task one, which in turn is troublesome, due to the nature of multiple issue keys.

Thanks for any help and sorry if I've been unclear in any way,

4 answers

1 accepted

1 vote
Accepted answer

Subtasks MUST have an issue key. In most respects, they're the same as regular issues. They can have their own workflow and screens, and can be converted to regular issues.

I've never encountered problems with subtasks. What are the problems caused by subtasks having an issue key in your system? Regardless of your current issue with the freelancers, it sounds like anything that prevents you from using sometasks mut be crippling to say the least. Tell us about your issues, maybe we can help.

Hi Nicolas

Thanks for the swift reply!

I see, and I admit it makes sense.

Without going too in-depth, we track a lot of statistics by issue-key and have a lot of issues in our system (20.000). And if we had to add a couple of sub-task per issue, we would lose the overview we have now I'm afraid.

I feel a bit stupid for asking, because when I looked around a bit more, I found out, that I can add a custom field, where I can add a user. This will actually solve our problems, without adding subtasks, since I can just add a "Freelancer"-field to every issue, and add whoever is working on it. 

The custom field could be a workable solution. You lose some functionalities by not using the Assignee field, some JQL functions for instance (like "assignee = currentUser"). That could be an annoyance, but I can't think of anything truly bad that can't be worked around.

Notifications however can be set up to notify the value of a User custom field, so that would be ok.

I think it suits our needs for now smile

Would you know if it possible to set up a Issue security in a way, so a user can only see the issues they are assigned to in this custom field?

Thanks for all the help!

Joseph Pitt Community Champion Jun 07, 2016

Issue security looks at the standard Assignee field. You'd have to modify code to have it look at another field.

Ok, thanks! Case closed for now smile

1 vote
Joseph Pitt Community Champion Jun 06, 2016

Sub-tasks are issues so they must get a number. It is the primary key in the database. No, you can't have multiple assignees, which really means it really isn't assigned to and the responsibility of anyone and will get overlooked (real life experience).

Hi Joe

I see your point, thanks for answering so fast smile

I managed to find another solution meanwhile, sorry to bother all of you! 


We are similarly trying to avoid creating so many sub-tasks for our issues and we are investigating this plugin:

I haven't mastered it yet but it's worth checking out.

Hi Cristina
This looks interesting, thank you! smile 

Hi Nikolaj,

One possible option would be to use one of the plugins that gives you checklists within your issues.

Here is one we wrote for example:

Instead of subtasks, each JIRA issue can have an arbitrary amount of "todo" items within it. These are tracked independently, and don't have standard JIRA issue keys. Additionally, each user gets a personal "inbox" of sorts, showing all the tasks the user was mentioned in.

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