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Why flagging Jira issues is so cool?

Adding a flag to an issue is a cool way to say it is blocked. Also, you can add a comment as part of the same action from a board. But what if you want to do the same from the issue detail view?

This article will guide you through the usage of flags and will provide a native solution to emulate the feature of adding a flag along with a comment from the issue detail view.

 

In this article

  • The two native ways to add a flag
  • What makes flags so cool?
  • Blocked status vs adding a flag
  • Building a solution to flag & comment from the issue detail view

 

The two native ways of adding a flag

First things first, how can you add a flag to an issue?

Natively, there are two ways of adding a flag to an issue.

Adding a flag from the issue detail view

For adding a flag from the issue detail view, just click on the ellipsis button [...] > Add flag on the top-right corner:

add-flag-issue-detail-view.png

This will just add a flag with no way of adding a comment as part of the same action, unlike when you add a flag from a board.

Adding a flag from a board

For adding a flag from a board, either a Kanban or a Scrum one, right-click a card > Add flag:

add-flag-board.png

Note this time a dialog will pop-up so that you can also add a comment along with the flag, explaining why the issue is blocked:

add-flag-dialog.png

A flagged issue is highlighted to easily detect it among unflagged issues:

flagged-card.png

But hey! That's not all! The comment added through the previous dialog is also included to the issue detail view and is also marked with a flag at the begining of the comment:

flagged-comment.png

 

What makes flags so cool?

Flagging an issue is a cool way to say it is blocked:

  • Flags look great on a board and the card gets a convenient background color which makes them highlighted and easier to detect, so that someone takes action to remove this impediment.

  • Adding a flag from a board allows to add a comment which will also be marked with a flag. Suggesting to add a comment improves the chances that the user explains why the issue is blocked.

  • Flagged issues are searchable in JQL:
    flagged = Impediment

    And this is for finding issues without a flag:
    flagged is EMPTY

    Not to confuse with flagged != Impediment wich always returns no issues!
    This is because in != means "with a value distinct from", and there is no value in that field for unflagged issues; it is empty instead.
  • Flags allow to quickly see the status where an issue became blocked.

 

Blocked status vs adding a flag

Blocked status advantages

Reporting the time an issue was blocked is an easier task if you use the Blocked status instead of a Flag.

Furthermore, the Jira native field Status also supports powerful JQL operators like WAS and CHANGED, which are useful for several use cases.

Flag advantages

On the other hand, flagging an issue does not produce its status to change, so you can still quickly see where in the workflow the issue became blocked.

This fact provides the advantage that you can know which of your blocked issues is more likely to be completed with less additional effort.

Besides of that, it also means that you need one less column on your board, reducing the likelihood that you have to use the horizontal scrollbar.

From the Jira Admin perspective, the usage of Flags is better than transitioning to the Blocked status, since the very same workflow will then be valid both for users who want to mark issues as blocked as well as for users who don't.

Conclusion

The Blocked status advantages rely on configuring anything else.

You get the Flag advantages merely by using them, with no need for configuring anything else.

Also, I have noticed quite oftenly than a Blocked column tends to be set aside, so that those blocked issues don't disturb the vision of issues in which users can continue working. I think this is wrong.

Blockers should be highlighted and put upfront, even cause some disturbance!

Blockers shouldn't be something you want to accumulate on a hidden side of your board! Someone should do something, even if that's just a phone call or sending an email instead of coding or whatever. That's also part of the work!

In my opinion, Flags are better than transitioning to the Blocked status unless there's a very specific requirement to think otherwise.

 

Building a solution to flag & comment from the issue detail view

The step by step solution is described in this article!

Thanks for reading!

7 comments

Thanks for this article ! Especially pros for each options

Like Ignacio Pulgar likes this

Totally agree that the most important advantage of using flags is that you can see where in the process an issue is blocked. As an additional benefit of using flags instead of a blocked status - in properly built workflows - is that you don't need to provide paths to several different statuses to unblock an issue. When an impediment gets resolved, all you need to do is remove the flag. 

Like # people like this

Hi @Ignacio Pulgar ,

Thanks for this article!

Like Ignacio Pulgar likes this

@Ignacio Pulgar , thanks for the well structured article. I think it will be useful to many! 👍

Like Ignacio Pulgar likes this

Thanks for sharing @Ignacio Pulgar !
Hope you are doing well mate, we miss you a lot.

Like Ignacio Pulgar likes this
Ignacio Pulgar Community Leader Dec 03, 2021

Hey @Jack Nolddor _ Sweet Bananas !

Long time no see! I miss you all as well!

We should go for a beer one of these days.

Hugs!

A helpfull description. 

I just have one questions from my users - How can I see in Issue search that an issue is flagged?

I can find the Impediment, however it would be mush nicer if the issue search also colored the line as in backlog.

Do you know whether this is possible?

I am running a data server version

BR Jette 

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