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How can I change the status of an Epic back to "Open" after its been marked as "Done" (Kanban)

*need help*

accidentally marked a few epics that were still in progress as done and I am unable to change their status from "Done" to "Open".

I tried adding the "epic status" field and changing it to "in progress" or "to do" but it didn't work. I then tried changing the "Open" and "Done" status's to allow all transitions, but that didn't allow me to move the Epic back to "open" either. 

What other options are there? 

4 answers

4 votes

Ok, there's some confusion here that needs clearing up.

Epic Status is NOT the same as workflow status.

  • Workflow status is not a field, it is an indicator of where an issue is in the workflow
  • Epic Status is a field created by Jira Software to represent the broad status of an Epic. 

Epic status is independent of the workflow of an Epic, it only exists on Epics, but it can be shown on issues that have an Epic link to the Epic.

Jack Community Leader May 15, 2021

Yes and one of the mor confusing concepts when learning Jira. 

Yep, Epics are a bit of a botch in Jira Software, even to the point where they have the wrong name!  (Still, at least they got rid of the utterly hideous botch of Greenhopper abusing resolution to represent status, those were dark times)

Like Chris Buzon likes this
Chris Buzon Community Leader May 17, 2021

This is a field I've apparently never dealt with, and I've learned something new!  Thanks, Nic!

1 vote

If you're in a company-managed project, you may need someone with admin permissions to check on exactly why you are not able to. It's possible the workflow for that project does not allow for that transition, or you may not have the right permissions on your account.
It may be possible for you to tell if you check out the workflow, which appears in the dropdown menu you use to change status. If you don't see an option to View workflow, you'll need someone with the right permissions to help.

If you're in a team-managed project then you'll need someone with admin access to the project settings to alter the workflow as well, but the workflow changes are easier to do, if any are needed.

You can tell by checking in the bottom left corner when you're working the epic ticket.

Thanks for your quick response,

I'm a JIRA admin. And yes, the workflow associated with epics does not allow for a transition out of the "done" status, however, I would think that once I enabled both the "open" and "done" statuses to allow all transitions that it would allow me to transition the epic back to "open". That was not the case tho. 


Would cloning the Epic be an option? Does it copy the information in that epic correctly?

Chris Buzon Community Leader May 14, 2021

Are you on a team-managed or company-managed project?

Like Trudy Claspill likes this

It is a company-managed project

Chris Buzon Community Leader May 14, 2021

If you've added those new transitions and made that the active workflow on the project, then you should be able to change the status of that ticket - unless you're account doesn't have that permission for some reason.

I am curious about what "Epic Status" field is though, is that a custom field? Or are you just referring to the regular status of the ticket?

A couple of screenshots might really help here - it's possible there is something difficult, or it's something you're one click away from fixing.

When you say you "can't" transition the Epic to Open, do you mean the Open status is simply not available for you to choose when you are viewing the Epic?

Can you show us the workflow diagram for Epic issues? 

Like Chris Buzon likes this

Can you click on the arrow between All and Open and check if there are any Conditions defined there?

Also, when you say you "can't" transition the Epic to Open, do you mean the Open status is simply not available for you to choose when you are viewing the Epic?

Like Chris Buzon likes this

I checked and there are no Conditions.

Exactly, the option doesn't even appear. I get this message:


Screen Shot 2021-05-14 at 8.32.37 PM.png

Chris Buzon Community Leader May 14, 2021

Ah, the answer is here - there is something about your account permissions that prevent you from doing it.  You can try using the permissions helper to figure out why.

Like Sebastian Arcila likes this

There is a nice shortcut to do that if you're an admin -  open the ticket, or really be anywhere in jira and on your keyboard quickly type "gg", then type when the admin shortcut menu appears, type 'permission' - the helper is at the bottom. It'll ask you for the user you want to check, an issue to target, and then the permissions selections. Give that a whirl and let us know if you don't get the answer from it.

Like Sebastian Arcila likes this

Well it lets me change the status of epics created under the workflow shown in the picture above, and that is without changing any permissions. But with epics created under the previous workflow that did not allow transitions out of the "done" status, then I get the message "You don't have permission to transition this issue"

Chris Buzon Community Leader May 14, 2021

You're the creator of the new one, so possibly something related to that. I don't really know, it would take a bit of digging to figure out what is going on. It's possible someone else here will have an idea that I haven't considered. 

I will keep looking. Thank you for your patient and help!!

Like Chris Buzon likes this

Can you try adding a transition explicitly from Done to Open?

Like Chris Buzon likes this

Copy the workflow, make your changes and then update the workflow scheme to sub in the new version of the workflow for the old one. 

Be sure to map the new workflow to the same issue types as they are currently mapped.

And finally, be sure to publish the edited workflow scheme. 

Like Chris Buzon likes this
Chris Buzon Community Leader May 14, 2021

The procedure for changing the active workflow is more complicated. You swap in a different workflow and transition all the exiting issues onto it.

You'll want to copy the existing workflow, make the changes to the workflow that you need (the outgoing transitions in this case). You'll also have to make sure you're clearing the resolution when you reopen the ticket, which is done in the post functions.

Once that is done you add (add existing) the newly updated workflow to the project workflow scheme and then you'll be guided through any ticket updates you'll need, which should be none.

I just noticed that when I create a new epic it allows me to transition back from "done" to "open" because I created the epic with the workflow that allows all transitions. However, the workflows that I can't change were created with a workflow that did not allow me to transition back. Even though I updated the workflow it still wont let me.

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