How do I schedule start times for tasks?

Newbie here, on the latest releases of Jira and Greenhopper, and looking for a way to schedule start times for project tasks.

I'm picturing something like MS PRoject that allows me to specify start times and task duration. While I see the latter, I don;t see a way yet to create start times so that I may arrange tasks on the planning board accordingly.

Is there such a thing?

Thanks for the help,


2 answers

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To answer the Greenhopper side first, no, there's no way to do this. The reason is simple - in Agile you don't plan start or end times. The whole point is that you break work down into manageable chunks, prioritise them and simply work through them in order of importance. You plan a sprint (a certain amount of work goes into it, without any dates) and at the end of the sprint, you should aim to have done it all.

A sprint will have a start and end date, but the point of planning one is that the start date is always "at the end of the planning meeting" and the end date is "our sprint length later" (we use a fortnight here, some teams use a week, some use 3 or 4 weeks - up to the team). You use Jira's Versions to flag tasks as "planned-for/in sprint X" and they have release dates, which can be used for the delivery date if necessary.

In plain Jira though, a lot of people do task planning - here, we do it with tracking meta-projects - the development teams have their agile projects and then PMs roll up information at the end of sprints into the tracking project for reporting. Tasks in the tracking project have custom fields like start, end, delivery, actual dates for the planning, but they don't use Greenhopper.

Thanks Nic, very helpful answer.

While it doesn't conform with agile methodology, if you need it, for whatever reason - client compliance requirement - what have you, you could also work with the administrator of your JIRA instance to add a custom Date Time field to the Task issue type which you might call "Start date."

I would, though, agree with Nic that adding a start date would be ill-advised if you are working in an agile environment.

Thank you Beth. This has been a good lesson in Agile methodology. Appreciate the work-around idea too.

If you are just getting started with Agile methodology, you might check out Roman Pichler's book Agile Project Management with Scrum ( It's a brief, easy read that gets straight to the point and is quite helpful as you start to run agile projects.

I need it. I'll buy it. I'll learn it. Thanks again.

With Agile the development related steps I understand, but what about handling the requirements specification phase before and the test phase, acceptance and deployment phase after? Also in relation to set this up in JIRA.

"Requirement phase + Development phase + Test phase + Acceptance + Deployment" is the definition of a waterfall process (see: While the Atlassian products can be configured to handle waterfall, possible through the aid of the MS Project plugin (, it's best used with an Agile approach, such as Scrum (see: ).

...I tried fixing that scrum link ten times, and I can't get it to take the last ")" as part of the link; so if you refer to it, you will need to cut and paste it. Or just search Wikipedia for "scrum development."

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