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I'm struggling to find out where/what happened to the concept of an Initiative or even a Theme and possibly Features?


I'm used to the following hierarchy:






Basically something right above Epic issue type.


I'm using older JIRA on-prem at work (8.5.9) and we have that specific structure.


Any ideas? I've been searching for hours and can't find anything other than this Atlassian image (Epics, Stories, Themes, and Initiatives | Atlassian) but nowhere in JIRA can I find a way to setup this structure.

Agile epics vs stories vs themes | Atlassian Agile Coach

3 answers

3 accepted

3 votes
Answer accepted

Jira Software is, at it's heart, an issue tracker.  Actually, the core of the issue tracking really is just "I track issues" (and there's a bit of stuff allowing us to break the issues up with sub-tasks).  Jira Software itself co-opts an issue type as Epic to give us that layer above Issue (stories)

But that's it for the core products.

The layers above Epic are not off-the-shelf things in Jira.  Themes and Initiatives are the main things that Advanced Roadmaps add to Jira (via premium subscription for Cloud), but then you could also look at Structure, Jira Align, Aha!, Big Picture, Easy Agile etc to add other layers in different ways.

0 votes
Answer accepted

Hi, @Dave Scaglione. That article is a little older, but what was true then is still true today.

Jira, as is, is built around a simple 3-level Epic-Story-Sub-task hierarchy. It's a fundamental aspect of Jira that many of its features take for granted and around the idea that there's a rich marketplace of apps that will extend Jira to suit one's needs.

The article suggests the addition of (Advanced) Roadmaps (from Atlassian) to, among other things, add a new layer to the hierarchy, above the epic. Roadmaps was a marketplace app. at one time, too. Unfortunately, it's not anymore and it's no longer an option for those using Jira server. These days it's only available for cloud and data center (or to those that already owned it before the Jira server sunsetting announcement. 

Luckily, the Atlassian Marketplace has a number of 3rd-party apps that will add additional layers of hierarchy to Jira. In your case, these are your only choice really.

This search will list some of the top apps. for this:

Note the "jira" "top-reated" "server" and "hierarchy" elements of the search.

Hope this helps,

-dave [ALM Works]

P.S. Full disclosure: I work for the company that makes Structure. One of the apps that will show up in that search.

Haha...  Yeah. What he ( @Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ ) said.  I guess we were typing at the same time ;)  

Like Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ likes this
0 votes
Answer accepted

Hello @Dave Scaglione 

When it comes to the Jira Software capabilities, I guess everything has already been said by Nic and Dave, so there is no point in repeating it, however, I just wanted to recommend using one of the apps available on the marketplace, which allows you to organize your task structure better, in a more advanced way. I can only speak for myself, but in BigPicture/BigGantt apps, developed by SoftwarePlant (the company I am a part of), you easily synchronize your Jira projects and tasks and then organize them into a more complex WBS, as well as visualize your work on the Gantt timeline, for example as presented on the screenshot below:

gantt wbs.png

So the good thing is that there are some alternatives that fill the gap in Jira Software, so it is only a matter of choosing the solution that suits you best.



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