Initiatives>> Epics

Ri A March 15, 2024



Does anyone know if there is a clear difference between an Epic that is a child issue in an initiative and a linked epic?. 

Do they report differently. Please see image Initiatives_Issues.PNG

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Stephen Wright _Elabor8_
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March 16, 2024

Hi @Ri A 

At a simple level:

  • Linked Issues are sibling relationships - it's a multi-to-multi relationship, often used to show blocked issues, dependencies, related issues, etc. You can add custom linked issues, see this help page
  • Parent/Child is a one-to-multi relationship, used to show multiple children under a single parent, and used to visualise the hierarchy in Timelines, Plans, etc. You can customise level names and add additional levels (Premium/Enterprise only) - see this help page



Ri A March 16, 2024

Thanks Steve :)

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Trudy Claspill
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March 15, 2024

Hello @Ri A 

The Issue Links section shows any issues that are linked to the issue you are viewing. This is generic linking functionality. You can create different types of link relationships with different labels (i.e. blocks/is-blocked-by, depends-on/is-depended-on by), but in Jira's native logic these are all just generic links. Jira doesn't recognize any "parent/child" relationship between generically linked issues.

The Child Issues section shows issue that Jira does recognize as "children" of the issue you are viewing. In this case, if you viewed these issues in an Advanced Roadmaps Plan (from the Plans menu) you would see a hierarchical relationship with those two Epics indented under the Initiative.

An issue that is in the Child Issues section of another issue is also keeping track of who its "parent" issue is by storing the parent issue's key in the Parent field. If you look at ISDO-16544 you will see a Parent field that shows the key or Summary of Initiative where that Epic is shown as a Child Issue.


Jira has special functionality available related to the parent/child relationships and different functionality related to generically linked issues.

As to how those are "reported", that depends on the report you are viewing. Mostly generically linked issues are not considered in the native, pre-built reports in Jira.

Ri A March 16, 2024

Amazing!. Thanks for the detailed explaination. I saw both. and was wondering how they differ. 

I created a new initiative but didn't see an option to add child issues, do you have any idea how I can do this?. Thanks

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Niraj Kumar March 15, 2024

 While epics break down work into manageable chunks, initiatives organize epics to achieve overarching goals. Think of it as a nesting hierarchy: stories within epics, epics within initiatives, and initiatives driving strategic outcome.

Let’s delve into the distinctions between initiatives and linked epics in the context of project management:

  1. Epics:

    • Definition: Epics are large bodies of work that can be broken down into smaller tasks called stories.
    • Purpose: They provide a high-level view of a unifying objective or goal.
    • Agile Context: In agile methodologies, epics represent significant features or deliverables.
    • Example: If your team aims to improve the streaming service for rocket launches, the epic might be “Improve Streaming Service for Q1 Launch.”
    • Completion: Epics take longer to complete and are typically worked on over several sprints.
  2. Initiatives:

    • Definition: Initiatives are collections of epics that drive toward a common goal.
    • Hierarchy: Initiatives sit above epics in the organizational structure.
    • Scope: They involve multiple epics from different teams.
    • Broader Purpose: Initiatives tackle broader, bigger objectives than individual epics.
    • Example: An initiative could compile epics related to rocket launches, satellite deployment, and mission control improvements.
    • Communication Level: When reporting progress to higher management (e.g., Head of Engineering), you’d discuss initiatives.


Ri A March 15, 2024

Thanks Kumar but that's not exactly my question... In the image you will see the different epics attached to an initiative, 2 are child issues while one is linked. I am trying to understand what is the difference between a linked Epic and a child Epic. 

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