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JIRA Hierarchy levels

Dear community,

I would like to consult you regarding the issues type hierarchy in JIRA. I appreciate your help.


Our business operation unit creates different projects depending on sessions, new products, and new collections. each project should execute by different teams. In JIRA we have for each team his own Software/Business project. and there the team manage his different tasks, the tasks could be individual tasks and could be tasks that related to a new project created by the business operation unit. 

I've searched how I can implement that in JIRA in an easy way. I thought about a level or container that can be above the epic level, when the Business operation manager has a new project he can open different epics to each team and add the relevant tasks below this epic. then he should assign all these epics to an up level. we use the Jira Standard plan. so we only have the epic at a high level. I wonder if there are apps that can assist in this flow. when the user creates a new "container"/"issue type above the epic" it will create in automation epics to each team.

also, I thought about using custom fields or external add-ons (like BigGantt/ BigPicture, structure..). but it makes the flow more complex.

Let me know your suggestions, how can this flow be implemented in JIRA?



5 answers

1 accepted

Hello Everyone,

For anyone who gets on this thread, the default hierarchy levels provided on Jira Cloud are:

Epics > Standard issue types (Stories, Tasks, etc) > Sub-tasks

Basically, there are two ways to properly edit/add new hierarchical levels:

  1. Sign-up for the premium plan of Jira Cloud. This plan provides you with Advanced roadmaps, where you can create more hierarchical levels as described in the documentation below:
    Configure custom hierarchy levels in Advanced Roadmaps 
  2. Use a third-party app, as the ones suggested in the other answers of this same thread.

There is the option to use a custom issue link to a custom issue type if the hierarchy above Epics should only be informative, however, this option will not work/display as the conventional hierarchy (Epic > Standard issue > Sub-task).

Additionally, we have a feature request created to allow the increment of new hierarchies on Jira standard plan:

Improve Jira issue type hierarchy 

Feel free to vote and watch the suggestion to increase its priority and also receive notifications about any updates.


1 vote
Anna-BigPicture Marketplace Partner Jul 26, 2021

Hi @Lina Massarwa

I think that BigPicture/BigGantt can significantly support your flow. 

First of all, it’s bi-directionally synchronized with Jira, so you can be sure that all changes are reflected in real-time. 

Regarding the container for epics and related issues, a Box in our plugin is intended to be just such a flexible, fully customized container for a defined collection of issues based on a combination of multiple Jira projects, boards, or filters. With Boxes, you can group all your projects, products, teams, or portfolios just like you would organize your photos into various collections. Organizing issues into Boxes will definitely facilitate further work as planning, managing, and tracking. 

Here you will find a short video tutorial on how to manage a scope of a Box and build its structure. 

If you need any assistance with configuration, just tag me in this thread. 

1 vote
Hana Kučerová Community Leader Jul 25, 2021

Hi @Lina Massarwa ,

I've investigated this topic some time ago and I found only two ways, how to do it (but there can be another, it is possible I just didn't find it)

  • create special issue link type and link Epics with the "parent" issue using it
  • go for Premium plan and use Advanced roadmaps and it's possibility to create another hierarchy level above Epic

The second one was way better for me, it works perfectly, but it costs much more. I would recommend you to try both ways and see, if you want to invest more or you can do it with the links.

Thanks a lot for your suggestion.

Unfortunately, the second way isn't relevant to us. it's costs twice.

0 votes
G subramanyam Community Leader Jul 25, 2021

Hi @Lina Massarwa welcome to the Atlassian community.

If my understanding is correct, you would like to have a issue type (from top) "XYZ" >> "epic" >> "user stories" >> tasks etc.

If that is the case, I would suggest the below. Please think if that will work out:

If you have new projects being added, then "create a Kanban board" with different columns (e.g., New project, Review project, requirements completed, ready for development/ testing etc). Ask your Product owner/ BA to create epics for the projects and add user stories.

Next, you mentioned as "many teams" in your query. Create individual projects for all your teams (with either Scrum or Kanban or both as per your management requirements). Assign the epics to the teams that are required to work and meet DOD. This way, you will achieve your required Jira hierarchy.

@Lina Massarwa 

If you decide to adopt BigPicture, you won't go wrong, you can find ample documentation explaining how to use e.g. entities "superior" to Epics to do this kind of work well. However, I invite you to think about a potential "problem" you are facing. In my humble opinion, according to my experience, the "top management" or whoever decides the broad outlines of operations can limit themselves to indicating with special issues for example a project root issue. That you link to the Epica as a normal link. It depends of course on what you want to do and I may not have understood this well. But to think that from the top you have to decide with which hand the programmer, at a certain time of the day, and at what time, has to scratch his nose, and to describe this "structure" in the form of epics, stories, and all the rest is limiting, it will cause in the long run crisis points in the management of activities. I repeat, I would leave the teams free to "describe what they have to do" by creating themselves the issues they need for this purpose, issues that do not necessarily have to be "told" in every detail to the top management. It's a bit like a general who is constantly concerned with telling each soldier in the field where to aim and where to shoot. It is obvious that this decision can be taken better and faster by the soldier who feels the bullets coming at him.

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