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Jira structure and Epic

I just want to understand the structure of Jira. Is Epic specific to the Jira instance or specific to the jira project? could there be two distinct epics in two different projects? or they are shared and the same in the different projects?

2 answers

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Peter Van de Voorde
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Nov 20, 2023

Hi @Osama Al-Areky ,

Epics are specific to a Jira project and you can have multiple distinct ones in both the same project or across different projects.

Take a look here to learn more about Jira Software Epics:

And here to learn more about how to use Epics in an Agile context:

I hope this helps.


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Ben Finn
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Nov 20, 2023

The 'beauty' of Jira is in its flexibility. This is both a benefit and a curse at times. You can, in theory, make any of those work.

However the more common situation, from my experience, is that you have multiple epics in a project.

Below is some documentation I put together for a client a while back and I am providing it as an example, but it should not be taken as standard industry wide definitions. Please let me know if it makes it clear for you. If not, Ill try to explain.

Note: traditional agile methodology states that you shouldnt define things with amounts of time but that team needed a stricter definition hence stating things like "month" and "two weeks".


Issue Type Definitions

Within Jira, there are a variety of issue types. Standards are required to be followed in order to maintain consistency and company-wide understanding.

  • Issue - a general term for any piece of work tracked in Jira. All of the following are “Issue’s”.
  • Initiative - These are extremely large issues that take multiple months and are generally created by senior management to provide direction.
  • Epic - Any large body of work that will take over a month to complete where all the activities involved in it are leading to a singular deliverable. An Epic should have at least 4 Tasks associated with it.
  • Story - A story should be anywhere from two weeks to one month. Anything longer should be broken into multiple stories.
  • Task - These should be delivered within a week of starting. Anything longer should be broken into multiple Tasks. Each should have sufficient details filled out so that if the task gets passed on to another individual they are able to understand the activity by reading it alone. Sometimes this could be a simple Summary or a detailed description may be required.
    • Not every Task needs to be part of an Epic, even if they are connected. An Epic should only be used where it adds value to group sets of Task's.
    • A Task must have a clear deliverable or output.
  • Sub-Task - This should be approximately one days worth of work. Any activity that is too large to be a checklist item or requires a due date but is still a small task that goes into a Story to produce a deliverable.
  • Checklist item - a checklist item should only be an activity that takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Any item that takes longer should be one of the above issue types that has details and a due date assigned to it.



Project - Cleaning the house

Epic - Cleaning the kitchen

This is a sufficiently complex activity that has a lot of work within it so it is our epic. If you had that alone then that is not enough information to proceed.


  • Clean the oven
    • Subtasks:
      • Set the self-cleaning
      • Wash the outside
    • Checklist items:
      • Confirm you have cleaning supplies
      • Confirm nothing is in the oven
  • Clean the fridge
    • Subtasks:
      • Throw out the old food and recycle
      • Defrost freezer
      • Wipe everything down
    • Checklist items:
      • Fruits area
      • Frozen food area
      • Milk area

Each story is a complex task in itself and requires sufficient time to do. It can only be broken down into very small sub-tasks. Each piece has a clear singular deliverable and you will know when it is delivered.

The sub-tasks are small items but they go into completing the story whereas checklist items are tiny things that need to be confirmed or can be done very quickly. The checklist for the fridge is just areas of the fridge to ensure that nothing is missed, while the subtasks are activities that need to be done but can go to other people. You may clean the fridge but your partner throws out the old food.


  • Sweep the floor
  • Wipe the counters

Tasks are smaller than stories and cannot be broken down as easily. They are straightforward and lack the complexity of a story but still result in a single deliverable.

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