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What is the best way to add external partners to our Jira board without disrupting our daily work?

We will be working with external vendors on a specific project, however we do not want to create a separate Jira board for this project.  We would like to include the external vendors to our existing one as this "specific project" is part of our daily work.  Our IT team is very small, so they will need to prioritize other work amongst this project. 

I previously worked in Kanbanize and it allowed for multiple swimlanes.  We were able to create two swimlanes for each company within the same board, workflow and sprint. 

Is this possible in Jira? 

I saw a feature with parallel sprints, however this only was available through Next Gen projects.  When I create a new project I do not have the option of Classic or NextGen, only Team vs Company Managed. Not sure which is what. 


Any suggestions?  Thanks! 



2 answers

0 votes

Welcome to the Community!

The question here is how you are telling Jira that an issue belongs to one company or another.  

The really obvious way to do it is having a "company" field on the issues and you simply select one when you create the issue.  With a field like that, you can create swimlanes with simple JQL (define swimlane 1 as "company = company-a", swimlane 2 as "company = company-b" and so-on)

Parallel sprints are not really a solution here.  A sprint is a time-box in which to do things, it's not a way to differentiate between external companies.

"Classic" and "Next gen" are old terms, Atlassian has re-branded them with better names, more indicative of what the project types are for.  Classic changed to Company-managed, and Next-gen is now Team-managed.

From memory, Team-managed (Next-gen) projects do not support parallel sprints.

Thank you, that makes sense.  I originally wanted to create separate swimlanes so the external vendor didn't have to navigate through all the other cards on the board that didn't pertain to them.  They would have their own swimlane with all the cards they need to focus on (in the same sprint).   


Sorry, I am new to this software, so I apologize in advance if I'm not explaining/asking in the correct terminology.  Is there a way to use the simple JQL on the board? not on the Issues  tab?  When we have standup or walk through the board, I can filter the board to show the epic = project AND the issues associated for both companies? 

Nothing to apologise for!

I like the idea of swimlanes by company, but I would question if it is right or the best option for all the users of that board.  It could be, but I'm also imagining a team of developers who don't really care who the external vendors are, their board would work better for them if they had swimlanes done by story, or epic, technology, component, priority, assignee, etc.

But there are plenty of options for you here, in company-managed projects at least.

A board for company-managed projects has several layers of filters that really do lend themselves to the sort of thing you are looking to do here.

The main filter for a board selects all the issues that the team might need to see on their board.  I know that sounds odd, more complex than "issues to go on the board", but that's because a board is actually two things - the active board and the backlog for it.  The filter is selecting issues that are in the backlog and the board.  Anyway, that's the most important filter, and it is very often a simple "Project = XYZ order by rank".  But you can have them select totally different things.  In my last job, my team's board selected something like "Project in (Jira Admin, Confluence Admin, Tech writers) or label = techauth".

Kanban boards have a second sub-filter, which is for hiding "released" issues.  The default is something that makes the board ignore issues that have a released fix-version set on them.  Again, you can change it, but it's a bit clumsy if you do.

The next three are of more interest to you, as they give you the viewing options you might want:

  • Swimlanes can be based on story, assignees, epics, projects, or you can define your own filter for each lane
  • Cards can be coloured, by using a filter (so you could do something like "bug = red, test = green, documentation-task = blue")
  • Quick filters will hide all but the issues they select for from the board, as a simple toggle

So, for your case, I think I'd actually want to let the team decide what swimlanes they want (if any), but then define quickfilters, one for each external vendor, so that the people using the board can click something and hide all the issues that are not for the one vendor you selected!

We use a board for team managed projects.  Best suggestion for this type?

I'm afraid team-managed projects do not support highly configurable boards.

But that's not a problem - you can create many boards from a company-managed project, and base them on what you want.

To do this:

  1. Go to issues -> search, and search for the issues you want to work with on the board.  This is probably as simple as "Project = <your team managed project>"
  2. Save the filter with an informative name
  3. Go to any Company managed project (you might actually find it best to create a new one that can act as a simple way to collect these types of boards together, not bothering to create any issues in it!)
  4. Create a new board from the project menu
  5. Select "create from filter" and give it your saved filter

You should now have a board that you can configure for your external people with swimlanes, colours or quick-filters!

Great! I will try this out.  This will be easier as I'll only need to create a filter by epic as all issues will be contained under this feature.  Last question, new cards will continuously be made throughout the project life cycle, will they auto populate on the company managed board?  How will I ensure new cards are being feed into the board for external people? 

If an issue matches the board filter, it will go into the backlog and board the same as any old issue.


So, if your board filter is as simple as "project = XYZ", all new issues in that project will be selected by the board.

Can you create a filter to pull issues by a specific epic?  

Yes - try

"Epic Link" = <something>

The <something> could be the Epic name or key.

0 votes

Hello @sarah_barbu


Welcome to Atlassian Community …!

Now NextGen projects are renamed as --> Team Managed Projects

Classic projects are renamed as --> Company managed Projects.

No worries.



Ok, thanks!  I had it reversed. Team Managed Projects doesn't allow for parallel sprints, only Company managed projects.

Team Managed Projects are something for hands-on for new users with very less customizations. so there is Parallel sprints.

For company managed projects --> yes we can able to start multiple Parallel sprints.

The settings are here in your Jira - the below from Atlassian Documentation.

Enabling parallel sprints

  1. Log in as a user with the Administer Jira global permission.

  2. Click Settings ()> Products, then scroll down the page to the Jira Software section.

  3. Under Jira Software configuration, select the Parallel Sprints checkbox.

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