What is the difference between an issue and a story?

I am new to Agile and am struggleing with definitions:

1. Project - a place to hold a bunch of stories

2. Sprint - a group of stories that will be completed in some amount of time, usually 1 -2 weeks

3. Story - The smallest unit of work. Also called an issue?

4. Epic - a large chunk of work that will be represented by a bunch of stories. There can be several epics in a project?

Is this close? Is there a good source to understand this? I looked through the documentation and struggled to find what I was looking for.


3 answers

1 accepted

3 votes
Eddie Webb Community Champion Oct 23, 2013

Your understanding is good, and they do have some great documentation on the matter. For Agile focused terms you will want to focus on the JIRA Agile docs (formerly greenhopper), for more general project/issue types you will use JIRA (core) documentation.

#1 a place to hold _issues_ which may or may not be stories (see #3) https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRA/What+is+a+Project

# 2 yes, completed ideally, commited to atleast.

#3 Stories are specific "User Stories" .

Issue is an umbreall term. It includes

  • Stories
  • Sub-tasks
  • Epics
  • Bug
  • Any number of custom types.

#4 Yeah, just a large story (too large for a sprint) A project is most certain to have many epics. epics typically span multiple sprints, and sometimes start as a story that is realized to be much bigger once the team starts estimating _before_ comitting to it.

Renjith Pillai Community Champion Oct 23, 2013

#3 - I would not include 'Epics' under the Story term.

#4 - IMHO, it's a collection of Stories. In fact Epics take birth first (mostly) and Stories are created as a result of more study of Epics.

Eddie Webb Community Champion Oct 23, 2013

Clarified my answer regarding #3. I was calling out Issue types (the umbrella concept in JIRA) not story types. ANd I think we are saying the same thing for #4 from different sides.

I can recommend reading the Scrum Guide for the full disclosure of the Agile Scrum terms and principles. JiraAgile follows this guide very closely in the way it (can) be used:


I created this drawing you might find useful for a quick picture of the terms:

Agile Scrum Principles and Jira
S1   S2   S3   S4   S5   S6   S7   S8   S9     Sprints
       ^    ^    ^    ^    ^    ^    ^    ^    ^
  +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----> Project
  +--------------+                        |
  |Epic 1        |                        |
  +--------------+                        |
  +--------------------------+            |
  |Epic 2                    |            |
  +--------------------------+            |
                 +--------------+         |
                 |Epic 3        |         |
                 +--------------+         |
                 |        +-------------------------+
                 |        |Epic 4         |         |
                 |        ++------------------------+
                 |         |              |
                 v         |              v
               Version 1   |           Version 2       Versions
                           |  +---------+    +----------+
                           +->|Story 1  | +->|Subtask 1 |
                              +---------+ |  +----------+
                              |Story 2  | |  |...       |
                              +---------+ |  +----------+
                              |...      | |  |Subtask n |
                              +---------+ |  +----------+
                              |Story n  +-+
 |Issue types  |
 |Bug          |
 |Improvement  |
 |Epic         |
 |Story        |
 |Subtask      |
 |Task         |
 |...          |
 |             |

Outside of this you will find that the "components" in the project will be useful for grouping related kinds of work across the project especially if you use earlier projects for planning the size of following projects.

We work with components like "internal doc", "external doc", "IP", "verification", "code". Others have a component per sub module and there are probably as many ways as there are people leading projects.

I hope you find this useful.

This visualization helped me the most. Thanks!

Thanks Eddie, Renjith and Kim. This is very helpful. It clears up why I was having a hard time with estimating. I was using improvements instead of stories. I will continue to play.

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