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Why is JIRA issue hierarchy different from Scaled Agile Framework hierarchy?

In Scaled Agile Framework the hierarchy that is defined is Themes->Epics->Features->Stories. In JIRA we see Initiatives->Epics->Story. Why are they both different, when Scaled Agile Framework has been widely adopted?

When we tried to rename the "Epic" level to "Feature" and created a new level "Epic" above it; we see a challenge in removing Epic related labels under the new "Feature" level.

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2 answers

1 vote

My memory says it's historical.  SAFe was defined around 2010, although a lot of the concepts (including the idea of cross-project Features being a way to group stories together) were around well before then.

By then, I'd been using Jira for 5 years, and already had Epics grouping together stories across projects.

Outside the Epic(Feature) -> Story -> sub-task hierarchy, Jira was, and still is, an issue tracker, aimed squarely at projects with stories in them.  Software does the Epic thing, but it was very much an adaptation, not part of the original design, and compromises were made to get it to work properly.

This left us with a hangover where Jira was stuck with Epic -> Story -> sub-task, even when there were plenty of apps that work really well at adding the layers above Epic like theme, initiative and whatever else you want.  But SAFe definitions are rigid in their names and it's been annoying that renaming Epic to Feature to match SAFe has not worked well until recently.

A few years ago, it would break all sorts of things, but they've all been fixed and now if you rename Epic to feature, you just end up with an inconsistent UI.  You're creating Epic -> Feature -> Story -> Sub-task fine, but if you want a "Feature report", you have to remember it's called "Epic report" in the UI.

But Atlassian recently announced you can do a UI rename as well...

Hi @Anand Chilukuri -- Welcome to the Atlassian Community!

Jira Cloud is a tool to support teams with their work, and IMHO does not fully support any specific way of managing work...which is a good thing: every team is different and what works for one team may not help another.

If interested in a specific framework, methodology, etc. please consider looking at the marketplace for addon apps which may help enhance Jira capabilities: https://marketplace.atlassian.com/search

Kind regards,
Bill

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