Working with large number of stories

Hi Everyone.

I was hoping to get a few tips on how to manage a backlog with a large amount of different kind of stories. Our problem is that the product owner is having a hard time seeing the big picture and as such also is finding it difficult to prioritize. As you are not able to group stories in more then two levels (Story - Subtask or epic - story) in jira/greenhopper we can not group them together the way we like (i.e. Epic - story - subtask) in order to get a better overview and still use Greenhopper to prioritize and manage the stories. Anyone who is facing the same problem and have a nice solution?

Best regards


3 answers

I'm a step earlier - have got an enormous backlog in Excel and trying to choose a tool to put them into to better structure and manage them... seems like JIRA might not be the whole answer.

You might want to check out the Structure plugin... I'm taking a look at it now. My immediate reaction was that I wasn't loving the user experience and it seemed a bit un-intuitive, but it may be that I've just not understood fully how it works yet. Let me know what you think. NB: it's currently for installed JIRA only, not OnDemand.

This is how we handle stories in Jira Greenhopper..

  1. The product owner defines the "high level product feature" and enter it in Jira as epics.
  2. We then define the user stories and add them as sub-tasks of the epic.
  3. Technical sub-tasks are added to the user stories by the developers.
  4. We setup 2 week sprints (using the version functionality) in Jira.
  5. The product owner drags their top 10 epics into the sprint/version.
  6. The product owner then prioritizes the epics within the sprint on the Agile/Planning Board using drag and drop (must have ranking enabled in greenhopper). The epics then appear in priority order on the agile task and planning board (must have a rank context setup)
  7. During sprint planning, the developers estimate the epics in rank order.
  8. During the sprint, the team works on the epics in rank order.
  9. The user stories within the epic can also be ranked if sequence dependancies exist.

The only problem with this setup is the ranking field is for all issues in Jira. Therefore, we have to rely on the planning board to visually understand our work priorities.

Your summary above makes me believe that your user stories aren't related to a specific high level product feature (epics).

Hopefully this helps,


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