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Why does the Board allow me to drag issues to any column, despite the workflow?


I am returning to Jira after a few years away... I have setup a new project and setup a custom Workflow (which I have published).

On the Board I now see columns for each of my new statuses, and I have created a new issue.

However, I appear to now be able to drag and drop that issue from its current column all the way over to "Done" (for example) even though there is no workflow transition setup between the two columns.

In fact, I seem to be able to drag the issue from any column to any other column regardless of how I've setup the workflow.

I'm assuming I should only be able to drag it to columns which represent statuses that have a transition between them?


I've just noticed that when I'm dragging an issue from one column to another, it's not actually updating the status of the issue... But if I open the issue and use a transition to change the status, it both updates the status and moves the card to a different column.

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Ok, does "I've just noticed that when I'm dragging an issue from one column to another, it's not actually updating the status of the issue." mean that the problem is fixed now?

I know Jira will let you drag from any column to any column irrespective of the workflow, but when I try to drop a card into a column that does not have a transition from the current status, the card drops back into the place it was before (no status change).  Is that not what you get?

Sorry - I could have been clearer there!

This is the behaviour I'm seeing...

  1. If I open an issue, and use the controls in the pop-up window to trigger a transition, the status of the issue changes. When I then close the issue, the board updates and the issue moves to the column which represents the new status.
  2. If I 'drag and drop' an issue, it lets me drop the issue into any column, when it stays, even if there is no workflow transition in place which would allow you to get to that status. So, for example, if I drag and drop a card straight from "Backlog" to "In Review", it will sit in the "In Review" column. If I then open the issue, I can see that the status is still "Backlog", even though it's in the "In Review" column on the board.

When I have gone through process #2, above, and the card is in (what I consider to be) an invalid column, I have tried navigating away and coming back to the project (and closing the browser and coming back) and the issue stays in the column I dropped it in... yet if I open the issue to view the details, it has the status of the column I dragged it from.

I was expecting Jira to not let me drop the issue on the column, and for it to return to the column which matches its status.

Thanks for your help so far! :o)

I'm really sensing that you have run into a "six legged feature" that I have not here.

The key for me is that when you drop a card into a column that it should not be able to go to (because there's no transition) it stays there, visually, on the board.  While retaining the correct status because it's not allowed to move.  For me, the cards that should not move, they head back to where they came from.

I have a 3rd debugging question to ask, but it is minor.  If you move an issue from column X to column Y, it stays in Y from what you've said.  But if there's no tranistion, the status doesn't change.

What happens when you refresh the board?  Does it stay in Y, despite the status still being in column X, or does it jump back to column X because its status is still mapped into X?

Hi Nic,

I have done some more methodical testing (and posted some screenshots, above)...

I think I may have mistakenly misled you in my earlier post when I said closing and re-opening the browser left the card in the invalid state...

Based on more testing, when I drag and drop the card into an invalid column (and it stays there), I can do all of the following and the card will stay in the invalid column...

  1. Navigate any of the List, Calendar, Timeline, Forms or Issues views and back to the Board.
  2. Navigate to the "Your Work" page and back to the Board.

But - if I do any of the following, the Board reloads and puts the card back in to the column which matches its status...

  1. Navigate to the project Summary page.
  2. Perform a 'hard' refresh using the browser's "Refresh" button on the Board page.
  3. Close the browser window, open a fresh one and Navigate to the Board.

I have tested these steps in both Firefox (v92) and MS Edge (v97, dev build).

This is definitely starting to smell like a bug to me... I'm a bit concerned at the confusion this may end up causing if I were to let my team loose with the Board when it's behaving like this!

If you have any further thoughts, I'd appreciate it - and thanks again for your time!

So to confirm this:

The bug is that the card does not jump back into the column it was in before you dragged it to a column it can't go into?  But when you refresh the page showing the board, it is back in the column?

Hi Nic,

Yes - that sounds like it - although until speaking to you I wasn't sure whether Jira should just not let me drop it there in the first place, or whether it should jump back to its starting place when I do drop it. Either way, neither of these things are happening.

When I refresh the page, it does indeed appear back where it should, in the column which matches the status of the issue.

However - presumably due to some sort of caching - I am able to navigate around to quite a few different pages, then back to the board page and it doesn't refresh (still showing the card in the wrong column).

Clicking the browser's "Refresh" button, or closing the browser and reloading it does perform the refresh and shows the card back in the correct place.

Yep, it should drop the card back where you picked it up from!

The good news is it's not damaging your data (the refresh tells us the non-existent transition hasn't happened), although there is some caching happening somewhere.  I'm not too bothered by that, it's probably a bug, but it's secondary - it's only happening because there's a bug in the "go back to starting place" that allows you to get into that broken state!

I think this one needs to go to Atlassian, but you've said "free" version, so you won't be able to raise a support request directly.

I think one more thing would be useful for them before one of the leaders here gets it over to them - a short video showing a card being dropped into, and staying in, a column it should not be able to go into.

Like Curt Holley likes this

Thanks again for your help with this one - really appreciate it...

However - in the time it took me to find and download some screen capture software this morning, the problem appears to have resolved itself (well - I'm assuming a bug fix got rolled out somewhere).

It was consistently misbehaving from before I started this thread (as evidenced by my screenshots) until this morning when it started behaving as you described, with the cards flying back to where they came from.

Apologies for (what has turned out to be) a waste of your time - but everything is now as it should be!

Like Curt Holley likes this

It's never a waste of time answering a question, even if it's about a bug that spontaneously vanishes or gets fixed before you get a chance to raise it!

Glad it got fixed that fast!

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Curt Holley Community Leader Nov 25, 2021

Can you provide screenshots of

  1. the workflow diagram
  2. the boards column settings

This will make it easier for us to assist you.

Sure - thank you - here's the workflow:


Here's an example of what I'm seeing... These screenshots were taken before I drag and drop the card...

Step 1 - Card in Backlog on Board.pngStep 1 - Card in Correct Status.png

And these were taken immediately after I did the drag and drop to a column which shouldn't be able to receive the card...

Step 2 - Card in Invalid and Inconsistent State.pngStep 2 - Card in Invalid Column on Board.png

I must admit that I don't know how to get to the board's column settings (which could be part of the problem!)... How do you get to those?!

(Please also see further detail posted in my response to Nic, below...

- Chris

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