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How to delegate user permissions in Jira

Delegation of permissions has long been a missing part of Jira. 

Jira is powerful and Jira is everywhere. It is used for all kinds of processes and it provides configuration options to set which users can see, create, edit, delete, approve, etc. But when somebody goes on vacation for two weeks, defining temporary permissions is quite cumbersome.

Manual Configuration

The first option to solve this problem would be manual configuration.

The upside of manual configuration is: It is free. You don't have to buy an app. 

The downside is: It is hard to maintain. Most of the time, Jira permissions are hard configured into Jira workflows. Changing them requires Jira Admin to alter workflows, which is something you don't want to do often. Even if you configure permissions through project roles or user groups, adding a new user to a role/group gives that user all the permissions that were defined through that role/group. You don't want that either. It is also up to you to manually remove the delegates from roles/groups when the user returns from vacation.

The "Assignee" model:

Some organizations try to solve this by binding all actions to "assignees" on issues and simply defining automation rules to assign issues to delegates. Out-of-office Assistant and A4J - Absence for Jira are two such apps that facilitate the automatic assigning of issues.

The upside of this alternative is: It simple and requires very little configuration.

On the other hand, it introduces its own problems. First, when you assign the issue to another user the original user is no longer the assignee so loses his/her permissions. Second, you have to do something to return issues to their original assignees when that person is back from vacation. These problems get larger as the numbers of users, projects, and workflows on Jira increase.

Keychain - Delegation for Jira

Enter, Keychain - Delegation for Jira,

Keychain allows any user to delegate his/her permissions to one or more users that will be valid for a given time window.

The app introduces new Jira components (workflow conditions, post functions, JQL functions, and custom fields) to your system. These components will allow your Jira admin to configure delegation points in Jira workflows, issue screens, permission & notification schemes, and even Jira Service Management Customer Portal approvals.

Jira admin makes the configuration once. After that, defining a single delegation entry will be effective all around the system. 

Even better, Keychain allows you to delegate permissions in Categories. That means you can define your own categories for delegating permissions and configure Keychain Jira components according to these specific categories, then delegate permissions only in some of the categories or delegate different categories to different users.

The downside is: It requires some upfront configuration.

The upsides are:

  • You don't have to delegate every permission. The initial configuration done by the Jira admin pinpoints where and which permissions will be delegated.
  • Categories allow you to delegate permissions in different categories to different users.
  • You don't have to modify workflow configurations or user roles/groups in every project every time you delegate permissions.
  • You don't have to wait for the Jira admin to define or remove delegations. Each user can define delegations for himself/herself.
  • All delegations are defined with a time window. When that window expires, the delegated permissions are automatically revoked.

You can find more information about Keychain through Keychain's Atlassian Marketplace page:

For any further questions about Keychain, take a look at Keychain documentation 


Hi @Emre Toptancı _OBSS_ ,

Interesting app! However, you may want to consider discussing alternative solutions to the problem or moving this article to the Marketplace Apps section ;)

Like # people like this

Updated the artice. @Capi _resolution_ , hope it is better now. 

It is! Thanks for the contribution @Emre Toptancı _OBSS_ !


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