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Jira Workflow Transition Types


While studying for my ACP-100 exam (Jira Administration for Data Center and Server, at the time of writing this article), I came across the names of 3 different Jira workflow transition types (there may be more!), outside of the usual one status -> transition -> one status.  I had a hard time tracking down much documentation on them.  So I thought I would share what I found for others studying for an exam or for those who just want to learn more about transitions.

3 Special Transition Types

1. Common

A common transition is one that two or more statuses use.

This one you've probably seen before.  When you add a transition, you click the Reuse a transition tab and select an existing transition to reuse.


2. Global

A global transition is one that can be transitioned to from any status in the workflow.

You've also probably seen this one but didn't know that it was called a global transition.  This transition is created by checking the box next to Allow all statuses to transition to this one.


3. Self-reflecting

A self-reflecting transition, transitions back to itself, not a different status.

You probably have not seen this one too often.  It took some digging to figure out what this transition does.  Some use cases for the self-reflecting transition are when you:

  • Don't want the status to change
  • Want to prompt the user to input data on a transition screen
  • Want to put a post-function on the transition

I suppose that you could also use a self-reflecting transition if you didn't want to add more statuses to Jira but wanted to prompt the user to complete a step. The transition won't be recorded in the issue history, just that the status went back to itself.


You could get creative in how you implement a self-reflecting transition!

Sample Workflow

Here they all are together in a workflow with my added notes:



Now you know the names of those transitions you've been using.

I hope you found this article to be helpful.  If you did, please Like it!

And remember me when you get the question on the exam right. ;)


Mikael Sandberg Community Leader Jun 04, 2021

A good use case for the self-transitioning can be that you need something to happen before the issue can move forward. I have used it for Risk Assessment where the issue was not allowed to moved forward unless the CRB risk assessed the issue first. Because you are using a transition you can control who can perform that one, for example only users in a specific project role should be able to do it.

I have also used it to set the resolution on issues that where in a done status category but didn't have the resolution set. You can the add that as a post function to the transition.

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Good article! I see that @Rachel Wright's article at had some good discussion about what to call the "self-transitioning" transitions. 

Did you find some Atlassian docs that use the word "self-transitioning"? I see @Ravi Sagar _Sparxsys_ uses that term too but I don't know where it came from.

Atlassian - pick a phrase, add it to some docs, please!

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Wait, you use the phrase "self-reflecting" as well. Now that is confusing!

Like WW likes this

@WW fantastic write-up. And thanks for your input @Matt Doar__ LinkedIn.

They are most commonly referred to as self-reflecting, loop, or looping transitions. On the exams, they are called "self-reflecting". 

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Dirk Ronsmans Community Leader Jun 07, 2021

nice article :) always good to get some clarification on terms we just use casually.

I tend to use self-reflecting transitions indeed mainly when I want to show a transition screen with fields that only a specific group/user should have access to. By limiting the transition itself it's an easy way to block the fields.

Like WW likes this

Hi @Matt Doar__ LinkedIn ,

The word "self-reflecting" (which I somehow renamed to self-transitioning*) came from the ACP-100 Jira cert prep course study materials.  That's where all three of the names of the transition types came from.  I searched and searched for something about self-reflecting transitions, and had to infer from some posts that indirectly mentioned self-reflecting transitions and one youtube video on it.

That article you linked to looks like a good one.  I've never heard of global looping transitions, but they seem to be another type of transition where it's a self-reflecting transition on a global transition.  

*I have no idea why I renamed self-reflecting to self-transitioning.  Maybe I saw it somewhere, or maybe I got transition happy. :)  I went ahead and updated the terminology so that it's all the same now.

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