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Managing 'Assignee' when you do Pair Programming

Pair Programming is quite common among small agile teams or when on-boarding someone new to the team. I have been pair programming for 2 years during my time at ThoughtWorks.





But how do you manage assignees when you pairing with another programmer? Jira supports assigning a ticket to only one person.

Custom fields to the rescue.

You can create a custom field that acts as a picker for multiple users.


Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 3.21.34 pm.png


Name the new field as 'Pair'. And then assign the new field to all the screen schemes that you want the field to appear in.

Now optionally reorder the fields so 'Pair' appears below 'Assignee'.

Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 3.22.16 pm.pngScreen Shot 2020-01-12 at 3.25.30 pm.png


Thats all! Now you can start assigning an issue to a 'Pair' 👏


Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 3.30.19 pm.png

Now that this is set up, you can do more things. JQL or simple filters can be used to see "What is assigned to me".

Example filter: "Pair" in (currentUser())


To find out how you can use this query in a dashboard gadget, so you can use that instead of "Assigned to Me" gadget, read my post here:


Ansar Rezaei
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Jan 12, 2020


Thanks for your experience sharing. I have used this functionality since a couple of years ago and not just for pair work but also as a replacement for JIRA Voters and Watchers Functionality or maybe having RACI Model(or DACI) in Tasks and issues. I name this field Related Persons and have another field with name CC and here is Usecases that I use these fields:

Assignee --> Responsible,

Reporter --> Accountable,

Related Person --> Consulted

CC --> Informed.

  1. When I want to define a task for someone and need some other people to help him/her for doing that (Consulted).
  2. When a task needs to be assigned to other persons after some efforts on it from the first assignee, I add the second person to this filed to keep Informed about task progress.
  3. In some companies, I suggest using Jira for meeting management. If I invite a group of people from different departments, I add all of them to this field one by one (Consulted) and add managers of persons who invited to the meeting to this CC (Informed) to be informed about this meeting.

This isn't an acceptable solution as (for myself) the point of having assigness is so that you can filter down and see who is working on what or who is floating.

The current system works great and would be perfect if Atlassian simply allowed multiple assignees per ticket. However instead they choose to be arbiter of company culture for everyone who uses Jira around the world by enforcing this arbitrary law because THEY know best how all other companies work.

Like Jan Steinke likes this

awesome post.. thanks for sharing!!.. 

Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Jan 14, 2020

Good one, Lenin!

Great post and thanks for sharing this!

Mykenna Cepek
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Jul 10, 2020

If only the Pair field could be automatically maintained by the Assignee field...

Well, it can! Here's how to do that using Automation in Jira...

Define a rule that triggers on a change to the Assignee field. Add an action which copies the Assignee field into the Pair field.

Now just reassigning the issue once (e.g. when the pair "switches drivers") will maintain the Pair field. The rule will also initialize the Pair field when the issue is first assigned.

(Yes, there's an edge case where the issue is reassigned, but the new Assignee never pairs. Manually editing the Pair field addresses this case.)

Here's what the configuration of this rule would look like. We didn't have a Pair field in our instance, so it shows as Approvers in these screenshots:



Like Jan Steinke likes this

I don't have admin privileges', how should I access "select a field type' or 'user picker'.?

I like to add 'reviewer'  user field.

So does this mean Jira does not support collaboration out of the box which is at the heart of Agile?


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