Release notice: custom issue type hierarchy levels and configurable name for the Epic level

Hi Jira Community! :wave:

Starting in May 2023 and continuing through August, we'll be rolling out several updates to issue type hierarchy levels in Jira.

These updates will be released incrementally, meaning that some sites may see these changes earlier than others.

Configurable issue type hierarchy level names

You'll soon have the ability to configure the names of your issue type hierarchy levels across Jira. To do this:

  1. Select Settings > Issues > Issue type hierarchy.

  2. Click the level name that you want to rename.

  3. Edit the level name, and select Save changes.

Please note that these updated level names may appear throughout your Jira experience, including:

  • the Type column on the Issue Types settings page

  • autosuggestions for ‘hierarchyLevel’ JQL searches, and

  • REST API endpoints that return hierarchy levels names.

Updated ‘Hierarchy Level’ column in issue types settings

The Type column on the Issue Types settings page will be replaced with the Hierarchy Level column, which will display numerical values of the hierarchy level, e.g. -1, 0).

0c6daa65-fd1f-4a79-abf8-4795e69e9263.png

Rename ‘epics’ in Jira

As announced in our earlier blog post, we’re allowing you to rename epics in your issue type hierarchy settings.

Changes you make to your epic level will be reflected throughout all company-managed projects in your site. For example, if you’ve renamed the epic level to Feature, your backlog will now contain a Feature panel, rather than the existing Epic panel.

Please note that the Epic Link field change described in our previous post is not part of this set of upcoming updates, but will be addressed soon.

Updates to your issue view

If you have issues at hierarchy level 1, you will see an Add a child issue button in the issue view for all such issues, which replaces the Create subtask button.

To identify the impacted issue types, navigate to Settings > Issues > Issue type hierarchy and locate level 1. This change does not affect any other issue types.

The image below shows an example of the Add a child issue button:

 

Screen Shot 2023-05-17 at 1.45.27 pm.png

 


We hope that these updates will enhance your Jira experience and provide more flexibility in managing your projects. Keep an eye out for these changes in the coming months. Thanks!

25 comments

Dave Mathijs
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April 24, 2023

Hi @Konstantin Kulishenkov Will it be possible to create additional epic level custom issue types?

Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
April 24, 2023

Hi @Dave Mathijs! We've kept the original behavior around additional epic-level custom issue types as is: they can be added via Settings > Issues > Issue type hierarchy, but they will not be treated as epics by Boards, Epic reports, and other epic-specific functionality in Jira.

Issues with these types can still be used as parents for base-level issues.

Thanks,
Konstantin

Sune Vester Lindhe May 16, 2023

Hi @Konstantin Kulishenkov First of all: This is really a good change, very much looking forward to it. I am wondering: If you set up a SAFe-like hierarchy, Epic -> Feature -> Story, will Epic and Feature both have hierarchy level 1 or will Epic be at level 2? And if so, will they also have a 'Add child' button?

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Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
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May 17, 2023

Hi @Sune Vester Lindhe thanks for your feedback!

If you set up a SAFe-like hierarchy, Epic -> Feature -> Story, will Epic and Feature both have hierarchy level 1 or will Epic be at level 2?

You can configure it either way, but to be able to set an Epic as the parent of a Feature, you'll need to rename level 1 (and the default Epic issue type) to "Feature", then add level 2, name it "Epic", then create an issue type named "Epic" (or whatever name you prefer) and add it to level 2.

This way you'll end up with the following hierarchy: Epic (level 2) -> Feature (level 1) -> Story (level 0).

And if so, will they also have a 'Add child' button?

For now, having the "Add child issue" button for issues at levels above 1 is not in the scope of this release, but we will consider adding it at some point, though can't promise it at this stage.

Thanks,
Konstantin

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Campbell June 5, 2023

@Konstantin Kulishenkov We have been using subtasks with our Level 1 items. With the replacement of the "Create subtask" button, we're no longer able to do this as the "create child issue" button does not provide the option to create a subtask. We have had to put together an automation so that we can create subtasks for issues at this level. Is there any consideration on how this need can be met without the automation workaround?

Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
June 9, 2023

Hi @Campbell, thanks for your feedback.

We aim to provide consistent experience in Jira Issue View between the "system" epic issue type, and other issue types at level 1. The "system" epic issue type does not allow the creation of subtasks from the Issue View.

It's still possible to create subtasks using the [+] button in the "Subtasks" panel for both the "system" epic issue type and other issue types at level 1, but only if they already had subtasks.

While it's possible to have subtasks for all issue types in company-managed projects (except for the subtask type itself), we believe it's the best practice to have subtasks only for issues at hierarchy level 0 (for example Story, Task, etc). In fact, this has been requested by some users: https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/JSWCLOUD-19005

In your use case, this automation might be a viable workaround.

Please also note that the rollout of this particular change has been temporarily paused, but it is expected to resume later next week.

Thanks,
Konstantin

Paddy Walsh June 9, 2023

Hi @Konstantin Kulishenkov

I am currently trialing Jira Premium and would like to add extra issue types at the Epic level (for example, 'Problem' to group Bugs under and 'Improvement' to deal with changes that are not really product features (refactoring, etc) and these would have Stories under. Your earlier comment said that only the special system 'Epic' would appear in various places where Epics are used - can you confirm this. And would the 'Epic Link' field only work for links to system epics or would it work for any issue types t the epic level?

Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
June 13, 2023

Hi @Paddy Walsh!

only the special system 'Epic' would appear in various places where Epics are used - can you confirm this

And would the 'Epic Link' field only work for links to system epics

Yes, both statements are correct.

For now, to set a "non-system epic" (other issue types at level 1) as a parent, the "Parent Link" field should be used in Jira UI.

Once this roadmap item is released, the "Parent" field will replace both "Epic Link" and "Parent Link" in Jira UI.

In the Jira REST API, the "parent" field has already replaced "Epic Link" and "Parent Link", and can be used in all scenarios of issue parenting.

Thanks,
Konstantin

Paddy Walsh June 14, 2023

Hi @Konstantin Kulishenkov . Thanks for the answer. So for forward compatibility, if I create new Epic level issue types, should I use 'Parent Link' to link subordinate issues to them (or can 'Epic Link' be used?) I cannot see a field called 'Parent'?

Actually, looking back at your answer I think you answered that. My concern is that the new issue types would not appear in various reports etc because they are not 'Epics'?

Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
June 14, 2023

Hi @Paddy Walsh! That's correct, for now, the field "Parent" is not yet available. It will appear in Jira after this is released.

should I use 'Parent Link' to link subordinate issues to them

Until the "Parent" field gets released, this is the only way to do it, yes. "Epic Link" should be used for the system epic type only.

My concern is that the new issue types would not appear in various reports etc because they are not 'Epics'?

Yes, this is correct. Non-system epics will not appear in these.

Thanks,
Konstantin

Alex Murillo June 14, 2023

I presume this hierarchy feature doesn't apply to Team Managed projects, which is too bad because I have no intention of moving to Company Managed projects.

Campbell June 14, 2023

@Konstantin Kulishenkov Thanks for the context. I think having the ability to create subtasks and child issues at this level does not need to be mutually exclusive. Some of our teams are using subtasks as a sort of checklist of things to be done before moving an item from one status to the next, and its absence from the Epic was a miss for that issue type. Jira already provides the option to enable subtasks from Settings>Issues, if some users do not wish to use it at certain levels perhaps it's a matter of providing the ability to disable it at those levels/within the scheme. For now both buttons could be included so as to not impact those of us who are using it in this way currently. 

The ability to create child issues at this level is appreciated. I'd suggest the available issue types to select from should be limited to only those that are below that level though. While the functionality was there, hitting the button on a Level 1 item presented me with a drop down that includes Level 1 issue types.

Thanks!

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Paul Thomson
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June 29, 2023

Hi @Konstantin Kulishenkov 

I too was looking for the Parent Link which doesn't exist yet... 

I am wondering if it is possible to set up an Epic Link for a non-epic custom epic level issue in automation rule using JQL to add a new variable to set an epic link for a non-epic. Can these Epic Links exist without an Epic being created? I am a beginner with JQL, so it's kind of above my head.

It is really frustrating that I can create child tasks manually, but I cannot automate it. I'm working with a lab team that require 2 levels of tasks below the main issue (child tasks and sub tasks), and we want to be able to generate the child tasks automatically (there are a lot of them) whenever we create our custom issue types at epic level.

It is important to us that the custom epic cards are visually distinctive because the task setup and processes for each custom epic are different, although they co-exist in the same workflow.

Campbell June 29, 2023

@Konstantin Kulishenkov  So I see the feature has rolled back out again... choosing "Create Child Issue" on a Level 1 item continues to present me with a list of Level 1 issue types (as well as Stories, which are the level below). Are users meant to be able to link a Level 1 item as a child of a Level 1 item?

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Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
June 30, 2023

Hi @Campbell, historically the issue type dropdown in the "Child issues" panel has shown all issue types, not just the ones with the hierarchy level below.

We've been tracking this bug internally, but I've just created https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/JSWCLOUD-25484 for external visibility. This bug is not caused by our recent release.

Thanks,
Konstantin

Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
June 30, 2023

Hi @Paul Thomson thanks for your feedback.

We're currently looking into adding support for a "universal" parent field in Jira Automation, that would work for all issue types. We will communicate if this will be released.

Thanks,
Konstantin

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Yatish Madhav
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July 16, 2023

Thanks for this ... I wonder what in the in-Jira project updates page I can search for to see these updates if they are rolled out to our instance or not? Please advise? Thank you

Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
July 17, 2023

Hi @Yatish Madhav! Generally, we recommend checking "Atlassian Cloud Documentation blog posts" for updates on what features are currently rolling out. To access them, in Jira, click the question mark icon on the top right panel, and then click "Find out what’s changed in Jira".

The changes described on this page (Custom issue type hierarchy levels and configurable name for the Epic level) were included in some blog posts from this section, for example, the last one, and the one before.

Some Jira instances opt-in for bundled releases on a schedule, known as Release Tracks. The changes described on this page went into the July bundle.

This means that currently, all Jira Cloud instances have received the changes described on this page (custom issue type hierarchy levels and configurable name for the Epic level).

Thanks,
Konstantin

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Yatish Madhav
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July 17, 2023

OK, thanks for that @Konstantin Kulishenkov 

FYI it looks like some of this is only relating to Jira Software Premium, which we dont have but I think it would be great if you can clarify that in terms of this article? 

I do see that we can rename the Level Name but not set the Hierarchy Level but gues that is due to the above.

Also RE the updates on the instance, I am aware of and subscribed to the Atlassian Cloud Documentation blog posts but I mean the Products > Product updates page - I do see it now as "Dynamic issue type names at the Epic level" and ""Create child issue" from all level 1 hierarchy issues"

Thank you again

Konstantin Kulishenkov
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
July 17, 2023

Hi @Yatish Madhav - yes, these changes are for Premium, except for "Dynamic issue type names at the Epic level" which I believe should work on Standard as well.

Thanks,
Konstantin

Trudy Claspill
Community Leader
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July 18, 2023

@Konstantin Kulishenkov 

Why is it not stated in the Announcement itself to which subscriptions this applies? Why is that information buried in Comments?

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Kevin Dickson
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July 24, 2023

Ever since renaming Epic to Feature, and creating a custom Epic field (to follow SAFe's hierarchy), I cannot base my swimlanes on Epics - only Features, Stories, etc).

Is this being looked at, or is there a way to show Epics still - even though it's now a custom Epic field?

I would like to be able to still base my swimlanes on Epics, with them expanding to Features, and then to Stories

Trudy Claspill
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July 24, 2023

@Kevin Dickson 

Welcome to the Atlassian community.

The Swimlanes by "Epic" option is based on the Epic Issue Type. If you rename your Epic Issue Type as "Feature" then the Swimlanes by Epic becomes Swimlanes by "Feature", remaining tied to the issue type that was originally "Epic"

The only way to base swimlanes on custom fields is to use the Swimlanes by Query option and create a query/filter for each value that could be within the custom field.

Jira Cloud does not have a built in feature to let you set Swimlanes to organize based on values in custom fields.

Kevin Dickson
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July 24, 2023

Thank you for your fast answer.
The problem is that if I use a JQL query to base swimlanes on, such as issuetype=Epic, this will only show me the epics, and not the associated features, stories and subtasks :-(
How can I create a query that shows the epic as a dropdown, and at the same time displays all of the features and stories associated to that epic?

Reason for asking this is that we use Epics as the MVP of a product solution, so each epic would represent a different MVP, with the assosicated features and stories.

Trudy Claspill
Community Leader
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July 24, 2023

@Kevin Dickson 

I recommend that you post your question in the Jira Software Questions community. Comments in an Article is not the best method to get the community involved to suggest solutions to your dilemma.

When you do so please provide details of your scenario. If you can provide screen images to illustrate how you have implemented this customization that would be very helpful.

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