Worst Jira Admin Contest: A Thousand Transitions

Mistake 2


As a Jira administrator and consultant, I’ve seen plenty of horrendous workflows. The worst had 39 statuses and 1,007 transitions. It’s the longest workflow I’ve seen. And no, I did NOT build this one!

The workflow had 39 statuses and 1,007 transitions! It was a development workflow, and it was used by all issue types and every Jira project. The status names are blurry in the screenshot above, but they were equally hard to read in Jira as well.

What do you notice about this workflow? First, it’s impossible to follow. How do you know where you are in the process and how close the issue is to completion? The diagram is hard to see, for both admins and users. The status names are long and likely truncated in different Jira locations. Finally, there were five statuses in the green “Done” status category. For me, that’s four too many.

This workflow was build to make sure each team participated in each phase of a development request. Instead of the generic “In Progress” status, they had one custom status for every team like “In Progress [Customer Service]”, “In Progress [Product]”, and “In Progress [Dev]”. A better way to manage this would be to use the “Assignee” field, sub-tasks, or custom notifications to solve visibility worries.

I worked with this customer, and we were able to get this workflow down to only seven statuses and 19 transitions. Their users and admins are much happier now and the company didn’t sacrifice participation or visibility.

Back to intro and mistakes list


Laurie Sciutti
Rising Star
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December 7, 2023

OMG.   That workflow diagram is giving me anxiety!  😧

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Matt Doar
Community Leader
Community Leader
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December 16, 2023

1,007 is ... horrendous. Did someone have to configure them manually? Mind boggling.

I find there is a balance to be struck between minimizing the number of transitions, and making a workflow maintainable. I know I've done Clever Things in the past with scripted conditions to make transitions with the same name but different destinations apply for different field values. Far too tricky to maintain, and so easy to break. In that case I should have added more transitions.

In most workflows, I default to using global transitions these days. And remember to clear the system Resolution field in almost all cases


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