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Granularity: Epics, Stories and sub-tasks?

Rising Star
Rising Star
Rising Stars are recognized for providing high-quality answers to other users. Rising Stars receive a certificate of achievement and are on the path to becoming Community Leaders.
Jun 26, 2017

I'm kicking off a new project, it's my first real agile project. Right now we have 4 epics. One of them is "Account System". Under that, I have a few stories like "As a user I need to be able to login". Each of the stories has sub-tasks like "Design login page", "Create Account Database", etc.

One of my problems is that I'm using JIRA and sub-tasks do not show up on the backlog. In general, I just don't know how granular to be. What would everyone recommend to categorize the "Account login" scenario? (Here is a breakdown of some example tasks)

└ Account System
   └ "As a user I need to Login"
      ├ Design login screen
      │ └ Add "save password" checkbox
      └ Design account tables

I'm starting to think the story needs to be the epic and the two design tasks need to be "tasks" with the checkbox as a sub-task. This would mean a lot more epics. I assume that's okay?

Any input would be GREATLY appreciated.

1 comment

Thomas Schlegel
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Jun 27, 2017

Hi Scott,

my opinion of this is:

an epic is defined as something that lasts longer than one sprint. It is a container for stories.

Stories should be ready within one sprint. You plan your sprint with stories, they have storypoints for estimation.

A task is part of a story. In my opinion, a task should be done in a very short time (one day), they are not estimated as stories are. The storypoints of a story should contain the efforts of all the subtasks.

That's why I think, tasks don't have to be in the backlog. There you plan your stories for the next sprint. Adding every task would result in a big, confusing backlog.

So, I would design your issues like that

  • Account System (Epic)
    • Design Login Screen (Story)
      • Add checkbox (task)
    • Design Account tables


  • Account System (Epic)
    • As a User I need to login
      • Design login screen
      • Design account table

I think, "Add checkbox" is a little bit too small for a task.


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