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Using JIRA for Getting Things Done (GTD)

This atlassian blog article comments that i can use JIRA as a task list for work(team) tasks and personal tasks.

(6. (JIRA users) Distinguish your JIRA issues from your personal to-dos. 
If you’re a JIRA user, you’re familiar with using issues to plan, track, and report on your work. Your JIRA issues are items set for the whole team to view. But, your to-dos are personal items you set yourself in order to record an idea, achieve a goal, or finish a project. If you incorporate a to-do list with JIRA, you can write to-dos, ideas, reminders, and steps that only you need to know about, and still directly connect them to an issue in JIRA.)

How would i do that? Create a seperate project and only assing myself permissions?


Thomas Schlegel Community Leader May 09, 2017

Hi Ben,

yes, exactly. We have these "personal projects" in our Jira. 

Like # people like this

Hi Ben,

I've created a TODO project within my Company's JIRA which can be used by everone but only the reporter and assignee can see the issue. Somehow the project is a personal TODO list :-)

This is just a plain project with a simple workflow (TODO - In Progress - On Hold - Done), the special thing lies in the Permission Scheme. Here I've given most of the permissions to the Reporter and Assignee only. This makes sure only them have access to the issues.

Here's a screenshot of the Permission Scheme: 

Project TODO   Project Permissions   De Persgroep JIRA.png

I've also setup a simple Kanban board with 4 columns to match the workflow and a simple filter: 

project = TODO

The Permission Scheme takes care of the fact that only the reporter and/or assignee can view their issues on the board.

You could even take this a step further by including the TODO project in the filter of your current board. Every user using the board will only see his/her issues.

Hope this helps.



Like # people like this

Thats actually genius!

Way easier than creating a seperate project for every staff member!

To be honest I "stole" it from somewhere else, but can't remember where I've read about it. :-)

Like Jarrad Dober likes this

If im correct, this scheme would work well for personal tasks (pay my home water bill) and work related tasks (create contract). ?

Yes exactly, using this Scheme only the Reporter and Assignee will be able to view and use the issue. So some collaboration is still possible if you create an issue (you are reporter) and assign it to someone else (he/she is assignee).



Maarten - probably saw it on "Answers".  Or OSQA, or Jive.  I've been rattling it off here as a standard setup since JIRA 3.0.3 was released!

1.  I stole it from Neal Applebaum or Matt Doar, and other people have posted it too.

2.  If you're on JIRA 6 or lower, it won't work - it needs the "reporter browse" thing enabled.  They fixed that in 7, so you can now use just reporter.

Like Dave Liao likes this

My only gripe is with this setup is - if i have a task with status "waiting for someoone else" on my kanban board, and assign that task to someone else, if they move the status to "next actions", it will also update on mine. 


Yes, that's correct, the issue status has been changed, so the board shows you the new status.  I'm not sure why that is a problem, although it suggests the workflow is not quite right.

You're right.

So GTD uses an

  • In(Backlog) - for braindrumping and inserting EVERY input or thought in your life (pay bill, learn chinese etc)

The process then is to convert the backlog in to either

  • Next Actions - tasks you can actually do
  • Someday/Maybes - things you have on your mind that you might get done one day
  • Projects - big things that require more than 1 next action
  • Waiting on someone else - tasks that are on hold becuase you are waiting on someone else.
  • Done - completed tasks

Hense the waiting on someone else tasks and assigning to someone else wont work properly.

Im trying to think of a workaround. 

Suggestions welcome.

Hi Ben, 

Instead of changing the status that person could simply unassigned it when he/she is done. That way, it'll be clear for you that no one needs to do anything for it anymore and it remains in de same status. 



Like Bia Dimovski likes this

And yes Nic, there's a big chance I read it here. And in that case there's a big chance it came for you! Thanks

when you say a "plain project" to start - is that a business project, or an agile project?  I want to do this, but not even sure where to start.

Thanks for this, Maarten! I've implemented it successfully with a Kanban board.

Just as a head's up, there is a glitch in the Kanban board implementation on Server 8.x where if a subtask is visible to you but its parent is not, the subtask breaks whatever column it is displayed in. The column disappears from the page's DOM and the tasks drop below the remaining columns. Any ideas for a solution are welcome.

@Maarten Cautreels I feel silly asking this - I must be missing something. If a user can only see the project, via Browse Projects, when they report or are assigned an issue, how do they see the project before they have set up any issues for themselves? Do I have to assign each person in the company an individual issue so they can see the project?

Like Dave Liao likes this
Dave Liao Community Leader May 21, 2020

@lececere - it's actually the "Create Issue" permission that controls whether a given user/group/role can see a project. In this case, the "Users" role is given Create Issues permission, which gives that role the *option* of creating issues within that project.

Make sense? :)

Is there a way I can use this permission scheme (only assignee or reporter access issues), but also have some issues that everyone can access?

Hi Ben,

You could achieve these things with Issue Level Security. This way you can configure permissions on an issue-by-issue basis. 

I suggest you read through the documentation I shared and give it a try (probably best on a TEST environment or project first).



Will this work with Jira Cloud, or do you need to have your own server for Jira?

Dave Liao Community Leader Aug 30, 2018

This works in any version of Jira - server or cloud - as long as you have the administrative privileges to set up the proper permissions.

A bit late to the party, but this scheme is great! Thanks for sharing @Maarten Cautreels. Just want to ask, does it matter what type of issue is created? e.g. story or task?

Hi See,

You can use any issue type. The permission scheme works for all of them.



Like See Seen likes this

Thanks. Unfortunately my admin decided that this is not a project that should be there... So it's being taken down. I really enjoyed using it, while it lasts. Maybe I just didn't sell it well.

Jira would make the ultimate personal todo list.  Unfortunately, other than the above trick which can only be done if you are the admin (none of us are), jira remains a pure project tool.

I am amazed that jira dont release a personal todo list version (e.g. with 100 items that only you can see), to get everyone hooked and familiar with jira, to then help bring it into their workplaces.  

A huge wasted opportunity for atlassian.  I work for an organisation which has probably 1000 users in their jira along with a multitude of plugins probably costing hundreds of thousands a year in license fees, but we all have to use google sheets or pieces of paper to track our daily todo lists and GTD lists.

Crazy no?

I did consider using a private license to track todos, but atlassian doesn't let you switch between users, so I would be constantly logging in and out of the work one the private one, perhaps 30 times a day. This is untenable.

I’m using Microsoft planner within Microsoft Teams right now. It’s one of the allowed apps. Not as powerful but does the job. I have something that looks like a kanban within the planner. 

I handle this task via issue security. You can add this label/input field optional to any issue type e.g. private (the issue is only for reporter etc.), team-specific, and so on.

The only requirement would be clean user groups and role management...

Advantage: No need for private projects :-)

Jira is a very powerful tool. There are many options to differentiate items: creating a special project like suggested here, labels, filters etc.. However I think it is very important to keep every work related task; personal or team related in the same source. You may be working on some team tasks and also need to review designs documents sent out by other engineers. Reviewing a document may be considered as a personal todo since you will likely do it alone and others may not be interested in your progress. However it still requires time and resources. It is still valuable to store metadata like when it started, ended etc. The metadata can be used to predict when more resources might be needed for such personal todos. Hard to understand why this blog is telling users to use other tools rather than empowering their customers with their own product.

Like Dave Liao likes this


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