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Why I'd like to handle sub tasks in Scrum boards.

Because we're not really working in Scrum mode. We manage non-software hybrid projects were the approach depends on the team available and on the work package.

We use the Scrum board just because we haven't found another way to set a limit on the total estimated hours that can be "placed" on a board.

We need a board to place cards, not necessarily estimated in the agile way looking at the backlog. Our backlogs (in kanban or scrum boards) are simply the place where all the issues not yet to be started are placed.

I love the concept of Sprint in Scrum, nevertheless for the projects I manage, and considering the organization I'm in, it would be simply not possible to follow the rules of Scrum in total (at least not today).

I have one team that uses the kan ban board. They focus on showing the status and flow of work.

Another team uses the scrum board because with them we need to show what is supposed to be done during a week (which could be seen as our "sprint"), and not simply to limit the wip on a specific colum on a kanban board. If there's a way to see the total estimated work on a kan ban board we might also think to use this.

Due to the hybrid environment, both teams do this by creating subtasks within pre estimated tasks (defined when the work was not completely detailed, but it was anyway necessary to plan). It's easier creating a subtask than creating a new independent task to be assigned to an epic, and makes easier also to compare the original estimate at task level with the actual logged work which is determined including the logs at subtask level.

I've read several discussions through the community, and I agree that within the Scrum framework it would not be needed to estimate on sub tasks.

But what I mean is that these boards might become extremely more flexible for many more users who are not trying to apply agile, but still love to use boards in a different flexible way. Just because it works, in some environments.

Probably what I have in mind is a third family of hybrid boards. 

I'll appreciate any opinion or hint on this.

Ciao, Andrea.

1 comment

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Jun 11, 2019

Hi @ABoerio 

You've written quite a long discussion, but there doesn't seem to be a question in it. I'm unsure what you're expecting from this, the title hints at sub-tasks on a Scrum board, which are there and work successfully. So if you have a question or want an opinion on something, could you possibly make it clearer?


Hi Warren, 

maybe I've not posted it correctly, sorry. 

I don't see a way to handle sub tasks in a scrum board actually (can do it in kan ban board but not in scrum board), and I've read some discussions where it's explained that this is the right way.

So I simply wanted to explain why I'd like to be able to do that (eg manage subtasks in a scrum board), even if this would not mean really working in scrum.

Why do you say that sub tasks work succesfully on a Scrum board?

I'm not able to see them :-(

I mean, I'm not able to manage subtask independently. I need to put a complete story on the board, to see all its subtasks, and cannot simply add one subtask when a story it's supposed to last longer than a sprint.

I know this is the right approach with Scrum, but we're not actually applying Scrum, we just need a board where we can set a limit on the work planned for a specified period.

Rising Star
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Jun 11, 2019

Okay, I understand where you're coming from now and as you say, the behaviour of the Scrum board is correct for those using Scrum. To summarise what you're wanting, which of these do you want?

  1. To be able to see sub-tasks in the backlog
  2. To be able to independently move sub-tasks by themselves into a sprint
  3. To have a "sprint" facility where a group of tasks are "released"

It may well be all of the above, just let me know, because I have a solution in mind which I will suggest once I know what your requirements are

Point 1 and 2, as this is actually what we're doing with the team using kanban.

Not sure if I understood correctly point 3. 

I love using the features of the sprint definition, in terms of limitating (or at least highlighting) the total estimation allowed during this period, and for the possibility to later on analyze what happened (eg intercepting changes in scope of the sprint etc...).

Our "user story" :-)  is actally midway between the kan ban board and the scrum board.

Rising Star
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Jun 11, 2019

Hi @ABoerio 

I don't think there's anything currently in Jira to do what you want, which is why you're suggesting a 3rd "type". 

Just a reminder, this Community forum is viewed by Atlassian staff, but mainly answered by people such as myself who don't work for Atlassian and have no say in what they do. So just because you've said here what you'd like to see, doesn't mean it will happen. You would need to raise a support ticket and if it gets enough votes, it may then appear.

In the meantime, you will probably need to compromise by deciding whether Kanban or Scrum offer you the most for your process.

Thank you very much for the hints, @Warren , and thank you also for the patience you put in trying to understand our need, instead of simply judging it as "wrong way to use the software".

Even with these compromises we'll need to find, I still see enormous possibilities from using Jira and Confluence in a non software development environment. It's already a great way to work.

I'll try to figure out what is best, and maybe develop  some script limitation on the kan ban board by scriptrunner, eg creating some kind of warning when the total amount of estimates of cards on a board is exceeding what is considered the limit (it could be an issue shown on the board just to store in it a parameter).

And, yes, I'll probably raise a ticket.

Ciao, Andrea


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