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Why are projects called projects?

It might sound a bit pedantic but whereas 'Issues' really makes sense as a naming convention, calling the container that organises issues a 'project' doesn't seem right as a project has a start and and end by definition.

I'm curious and I wondered if it was a throwback to the early versions of the product or if there was any explanation as to where 'project' came from as a naming convention?


I don't think there's any pedantry here.  Issue is not a great word, but it's a lot better than all the other suggestions I've seen (for example "ticket" can go burn in hell - it's not a "ticket" unless I've got a token of some sort in my hand that shows that I'm entitled to something, which is not what 99.999% of Jira Issues are for)

Project though, feels like a bit of a hangover.  Yes, projects should mostly have a start an end, and I think that's what Jira developers were looking at.  But some stuff isn't a project and people found Jira useful for handling those things that don't really fit as projects. 

I have a big classic example of this - a Jira with 10k projects, many ended naturally as we'd all imagine, but 3-5 that are never-ending processes and hence really shouldn't be called "projects"

Jira "projects" are a good solution for separating things out.  But "project" is the wrong word for some of the stuff people do with Jira.

Like Stuart Capel - London likes this

I actually feel happy about Issue, I used to associate issue with problem but by definition, it's just an important topic. I like the implication that anything you take the time to physically type through the interface is important.

We actually managed to really engage service desk users with 'ticket' terminology. It all came out of one senior ops person saying they needed a way to give everyone a number like you get at the meat counter in Sainsbury's 😂 (they were struggling with too many requests via email, text message, carrier pigeon etc.). So you could argue that the entitlement a ticket gives is the access to a service or expertise.

Project however, makes no sense to me 😆 but I guess the origin story would explain where it came from. I wonder if there is a book by Mike and or Scott like James Watt's Brewdog book. Quick Google search suggested not.

I really questioned the term project recently when exploring the Initiative/Epic/Story/Sub-task hierarchy with someone and they wanted to know why project wasn't in the hierarchy. I explained it as a container, for issues, which made it easier for us to understand.

Kat Marketplace Partner Sep 08, 2020

Recently I was describing our internal system to a new team member and this was one of the trickier areas to explain.

We eventually agreed that a "Jira Project" is a container. We have different types of containers (project categories) that hold different things. i.e. some Jira Projects are containers for work tasks which are assigned to people and put in sprints, others are containers for artifacts that store information we use in Confluence reports like customer environments with current version or soft copies of all contracts.

Like Stuart Capel - London likes this

Hi @Stuart Capel - London ,

Some weeks ago I asked to the community about what Jira project means in its instances:


In my opinion a Jira project is a box where you can save your issues... by default a Jira Project is not a project. For this reason we created Profields, if you want to take your projects to another level, you should use Profields:

Track, categorize and make decisions through different views. Create new properties to follow up on your project status, due dates, people involved and much more!.​

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