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Auto re-numbering a stack rank


I have a team of product managers who manage their respective backlog priority in JIRA. A common issue we have is that when we want to add a new item to the backlog there is no way to auto-reorder the existing issues in the backlog by priority.


As an example:

Feature A, priority 1

Feature B, priority 2

Feature C, priority 3


When we add Feature D and want to be a high priority (eg second) that means that we either a) have to go into each issue individually and re-prioritize them manually by editing each issue or b) assign things like “1.2” to feature D so it would be numerically sorted second.


We are not using JIRA cloud and I’ve looked at various add-ons but haven’t been able to find any obvious solutions.  Much appreciated if anyone can help.  We have a team of 50 PMs that would love it if there an elegant solution to this sub-optimal workflow.

3 answers

@Tony Paterra - you mention 'stack rank' and 'priority'?  They are not the same thing.

If your boss tells you there are three business critical tasks you need to complete then he/she has given you the business priority.  However, you might well ask which of the three tasks should you complete first? second? and last? because you need to rank these three 'business critical' priority tasks into a work order.

By default, Jira orders your backlog by rank - with each item having a unique rank amongst all other items. Within the backlog you can use drag and drop to re-rank items against one another.  In your example, you'd enter Feature D and then simply drag It to wherever you wish it to sit in your ranked list of items - other other items are re-ranked accordingly.

The priority field is slightly different. You can sort your backlog by priority by changing your board filter from board settings, but many items may have the SAME priority (unlike rank which is unique). Changing your board filter to sort by priority first, then Due Date etc might help depending on what you are trying to achieve but again, this doesn't make for unique 'stack ranks'.

You should also be aware that if you change your board sort order from RANK you will also lose the drag and drop capability on the backlog because it only works for rank sorted backlogs. 

I think @Tony Paterra core issue is that there is no obvious way to sort by priority (or any custom sort) in the backlog view.

Perhaps the solution is to use "issue view" (not sure if correct terminology) – "g" then "i" via kb shortcuts or "Filters" -> "Advanced issue search" via menu.

From "issue view" you can apply the appropriate filters and select desired columns for report/view ... then sort on Priority. This can be done via clicking column header in "basic" mode (default) or ORDER BY clause in JQL mode.

// shiva


ps – note: the definition of "Backlog" is not straightforward (to me) and may depend on project(s) configuration(s). If you have trouble selecting correct set of issues via filters/jql – a workaround is to apply explicit Label or explicit Status to represent "Backlog" (which is then easily filtered). for more on this last part see:

0 votes

Welcome to the Atlassian Community!

I am not quite sure what the problem here is.  You add a new issue and it goes to the bottiom of your backlog because that is where it should land, then you re-rank stuff and maybe it moves,  what is wrong with that?  (Or, more importantly, what part of that process is not working for you?)

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