4 answers

1 accepted

The Epic hierarchy is a feature of JIRA Software, which itself used to be an add-on for JIRA.

It adds an Epic Link field to issues that are children of the Epic issue type.

I'm fairly certain it's impossible to apply that to different issue types using standard JIRA settings.

There's a very similar question with good answers here - https://answers.atlassian.com/questions/38385869

As Quentin Bellégo mentioned, there are numerous plugins that provide custom hierarchies.

You'll find that all of those plugins have plenty of additional features besides hierarchy. Structure (disc. - I work for its creators) for all sorts of management, reporting & overview; Portfolio for planning; Links Hierarchy is probably unrivalled for visualising complex linked relationships, etc.


Example screenshot from Links Hierarchy:

In JIRA you have the following hierarchy :

  • Task->Sub-Task

And in Software Project :

  • Epic->Story->Sub-Task

If you want to create other hierarchy level you can use some add-on like Structure, Portfolio, Links Hierarchy etc.


Hello, Sorry to comment on this old thread. Wanted to confirm that this is still true. So we cannot configure hierarchy levels higher than Epics (as detailed in the below link) using JIRA without installing any of the paid add-ons like Portfolio for JIRA ?


Thanks for the reply. Is there any possible way to create a customize issue type which has same hierarchy levels like an "epic" in JIRA Itself without using any other add-on?

@Robert Leitch [ALM Works] : Thanks alot for you Reply.  I am using Portfolio  plugins for creating Hierarchy levels. The problem I am facing right now is that I am not able to add Epic (by default) in the Level List. Please find the image below.

image2017-3-17 13:35:4.png  


Epic is already in the list, along with Story and Sub-Task.

Portfolio only puts numbers beside custom hierarchy levels, maybe that's causing some confusion?

You should be able to rename them and map them to different issue types:

image2017-3-20 13:3:16.png

image2017-3-20 13:4:7.png

If you're not able to edit those fields, then there's probably a permissions problem.

I don't think it would be a good idea to remap the Epic-Story-SubTask part.

If you definitely want to use Portfolio but can't use the prescribed configuration because it doesn't match your real-life processes, my recommendation would be to contact an Atlassian Expert (these are accredited partners of Atlassian) for assistance. It's very possible that you'll save time and money in the long run.

First Expert that comes to mind is cPrime, we work closely with them and I know they specifically offer configuration & setup services.

Robert Leitch [ALM Works] : Thanks alot for the reply. My concern is that I am not able to add "epic" in hierarchy level. I want it to be at level-2, after initiative but I am not able to move it. Thus when I am creating an issue on board >>> epic, I can't connect it with the initiative as a parent link (As I can't see the previously created "Initiative" in the "Parent Link" list). Please find the image below.

image2017-3-20 9:40:50.png

Okay, when you click on the Parent Link dropdown, does it offer you a list of issues with issuetype 'Initiative', or is it empty? It should look something like this:


image2017-3-20 17:5:47.png

Robert Leitch [ALM Works] : Unfortunately No. Thats my major concern. I want to see that in the parent list as you mentioned the issue with issuetypes 'Initiative'. I believe the reason why I can't see is that the epic is not set as level-2 in my hierarchy as I can't move it under Initiative. sad  

Ahh, okay... I don't see any problem with your Portfolio hierarchy - in the screenshot you shared, Epics are correctly positioned underneath Initiatives. I think I might know what's wrong (famous last words though...)

Try this:

  1. Go into your Portfolio plan
  2. Switch the hierarchy view to Initiative and create a new initiative:
     image2017-3-20 17:27:1.png
  3. Now switch to Epic view and create a new Epic
  4. Click on your new Epic to open it in the right panel and see if you can now select the parent Initiative in the dropdown there:
    image2017-3-20 17:29:34.png 



Robert Leitch [ALM Works] : Thanks for this step. I tried it already but I am wondering why I can't see "Initiative" here.  Please find the image below : 

image2017-3-20 10:46:2.png

Sorry, I was looking at the wrong screenshot (my own) before.

Your Portfolio hierarchy is not right. You need to remove levels 2 and 3 so that epics come right under initiatives.

image2017-3-20 18:2:15.png

Then it will look like this and everything should work fine:

image2017-3-20 18:5:41.png

These will be your four levels.

It might make sense to rename your 'Epic Level-1' to avoid confusion with the default Epic level.

Robert Leitch [ALM Works] : Perfect !! Thanks alot for your time. I really appreciate. It is working now in the way that I wanted to do. I want to clarify one thing , will this hierarchy make changes in all the projects ? If so can I define different Hierarchy levels for different projects?

Glad to help Aarti, sorry it took me a while to spot the obvious problem.

Portfolio hierarchy is defined by issue types and is global for all Portfolio plans.

The hierarchy is not applied to projects in any way as far as I am aware.

JIRA requires that Sub-Tasks must be in the same project as their parent issues, but Stories, Epics, Initiatives, Themes, etc. can all be in different projects. They just have to be of the correct issue type for their level in the Portfolio hierarchy.

This documentation page might help to clarify - Configuring initiatives and other hierarchy levels.

In short - no, you can't define different hierarchies for different projects, nor can you explicitly map levels to projects. In Portfolio, level = issue type.

Update: I added some Portfolio tags to your original question to grab the attention of the Portfolio team, hopefully someone will be able to correct me if I'm mistaken in my explanation.

Robert Leitch [ALM Works] : Thank you so much. Sorry, one last thing, is it somehow possible to create an issue "story" and add it parent link as "epic level-1"  not the "epic". ? Please find the image below:

image2017-3-20 13:56:15.png

e.g. I want to create a story and want to directly attach it with "Epic level-1" means in the parent link options, will it possible to see "initiatives" instead of "epic". 

No, that's not possible.

Robert Leitch [ALM Works] : Thanks alot for all your help .

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