Can we have an updated answer on how do you manage/visualize dependencies in Jira, Portfolio ...

We are fully adopting Agile and implemented Scrum as framework.

We are currently evaluating what Jira basic implementation and Portfolio for Jira plug-in can and can't do with regards to planning, project definition and tracking as we are going through our 2018 planning exercise.

One concern which was raised is regarding dependencies between user stories and how can you define this in Jira/Portfolio but most importantly how can you visualise these in a global view, take them in consideration while forward planning and trying various scenario and track/manage them as you execute.

We already know we can define links between user stories in Jira with various types and can specify in Portfolio which of these links we want to use as dependencies for a planning point of view and program tracking point of view.

But what option do you have to visualise them either in Jira and/or Portfolio with out having to open every story to figure out if this has any link defined; is that a matter of a JQL query pulling your user stories hierarchy including this dependencies links? Or is there aso handy plug-ins that just gives you this in a configurable way?

We know that in Agile we should work on minimising dependencies alltogether by organising teams and organisations for that matter. We are and will use Scrum of Scrum to discuss and manage these dependencies as collaboration opportunities between Scrum Teams. But in order to discuss about something, you need to know what this is and capture and visualise it in a global view manner. 

Thanks in advance for your help.

3 answers

First off, make sure you are using the blocks/is blocked by issue link in JIRA Software if that is where the bulk of dependency management is done.  You can do the same thing in Portfolio via Add Dependency, but when you commit it into JIRA Software it just creates that issue link.

As far as visualizing, it's not as great.  In the Timeline view, you'll notice issues that have the blocks or is blocked by issue link have a spot on the very left or very right side of the bar that is in a lighter color.  That signifies there is a dependency, if it's on the right it means it blocks something, if it's on the left it's blocked by something.  It's kind of hard to see especially on smaller and older screens.


If you click on any of those issues, it will highlight the dependencies in your timeline.

Thanks for the reply first of all ;) Ok that's what I though it was working like. DO you suggest any plug-in whic could complete Portfolio with the visualisation gap?

And I guess the question is, is there any plan for Atlassian to improve this important aspect of Program/Release Planning? Things like traceability matrix are great tools to identify where the dependencies are for example. Or would a good JQL query just report on the same and output could be represented into Excel whaever way we want ??? .... I didn't try this.

What are you trying to visualize exactly?  If you want a list you'll have to do an export from the JQL search page of all fields and spend time cleaning up the spreadsheet from the csv file.  If you're just wanting to see whether or not a certain issue is dependent, the current Timeline visual should suffice.  Note that when planning it will not let you scheduled an issue dependent on another issue before it, so there's that level of dependency management as well.

Thanks Steven ;) Yes I guess I would be looking for a view/report ... something like a treacibility matrix showing me a summary of all depenedencies in my program between user stories ... a hierarchy list feature/epics/user stories/dependencies listed wthout having to open any story to figure out what it is dependent on would be sufficient. I know there is plug-in like Links Hierarchy for Jira & Agile just doing this but I was wondering if we could get something similar in Portfolio and/or Jira even involving a JQL query to pull a similar hierarchy list.

This would be useful when tracking the projects/program so you know what to monitor and where to organise Scrum of Scrum, or even try to minimise the risk associated to the dependecy without having a separate document to track these. A one glance summary one way or the other is what I am looking for.

1 vote
Bree Davies Atlassian Team Sep 12, 2017

Hi Stephane and Steven, 

Bree here - I'm a PM for Portfolio for Jira. We've just released the new Dependencies Report, which will hopefully help with some of the dependency visualisation / management issues you've mentioned above. 

It allows you to see all the issues in your plan which have a dependent connection between them, so you can manage the risk associated with your plan. If you have a few teams all in the same plan, you can see all these issues in a single view. 

Additionally, on the Cloud side, we've now included the dependent issue keys within the schedule hover card. 

You can find more info on the Dependency Report in our docs here

Looking forward to hearing your feedback!

Hi @Bree Davies, I tried briefly to use the dependency report after creating a plan in test.  It looked like I would have to actually make a change in the portfolio plan before I could see this report. Maybe as a work around  we have to make a minor change to use the report? Do you have any prerequisite / guide lines to enable this report from Portfolio please? Thanks in advance for your help.

Bree Davies Atlassian Team Oct 03, 2017

Hi there!

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'make a change in the portfolio plan'. Are you able to explain? Are you not seeing it as available yet in your report drop-down?


This actually works for me now thanks; I didn't have to do something specific other than include in my Portfolio depend items so that the report would have something to ... report.

Bree Davies Atlassian Team Oct 05, 2017

Hi Stephane, 

Correct - you will need to have set dependencies between issues within your plan, and for these dependencies to be included in your schedule, in order for them to be reflected within the Dependencies Report. 

Looking forward to hearing your feedback on the report!


Suggest an answer

Log in or Sign up to answer
Community showcase
Published Jan 08, 2019 in Jira

How to Jira for designers

I’m a designer on the Jira team. For a long time, I’ve fielded questions from other designers about how they should be using Jira Software with their design team. I’ve also heard feedback from other ...

1,091 views 4 9
Read article

Atlassian User Groups

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find a group

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find my local user group

Unfortunately there are no AUG chapters near you at the moment.

Start an AUG

You're one step closer to meeting fellow Atlassian users at your local meet up. Learn more about AUGs

Groups near you