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How do we show swim lanes in kanban board even if they are empty?

We have a new workflow where we want the stories to go through design review before and after development. I've added additional swim lanes to outline this process but they will not show on the kanban board without a story being in one of the status. Is there a way to showcase empty swimlanes? This is necessary so team can see new workflow.

2 answers

My hack was to put a template for a blocker issue in the backlog so the blocker swim lane always has at least one ticket, is always visible, and is always easy for the guys in the team to drag their own blocked issues in there, plus have a reference for what comments they *should* add.


It kinda works with this team.

0 votes
Andy Heinzer
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Jan 28, 2020

Hi Lauren,

I understand that you want to be able to see all the potential swimlanes that exist on an Agile/Software board, even if there exist no issues currently in that swimlane.   Natively, I cannot find any way to see the swimlanes on the board unless there exists at least one issue visible to the end user that exists on that board and in that swimlane.

I think I understand why you want to be able to do this.  In some scenarios this could be useful, but I must admit my mind is gravitating towards the other scenarios where this might be overload of less than helpful information in some cases. I did run across another user that previously requested this back in 2013 over in JSWCLOUD-10189. This request those has been closed because there just has not been significant interest in this particular feature for an extended period of time.

From what I have found, the action for Jira Software to hide swimlanes without any issues you can see appears to be by entirely by design.  It seems like the main reason for this is to remove the potential clutter of organizational names that don't actually appear to apply to issues the end user can see right now.  And since agile boards are using JQL filters to determine what issues appear there, each user of that board might see different issues there, even if using the same board filter and quick filters.

So while I don't have a native solution to your problem here, I did find an add-on in Marketplace that I think might be able to help with your use case.  You can check out Simple Agile Boards.  It has the ability for you to create Agile boards that have arbitrary swimlanes, that is to say, swimlanes that are not directly tied to JQL queries/assignees/epic/story/etc.  With this add-on, there can exist empty swimlanes.  So far this seems like the only solution I have found to your reported problem.  Perhaps there are some other add-ons in Marketplace that might be helpful here also, but so far I have not been able to locate them.

I hope this helps.


I want this feature.

I also want this feature. We are using swimlanes to group items by how many weeks ago they were created. 

It is a bit jarring to see a lane for one week ago, a lane for two weeks ago, and then suddenly jump to six weeks ago.

I would like this feature also. Is it possible to reopen this open or should we create a new one?

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