Come for the products,
stay for the community

The Atlassian Community can help you and your team get more value out of Atlassian products and practices.

Atlassian Community about banner
Community Members
Community Events
Community Groups

Issue hierarchy - epics, features, stories, tasks, sub-tasks - how to?

Trying to figure how to configure Jira so that my hierarchy is Epics, Features, Stories, Tasks, Sub-Tasks.  Just joined a new organization and it's currently set to Epics, Stories, Sub-Tasks.

Looking into Jira it looks like I can add a feature issue type, but I don't know that I can configure it to have the child relationships story, task, sub-task.  

Does Jira allow for this level of flexibility and configuration?

I understand there might be some debate that epic=feature.  Just wanting to know if I can actually configure in this manner.



5 answers

1 vote

Hello @Dennis Berkemeier

Jira allows you to create new issue types and configure how they are linked, but it won't be possible to view this hierarchy without Advanced Roadmaps or a third-party app in the Atlassian Marketplace, as Nic mentioned. 

I'm part of the team working on the app, Structure – Flexible Jira Project Management. It lets you visualize default parent-child relationships in Jira (like epic > story > sub-task), but also any other issue links between stories, tasks, and other issue types (like the one you described). 

Structure then lets you to add any Jira field as a column, so that pull all your work together in one spreadsheet-like view (for reporting, sprint planning, backlog grooming, etc.). From here, you can also sum up values in any column that contains numeric values, like Story Points and Estimates, and build as many "structures" as your teams need. 

Here's Structure in action with a 5-level hierarchy that uses a "Linked Items" rule. Hope this helps! 




1 vote

Thanks for the input everyone.  

In this organization they are using epics to equate to a project, which to me is not correct.  Epics on their own do not equal a project, they are content within a project.  It can also be that only pieces of an epic are contained in one project.

The missing piece here is an actual project management tool that has a container with all of the information about the project - financials, RAID, etc.  I'm hoping confluence may get us there, but I haven't seen enough of it.

I've always worked with that model.  A project has a body of work, this could be something that you roll up into an epic for project but an epic itself is not a project.  

Are we trying to force things by calling an epic a project, is that part of the problem?  

Well, you could equate Epics with projects, but it's not what they are intended for.

Epics are supposed to represent a large piece of work that you are breaking down into little bits or manageable work (stories, but in Jira, use any issue type you want).  These stories might need to be done by different teams, or held in different Jira projects.

Jira projects are containers for issues that need to be handled and reported on in similar ways, usually because they represent work for a team, on a system, or in an actual operational project.

You've said you want a container for financials, RAID erc, which sounds very much like an operational project to me.  Not an Epic - the Epic is not a place to try to manage any of that, an Epic is to show (potentially cross project) groupings.

So, yes, you're absolutely right, Epics are not projects

0 votes
Rahul_RVS_Support Marketplace Partner Sep 20, 2022

Hi @Dennis Berkemeier 

You can use issue links to create your own hierarchy above and below Epics or in fact at any level.

To visualize the hierarchy based on the issue links, we have created an app to track the progress at each level,

Issue Hierarchy Reports 

Key features of Links Hierarchy:

  • Hierarchy upto 10 levels deep
  • Progress % on "remaining estimate" or "original estimates"
  • Edit Issue summary, time estimates, story points and assignee on the tree with real time updates in the progress
  • Rolled up percentage completion at all levels
  • Ability to add/remove the columns on the report
  • Group By Ability to get more out of the data

Links HIerarchy.PNG

Hi @Dennis Berkemeier

if you're open to solutions from the Atlassian Marketplace, here's another app that you might like: JXL for Jira.

JXL is a full-fledged spreadsheet/table view for your issues that allows you viewing, inline-editing, sorting and filtering by all your issue fields. It also comes with advanced features such as support for issue hierarchies, issue grouping, sum-ups, and conditional formatting.

For issue hierarchies, JXL allows you to use any combination of built-in parent child relationships and "custom" parent-child relationships, based on issue links.

This is how JXL looks in action for a 5-level hierarchy:


You probably know that you can trial any app for free for 1 month, so if an app is an option for you, I recommend trying out a few and choosing the one that works best for you.

Disclaimer: I work on JXL.

Hope this helps,



0 votes

The only actual hierarchy is "Issue Type" and subTasks.


There some other "virtual" hierarchy from Epics to Story.


Topically the Epic is the highest hierarchy and it represents the "Feature" that needs to be accomplish by some story/s and might have any sub tasks or related issue type.




Jira Software gives us Epics, Advanced Roadmaps give us layers above Epics, and the ability to define them (and rename Epics to Features) - go to Admin -> Issue Hierarchy to define the one you need.

There are also apps that can do something similar, but use the AR hierarchy even if you do use an app.

Suggest an answer

Log in or Sign up to answer
Site Admin

Atlassian Community Events