JIRA - Epic Estimation & Issue links


I am new to JIRA and I have 2 questions about Epic estimation and issue links:

  1. Epic estimation: I created an epic, then I created some issues with estimation inside this epic and the epic estimation changed corresponding. When I create some sub-tasks (of above issues) with estimations, the total estimation of issues increase. However, the total estimation of epic does not change. 

  2. Issue links: What is a real meaning of issue links? I think they just like some "labels". There is no constraint between the linked issues. The issue ISSUE-01 is marked "is blocked by ISSUE-02" can be closed although ISSUE-02 is still in progress.

Did I use JIRA incorrectly?

Thank you in advance.


1 answer

1 accepted

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Accepted answer
  1.  There's a chunk of history we could try to explain here that would show you how we got to this quite inconsistent view, and a further conversation about why it's a bit broken in JIRA and why it can't be easily fixed, but I'll skip that for now because it's not that interesting.  The simple response is that you should be estimating at story/task level, not sub-tasks.  Sub-tasks are just for splitting stories up so you can assign bits of them, they're not for estimates.
  2. They are very different to labels.  A label is a tag that you put on an item to define some membership of a group or indicate a similarity.  A link is a 1:1 relationship between two specific items.  Think of a simple human set of relationships.  I group my family together, and label all of them "my family".  I have a single link to my mum (she's my mum, I'm her son), dad, sister, cousin 1, cousin 2 and cousin 3, etc.  Same label, different links.  The links are singular, the label lets me group them all together.

Hi Nic,

Let discuss more about issue link. I think an issue link is not fully a relationship. If your call a link is a relationship between 2 specific items, there should be constraint between them. For example, the relationship between issue and sub-task. The issue cannot be closed if its sub-tasks are not closed yet. I think this is the "lock - is locked by" constraint of the relationship. while the issue links don't have the constraints like this.

Why does there need to be a constraint?  If an issue has a link to another that says "the issue at the end of this link might tell you something interesting about the current issue", there's no constraint, it's a relationship, shown by a link.

If you need to impose constraints, that's a function of your business logic, not the simple structure of a link.  There's nothing wrong with that idea, but Atlassian have not coded for it because that's not what they use links for.  They've kept them as simple informational links, not tried to build anything on top of them.

You will need to implement logic to suit your usage and cases.  Have a look in the marketplace, there's quite a few add-ons that will use the link information to do things like "you can't progress this issue through the workflow unless all the issues linked to it with <link type> are resolved"

Ok Nic. Thank you for your answer 

@Nic Brough [Adaptavist]. I'm wondering why my time estimation for an Epic is not related to the time estimates I make for tasks that are part of that epic. Would I be correct in understanding that your #1 response applies to this problem, and that we would not expect this behavior to change?

Yes, it's because there's several strategies people might use, and Atlassian have dodged the question of which one to implement by not doing it at all.

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