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Multiple assignees to an issue

The request here is to be able to assign multiple people to one task. 

I am aware that this topic has been discussed and closed before. I understand the argument about individual responsibility ("one throat to throttle"). In the days when Jira was a issue management system that worked well for scrum, this may have been valid. Nowadays Jira is sold as Jira Work Management and has multiple add-ons that try to do "real" project management where the underlying work is documented as Jira issues. 

We have tried to follow this path but failed dismally. Our project is the implementation of a software package for a customer. Implementation includes configuring the software to the customer's business, uploading their data, training their users. We use a project management add-on called BigPicture.

The config tasks can be documented as Jira issues and managed in sprints. They are also visible in the project plan in BigPicture.

Other tasks such as training with 10 users, project review with steering committee, design workshop don't fit in Jira: multiple participants (assignees), no start/end date, no effort estimate. Some of these could be mitigated by custom fields but multiple assignees would be extremely difficult. BigPicture offer not support here because it assumes all "real work" tasks will be in Jira.

Maybe my question should be what kind of work does JWM aspire to manage. If the target scope is more than a scrum dev team, then there seem to be lots of essentials missing.

Sorry for  the long post....thanks to anyone who read to the end :-)

3 answers

@Calogero Kalos Bonasia Hi Calogero, 

maybe you can help me with a related question...

We added the custom field "participants" as a list of names of users involved in the task (Jira issue). I now want to write a JQL filter so that users can see which tasks they are involved in. I need something like "participants contains current_user()". But that doesn't work

Is there another way ?

Best -- Kevin

1 vote

I see you do understand that an issue should only ever have one assignee - the one person ultimately responsible for getting it done.

But it can be very useful to create your data structures to support the inclusion of others.  Having a field with a list of users, or a team or group listed so that people can say "Dave's not around today, go ask their nominees/team/group".

That expands out for things like meetings or training sessions - a field for "Attendees" or "Trainees" solves the problem without making the mess that multiple assignees always does.

One thing that Agile methodologies tend to push you into is not to have an assignee at all, or only use it as intended - "I'm doing this one".  For the others involved, there's a simple rule - a board = a team.  If it's on board A, then then it's assigned to the team that runs their Scrum or Kanban cycles off that board.

Thanks for your response, Nic. 

I'm disappointed you dodged the question about what type of work JWM aspires to manage. Agile also preaches that the product should meet the needs of its customers. Issue assignment capabilities should match the needs or the work being managed. This is the key to understanding the need for a more flexible approach.

As i mentioned before, we do software implementation projects. Whilst i believe these follow agile principles, the scrum methodolgy is only applicable to design/development/test/review/deploy cycle. Data loading and cleansing, user training, status meetings and steering committees etc dont fit. Unsurprisingly they dont exist in any scrum guides either.

There's no "dodging the question" here.

It's the opposite -I've directly answered your question about how you have failed to assign a useful responsibility for getting something done.

It is inarguably wrong to put yourself in a place where someone can say "someone else was doing it".

Every model of (working) work management system demands that you have single ownership.  Never a group.

@Kevin Lee when you drive a passenger car, how many steering wheels are there and how many people are in the driver's seat?
Maybe when questions like this one of multiple issue assignment come in, to me they often come in here from Italian clients, it's clear that the people who ask them don't have the slightest knowledge of what a workflow is nor do they seem to know how business process management works in general. I am available to you or to your clients/referrals, to explain the basic principles of workflows and how to manage a workflow, certainly not by putting 10 steering wheels in a car ...

Hi Calogero

thanks for your quick reply. 

Maybe i did not explain sufficiently.... In the specific case of training 10 users. I agree the trainer is responsible for the delivery. My challenge is to make the participants aware that they need to show up. I may want to do this months in advance so that they can plan vacation business travel etc. Sending an outlook invitation is not really a practical alternative as the plan may change several times before the training takes place and I don't want to keep setting up and cancelling appointments. I'm not trying to be obtuse here -- projects by definition are one-time ventures so it is common that things do not run entirely to plan.

In summary then, my request is not about ownership/responsiblity, it is about participation/involvement. If there was an additional field in Jira "participants" that allowed multiple user IDs, it would probably fulfill my needs. I dont believe the current "watchers" field meets my need.

I hope that helps bridge the gap in understanding.

Like Calogero Kalos Bonasia likes this

@Kevin Lee it is me thanking you for the issue you raised because I repeat it is important. Also I want to make it clear that I am making a general point please don't take what I say as a personal note. Yes I understand what you mean now. Maybe a function i "request participant" of jira service management in short you say would also be useful on jira software ? I would however to handle your case I would either use the watchers field, or you would make a custom user picker type field and enter the users to be involved there. Maybe with an automation rule that sends the email. I take this opportunity to suggest to Atlassian if anyone reads us about Atlassian, to make it free and available on all versions, at least cloud, and with all features unlocked automation for jira which is a great tool to solve many small needs in enterprises.

Like Kevin Lee likes this

Hi Calogero

we have made some changes to Jira/BigPicture to allow is to better manage non-scrum tasks as issues in Jira

1. Added custom field "participants" to Jira issue with username picker. The filtered the picker to current project to prevent our customer-users from seeing other customers. This enables users to see and search which activities they are involved in either in BP Gantt chart or Jira issue. Assignee remains untouched

2. Added start/end date to Jira issues and synchronized this with BP. This works well with changes flowing in both directions.

3. Mapping Jira issue completion status to BP task completion status

4. Effort -- this is not done yet but BP has a percentage completion field with roll-up from tasks to phases. We are thinking to link this to a custom "effort" field in Jira and the time-logging function. Second priority at the moment

I'm sure we will need to add more functions to improve usability. But at least we have the basics in place. Of course it would be nice if BP/Jira had these features out of the box....

Like Calogero Kalos Bonasia likes this

@Kevin Lee OK, good work, but let me point out once again that you are straining the normal functioning of jira and BigPicture as others are also pointing out to you is totally wrong in your approach to the base.

@Calogero Kalos Bonasia Hi Calogero, 

maybe you can help me with a related question...

We added the custom field "participants" as a list of names of users involved in the task (Jira issue). I now want to write a JQL filter so that users can see which tasks they are involved in. I need something like "participants contains current_user()". But that doesn't work

Is there another way ?

Best -- Kevin

Fields that can have multiple selections can be searched with a simple "equals".  It just happens to equal several different values.


participants  = currentUser() 

will do the job, even when you've got several particpants.

Like Calogero Kalos Bonasia likes this

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