Only top Swimlane showing

Hi, so I'm in trial mode and considering using atlassian for our ticketing/kanban management etc. and I am setting up a project but have now hit 3x hours trying to solve this one issue, and realise it's time I ask. 

So I have configured multiple swimlanes in the project configuration settings but I cannot for the life of me work out how to assign an issue to a different swimlane. The only swimlane that shows up by default is the one at the top of the list. 

On that same point...I added a 'Blocked' column to the configuration of the project board and this doesn't show up in kanban view either. I can't help but think that these settings are not being transferred over for some reason.

Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance.


1 answer


Do you have issues which should appear under these swimlane filters? In JIRA, many times things will not show up if they have nothing to show in them. In JIRA Agile this is no different. If your query is pointing to, say, assigned=Robot and Robot doesn't have any issues assigned to them, the swim lane will not show up.

This will be the same for fields on the "View" screens. If the field does not have a value, JIRA will not display that field.

Thanks Andrew but the question is how do I assign an issue to one of these swimlanes? They all just auto fall under the one that auto shows up.

I'm afraid I'm not a developer, (and keep finding ticketing systems that have UI that is aimed at developers), so I'm afraid the explanation needs to be a little more laymans speak. 

When you say 'View' screens I'm assuming you mean the column views but how can I assign a ticket to those if I have no way of dragging it to that column because it doesn't show up?

Although I'm not a web developer, I do strive for logical and obvious UI every day for all sizes of digital project, and this UI and logic baffles me???

I'll admit, it does take a little getting used to on the configuration-side :). May I ask what your Swimlanes are set up to do? Under configuration when you view your board > Swimlanes what are you using to actually pull issues (tickets, what you create in JIRA) into this swimlane? Here there are generally a few options: 1. JQL Queries. These can define your search in great detail, allowing you to search based on things as broad as issue types to as granular to a custom field you yourself create and define 2. Assignees - this will create a swim lane for each issue that shows up on your board based on assignee 3. Stories - these are actual issuetypes (generally issuetypes describe what the issue will contain. A bug will be a bug, a task will be something you need to do, a story will be part of a bigger project called an Epic) and what falls under them. If you can answer me that I can give you a better idea of how to see some more results!

This question went on unnoticed for 4 years.  I think an answer is way overdue because I get this question A LOT.  Let me try my best to explain...


For those that don't know, JIRA uses JQL, which is an extension for Java that provides support for querying collections of objects.  This means that it is creating data tables based on field input that users can query from.  Think of it like an Excel Spreadsheet with an easy button.  You just gotta understand the lingo and, for those who haven't used JIRA before, an exploratory state of mind.  Anyone can figure this out over a small duration of time.


But, if you're here for a quick crash course on the topic above, lets start.... 


Starting with the basics:

1. Epics - On a Kanban Board, creating these allow you to essentially group your enhancements, bugs, tasks, and whatever else you've enabled your account to utilize under 'issuetype' ("Issue Type").  When you create a new epic, be very broad.  Instead of naming it "FakeDevelopment 1.4 make OK button", simply call it "FakeDevelopment 1.4" and create a separate task 'issuetype' ticket for making that OK button.  Keep it broad, keep it topical.  Understanding this fact will help with the example I'll show here in just a minute.


2. Swimlanes - These are NOT columns on your Kanban, think of them as your rows.  This is because your columns are meant to show progress.  When was the last time you visualized progress vertically?  Probably about never, so this is a good way to think about it.  You can filter these in the top right drop down 'Board' menu by select 'Configure' and navigating to the swimlanes menu item in the left pane of the interface.  This will display a list and three fields at the top: Name, JQL, and Description.  Forget the latter for now, it's highly unlikely you know what you're doing if you've found yourself on this page, so I doubt your queries are so ridiculously complex that you have to input a description.  It's not required anyway.

Moving on.. Whatever you input in the Name field will be what is displayed on your Kanban page.  The JQL is where the magic happens, so this is where you want to pay attention.  First and foremost, don't be discouraged if you don't know JQL; JIRA is super user-friendly.  If you start typing, JIRA will begin to detect your input, and provide a list of available options. 



You want to filter a swimlane by association of issues (enhancements, bugs, blah blah blah...) to a specific epic.  *Note, this is a terrible use of the feature, but lets keep it simple...*

Our newly created 'Epic Name' is "Candy Bars" in this instance. In the Name field, we'll input "Candy Bars" (no quotes required).  In the JQL bar type "Epic" and you'll see a list of options come up.  For this example, select "Epic Link".  Immediately a new selection of options pop up for a follow on piece of the query.  These are called selectors.  We want our "Epic Link" to match the string we've given our "Epic Name" (equals), so we select " = ".  Now our query so far reads: "Epic Link" = .  So now, all we have to do is give the name we called our epic, REMEMBERING our quotes.  Start typing "Candy Bars", and it will pop up as an option even before you've finished typing.  Now you should have in your JQL box: "Epic Link" = "Candy Bars". 

NOTE- IF YOU HAVE NOT CREATED AN EPIC WITH THAT EXACT EPIC NAME, IT WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO CONTINUE, OR GIVE YOU YOUR OPTION.  Otherwise, that would be like asking for the usual in a restaurant you've never visited before and no one knows who the hell you are.

Now we need a Boolean to make sure that your only getting issues, and not the epic you created, because that could get confusing fast.  So we will use AND to get us there.  To reduce this post size, I'll simply give you the answer here as you'll have to start learning the field names to get anywhere anyway.  We want to have this swimlane display only the issues, not the epic.  So we'll input this into the JQL box: "Epic Link" = "Candy Bars" AND issuetype != Epic     (*!= means does not equal)

Once created, you can go back to your kanban board.  "But Oh No's", you say, "I don't see my newly created swimlane."   Fear not my learning friend, that's ok.  This is simply because you haven't created any issues in the epic to display.  Simply create a new ticket and in the field 'Epic Link' type your epic's name, and make sure that your issue type is something other than an epic, as you can't link epics together.  Make it a bug as that's an easy one to remember and select for the purposes of this exercise.  When you return to your kanban page, you will now have an issue in your newly decorated swimlane.  Enjoy



I hope that somehow this has been helpful.  I am not a JIRA expert, just a power user who has a pretty good feel for it.  Contact Atlassian for better resources if you're still struggling.  Best of luck!



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