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Why aren't parent links being recognized in Portfolio?

Andrew Pirkola Apr 25, 2017

I'm currently evaluating JIRA Portfolio and have run into an odd snag. For some reason, Portfolio isn't recognizing parent links.

We already had the "Initiative" issue type and were using an issue picker add-on to group epics together. To reflect this setup, I added the initiative hierarchy level in portfolio.

As expected, the epics in a newly made plan said they were"Without Parent Initiative". I simply opened each one and set its Initiative to match what we had in the seperate field. I committed the changes, and then all of the epics went back into "Without Parent Initiative". Sure enough, the "Initiative" field had reverted back to being blank on all of the issues.

As a second test, I added the "Parent Link" field to the UI of our epics. I went through a bunch of them and added the link to the appropriate initiative. I went back into portfolio, and still, those items are reported as being "Without Parent Initiative". If I open the issue, the "Parent Link" is still populated. In Portfolio, the "Initiative" field is still blank for all of them.

As a third test, I went into Portfolio and added the "Initiative" link on several epics on which I had already set the parent link from the issue. The value I set in Portfolio overwrote what was on the issue, but within the portfolio the epic still remained in the "Without Parent Initiative" group and the link was blank once again within portfolio.

No matter what I do, the epics will not move to their parent within Portfolio.


I'm not sure if it matters, but for our setup we have 2 different types of projects. One that just contains Initiatives and another that contains, Epics, Stories, etc. Thus, epics and initiatives are never in the same project (epics always belonging to a delivery team and initiatives belonging to a business unit).

I'm assuming that I'm doing something wrong or have an odd configuration somewhere, but I cannot figure out what is amiss.

What criteria need to be satisfied for portfolio to recognize the parent link?

2 answers

0 votes
Andrew Pirkola Apr 27, 2017

After getting some direct support from Atlassian I learned that the hierarchy above Epics only works if your Plan is made with "Projects" and not with Filters or Boards.

The solution was to simply always pick all of the projects that might be involved, and either

(1) be very selective about what's included in the plan in the first place

(2) exclude generously after the plan is made


Fortunately, since only one project contains the relevant features for us, pretty much every epic without a feature could be excluded, so the process is pretty painless.

Liz Pat Jan 24, 2019

We have set up planning boards already - many benefits (from Portfolio Training). I cannot see any hierarchy above Epic. As a test I tried with Filter and Project as well as Board, for issue source. The hierarchy remains firmly and completely invisible. As the other post says, we keep the higher-level issues in a separate project, but all Epics are linked to one of them. 

Ideas for a resolution? 

Liz Pat Jan 31, 2019

My issue was a bit different. We had to tweak some project settings and then was able to import the Project where the hierarchy issues live. Everything is now as expected in my Portfolio Plan. 

Hi Andrew,


In our experience, parent/child relationships can only established for issues in the same project within JIRA Portfolio.

An exception is the issue type Epic, because it's the only type for which cross-project parent/child relationships can be established.




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