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What is the difference between standard issue type and sub-task issue type

Kimi Nakashima October 24, 2019

I'm a Jira newbie and playing around in our test project to learn. When I went to create a new issue type I noticed that in addition to Name and Description you get a choice of type; standard issue type and sub-task issue type. I couldn't find much in the documentation or in the community about the differences between the 2 types of issue types and when you should use them.

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Stephen Crandell
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October 24, 2019

The difference between the two is related to the size of work being done and the relationship the issue type will have to other issues. Stand issue types defines a unit of work, whether that be a task, story, epic, bug, etc. A sub-task issue type is a defined as just a piece of a larger unit of work. For example, say you have a story to develop an engine, the overall goal is create a working engine. However, there are many pieces to any working engine. You could have individual subtasks to develop the components of the engine like a transmission subtask, alternator subtask, carburetor subtask, etc.

 

The software development world is no different. You could have a Story to develop a new feature for an existing application. To get that feature released you could have individual pieces of the development, deployment, testing, and release as subtasks. Each is a smaller piece of work to a larger overall application.

 

In Jira, subtask have a specific link to a parent (standard issue type). This affects how you create a subtask. In your test project you are playing around with, when you create a new issue, the only options you have are the standard issue types. To be able to create a subtask issue, you MUST have a parent record and create the subtask issue "under" that parent issue. 

Hope this helps!

ChristopherChilds September 26, 2022

Hi @Stephen Crandell and @Deepanshu Natani 

great detailed answers. I am still at a loss about why they are not just a Standard Issue Type which can be created against a Story, a Task or an Epic or any other including custom Issue Types.
There are some special features which I do find annoying because they do not obey the rules of other issue types like they hang around on a sprint board like a bad smell till the parent issue type is closed.

There are a few other issues I have seen where for the average user it causes a little confusion when making configuration or Automation rule changes etc.

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Deepanshu Natani
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October 24, 2019

Hi @Kimi Nakashima

A task is a normal standalone issue type in Jira.

Sub-tasks are tasks that have a parent issue.

In case an issue/ task is too big and complex then the issue/task can be broken down into logical sub-issues known as ‘Sub-tasks’ in Jira. These smaller issues can then be managed more efficiently.

Each sub-task can be worked upon by a separate person, which in turn allows monitoring the progress of the main task in a better way.

Once sub-tasks are created, the main issue is referred to as the parent issue.

In conclusion Task is an independent issue type while a Sub-task needs a parent issue.

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