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How do I get Portfolio to respect the existing hierarchy of issues?

Dale Cieslak July 6, 2017

Before using Portfolio, we created a "master" project and linked all of our other projects to it.  For example, the MASTER-1 feature has Issue Link (is parent of) to the different parts:

MASTER-1  This is a feature

"is parent of" -> DES-1   Design for MASTER-1

"is parent of" -> CLI-2   Frontend work for MASTER-1

"is parent of" -> BACK-3  Backend work for MASTER-1

We thought Portfolio would be a great way to visualize all of the dependencies in one place, but when creating a plan, MASTER-1 has no child issues in the Scope view.  I can manually recreate those issue links, but we have LOTS of issues so that would be a real pain.  Is there any way to get Portfolio to automatically show the children?   Even if I set MASTER-1 to be at the "Epic" hierarchy level, the children only show up for true Epics.   I kind of feel cheated if this doesn't work...what's the point of being able to define the hierarchy if it doesn't respect what's already there?

I'm also kind of surprised no one else seems to be having this problem.  Thoughts?





2 answers

0 votes
Igor Sereda [ALM Works]
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August 23, 2017

Hi Dale,

I think Structure add-on may help here a little bit. Structure integrates with Portfolio (supports the Parent Link custom field) and can build hierarchies both from issue links and/or from Portfolio links. 

I apologize for shameless plug under the Portfolio topic, but I understand that the problem is not currently solvable by Portfolio. And you may need to use Structure just once to mass-move issue links to a Portfolio plan or vice versa, without the need to purchase a license.

So the way I see it could work is by using Structure's automation feature, which constructs hierarchies based on rules. For example, one can define an "extend" rule based on "is parent of" link to place children under respective parents. The rule can be bidirectional – so if you make updates to the hierarchy in Structure, the corresponding links are created or deleted.

The same works for hierarchy built from "Parent Link" relationship. So my thoughts were that we can build a hierarchy out of links in one structure, define another structure with Parent Link, and manually copy/paste the whole tree from one structure to another. Or maybe one would need to copy a selection of Epics and place it under initiatives.

Let me know if you'd like to explore this variant and I can try to record more detailed instructions for this case.

Kind regards,

0 votes
Deleted user July 13, 2017

You need to configure Portfolio (not just the plan) to use the hierarchy you want.  Directions are here (note that you need to be a Portfolio admin):  https://confluence.atlassian.com/jiraportfolioserver/configuring-initiatives-and-other-hierarchy-levels-802170489.html

Dale Cieslak July 18, 2017

Thanks, Steven.  I am a Portfolio admin, and I did that before I asked the question.  Portfolio correctly displays my "MASTER" issues as Epics, but all of the child issues show as "Issues without parent Epics" which doesn't respect the "is child of" / "is parent of" links from Jira.  I really don't want to recreate the relationships manually given the size of our Jira projects. 

Deleted user July 18, 2017

OK, two questions.

  1. What type of issues are MASTER-1, DES-1, CLI-1, and BACK-3?  Are they all Epics, or mix of Epics and Stories?  Something else?
  2. Are you relying on this specific type of issue link "is child of"/"is parent of" when linking those issues?
Dale Cieslak July 18, 2017

1. None of them are actual Epics in terms of Jira issue types. They're all Stories/Tasks/Bugs/Custom issue types (that is, non-Sub Tasks).  In Portfolio's hierarchy, the issues I want to be the parents are defined as "Epics", while the others are defined as "Stories".  

2. Yes.  If Portfolio cannot distinguish between link types, I wish it would at least ask something like, "I see all these linked issues, want to make them children?" 


Deleted user July 18, 2017

So how's your Portfolio Hierarchy Configuration configured exactly?  Can you post a screenshot that shows the Level Name and JIRA Issue Types columns from that screen in the admin?

Dale Cieslak July 18, 2017

The orange and blue icons are the custom issue types that I want to behave as Epics, and everything else falls into the natural hierarachy:Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 2.27.22 PM.png

Deleted user July 18, 2017

Yea that's why it doesn't display them as you want them.  The hierarchy you see here is what Portfolio uses in the tree view, it doesn't use issue linking in that way.

I would follow the steps in the link from my first comment under the "How to add the initiative level cross-project" section, using the MASTER project as the one to store initiatives.  You can then use MASTER-1 as the Initiative and assign the individual issues under it.  When you select an Initiative in the Epic view, that should filter down to all of the issues under that Epic (or in your case those two custom issue types).  So CustomIssueType-1 has Story1, Story2, and Story3.  If you select MASTER-1 as the Initiative for CustomIssueType-1, it will apply MASTER-1 to Story1, Story2, and Story3 as well.

Know it's not exactly what you were looking for, but should make your plan look the way you want it to.

Dale Cieslak July 18, 2017

Sorry, I don't think I'm describing the problem correctly.  

This hierarchy works fine in the tree view (i.e. the custom issue types are displayed at Epic level, which is where I want them).  I don't want these at the Initiative level, just the Epic level.  

The two custom issue types are in a separate MASTER project.  There are no other issue types in that project; it's essentially the "Initiative" project as in the link you sent.  

In the tree view, in Portfolio, I *can* create child issues, and they display properly (MASTER is FLP in the image here).

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 2.58.51 PM.png

However, what I thought Portfolio would allow me to do is to add a project to the plan, with the hierarchy defined (via the Portfolio admin, and Jira issue links), and Portfolio would recognize the hierachy and display it.  It doesn't.  

Deleted user July 19, 2017

It does, just not in the way you are doing it via issue linking. It reflects the Epic/Story/Subtask hierarchy that you see in JIRA Software on Agile boards.

It does not, as far as I know, reflect "is parent of/is child of" issue linking.

Try committing one of those issues (Design stuff or Engineer stuff), it will create the issue in JIRA Software.  Open that issue in JIRA Software, are there any issue links there?  What is visible on the issue detail screen that shows it is under FLP-105?

Dale Cieslak July 19, 2017

Yeah, I thought(hoped?) the power of being able to specify your own hierarchy was to break free from the limits of Epic/Story/Subtask.  

The links in Portfolio unfortunately use a Custom Field (I believe it's called "Parent Link") that is only available in detail view if you have Portfolio installed...so if you uninstall Portfolio at any point you'll likely lose any hierarchy you set up.  


Unfortunately, you've confirmed my suspicions that this is a limitation of Portfolio, and there's no way to do what I thought was possible. :( 

lukasz balcz
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August 18, 2017

I am having the exact same problem.  I want to show issue types that are of higher hierarchy than epic (we have two levels in JIRA "above" epic that are connected via jira links). I keep on getting Issues without parent XXX. The issues are nowhere to be found also when creating a plan via wizard. I have to note that epic level and below work just fine.

Even though I have created a custom hierarchy in Portfolio settings I just can't get this to work. Looks like portfolio would greatly benefit from the ability to specify link types used between issues.

@Dale Cieslak did you manage to find a solution? I am currently evaluating portfolio for our corporation and this looks like a massive implementation blocker.

Dale Cieslak August 22, 2017

@lukasz balcz No solution.  Portfolio uses its own linking mechanism (via the Parent Link field) and doesn't do anything with standard JIRA Issue Links. 

As I said in my original post that I'm really surprised this isn't more of a prevalent issue...no one wants to re-link hundreds of issues by hand, right?  

I filed this as https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/JPOSERVER-1974 

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