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Epic ranking in Portfolio 2.0

Hi guys

I've gotten my hands on a test installation of the new Portfolio 2.0 - exciting stuff!

Among other things I'm happy to see that the synchronization now supports issue ranking.

I've experimented with creating epics and adding stories to them. Whenever I change ranking on the stories in JIRA the rank changes accordingly in Portfolio, and vice versa. So far, so good.

On epics it's another thing, though.

Whenever I re-rank an epic, the resulting synchronization doesn't seem to happen correctly. E.g. if I "top rank" an epic in Portfolio, it doesn't get top rank in JIRA, neither in the epics panel in planning mode nor in my "epic kanban board" (which I created for testing purposes) This apparent error also happens when changing epic rank in JIRA.

The epic ranking usually does change in one system when I change it in the other, but not to match the order in the system where the original change took changes to an order which does not make immediate sense to me...

NOTE: The story ranking is always correct when I rerank an epic - e.g. if I move an epic to top rank in Portfolio, the epic's stories get moved to the top of the JIRA backlog (but the epic itself does not get moved to top rank)

Am I using the system in a way unintended?

I assumed that if I changed the rank of an epic, all of its children would be reranked accordingly (which they do), as well as the epic itself (which it doesn't) - but maybe I'm wrong.

I'd be happy to provide more information if it helps clear things up.

If I'm using Portfolio wrong I'd love some hints as to recommended use regarding the handling of epic ranking smile


Erik Lassen




4 answers

5 votes
Rhys Christian
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Jun 19, 2016
Hey Erik,

The rank from Portfolio should generally be represented on the JIRA board, however there are some differences in epic rank behaviour between Portfolio and JIRA which can cause epics to be inconsistent. This is because the rank of epics in JIRA are independent to the rank of stories whereas in Portfolio the rank of stories and epics directly impact each other.
The main contributors to inconsistent rank behaviour between JIRA & Portfolio are:
  • In Portfolio the highest ranking child issue of an epic determines that epic’s rank relative to other epics.
  • In Portfolio re-ranking the epic also bulk re-ranks all the child stories.
We recognise that this isn't optimal behaviour but it’s a necessary trade-off for the intended use of Portfolio and the integration with JIRA.

Hi @Rhys Christian, thanks for answering.

When the team creates new Stories for a top Ranked Epic, that Epic appears in Portfolio 2.0 on the bottom of the list. 

Because of this a Top Ranked Epic in Portfolio gets a new start date on the plan, which is on the final of the plan, but it should be on the beginning of the plan.

What could I do to avoid this? 

Rhys Christian
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Aug 22, 2016

Hey @Jean Luchtenberg,

That's a good point. This occurs when an issue is created in JIRA for an epic that has no issues. The story is created and ranked at the bottom of the JIRA backlog. Because that story is the epic's highest ranked child item the entire epic is moved to the bottom.

We don't have a good answer for this right now. I can offer a couple of workarounds but they would not be optimal:

  • Have the team create the child stories (or at least the first one for the epic) in your Portfolio plan using the inline create. The epic rank will remain unchanged after the story is created & committed.
  • Create at least one story for each empty epic in Portfolio (and commit) so when your team creates additional child stories in JIRA the Epic rank won't change.

Please let me know if these options work or don't work for you.


Hello @Rhys Christian thanks again for answering,

I understood how it works. I'm going to talk to the Product Owners and we'll see if we could start doing one of these workarounds.

I'll let you know if we have some good news.


Like Amy J Luckette likes this

Hi @Rhys Christian, is this issue still at large? I'm currently having a devil of a time trying to rank my initiatives, which i would have thought would in turn rerank all it's related epics, and in turn rerank all of those epic's stories. It appears not to be the case, and makes prioritising items in portfolio pretty much useless, unless i'm not understanding something here.

I've even got new stories being created, that don't have epics, being scheduled before some initiatives!

Similar use case here: we're trying to rank epics, but the priority order/rank of the epics is inconsistent between Portfolio and rest of JIRA. When we re-order the epics in Portfolio, it sometimes reflects properly in the rest of JIRA, but many times it does not. It makes it very hard to trust the ranking.

EDIT: After a bit of searching, I found an issue that describes our problem exactly:

I don't like that suggestion that gets proposed, as a result of JPO-1387... instead, as i commented,

I'd prefer a button that just enforced the hierarchy, from Initiative, Epic, Story, all the way through... and just pushed the rank i've already defined in portfolio, into JIRA. I don't want to be juggling ranks between two products - have a single source of truth, and that should be managed in portfolio.

Why doesn't portfolio just respect my wishes argh!

Like lori likes this

Is there a fix for this yet-- MY POs team are not very happy when their Epic ranking is change all the time..

Like lori likes this

@Rhys Christian what do you mean by "after the story is created & committed." Can you please give me an example- this issue is very frustrating for us.

Agree with the others here. This looks like a half baked integration. We are wasting a lot of time trying to figure out where the epic went and then reprioritise it again. When we use portfolio, we are treating that as the primary tool for release planning(including prioritisation) and JIRA for scrum. So it is better to respect portfolio prioritisation in JIRA and not override it.

I'm seeing the same issue with Portfolio.


One of our other teams is using Structure for prioritization.  Does Structure do this properly?  *sigh*

I have the same killing issue as you @Christopher Krause. It's really annoying and breaking my nerves.

we are trying to adopt this tool for months now, but still we have no hands on the schedule and the way it's done !!!! :(

FYI i've given up on using portfolio for scheduling. I use it as a backlog management tool but its terrible for scheduling. 


I use SAFE and a socially intensive method of scheduling now. Works much better.

Like lori likes this

I am trying to do the same thing as @Aaron Steinmetz - it seems like this is a fundamental limitation of portfolio or its such terrible UX that I have spent hours trying to figure it out and can't resolve. 


I want to set the overall schedule priority of my portfolio backlog by initative, then I expect the schedule to be built based off of this priority.


In other words, I expect initative 1 of 5 to be scheduled first, followed by initative 2 of 5, and the epics under those initatives to be sequenced accordingly. 


Instead it seems that the epic rank is somehow influencing how the schedule is built. 


I don't want JIRA portfolio to modify the priority on jira, or effect any team backlogs, I just want to have control over the sequencing of the schedule. How do you do this? 

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