How to sort the backlog by priority high to low

Aryeh Schwob January 5, 2023

I am attempting to have my backlog automated to have highest priority issues at the top of the backlog list and lowest priority item at the bottom.

I have tried creating a quick filter in board settings "project = PMT ORDER BY Priority DESC"

It created a quick filter tab but it doesn't filter as expected.

How can I get that functionality? It is getting challenging to manually sort the backlog as the backlog grows.

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Nic Brough -Adaptavist-
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January 5, 2023

Quick filters are for drilling down into a board, they can not amend the board filter.

You can use your filter as the board filter, but if you do it, you will lose the ability to rank issues in the backlog, because you'll not be using that to sort it any more.

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Trudy Claspill
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January 11, 2023

Hello @Aryeh Schwob 

Ranking is determined by you dragging and dropping issues in the Backlog screen or within the Board columns to reposition the issues within the list. The ones at the top of the list are higher priority than the ones below.

Ranking is set globally. Though you are reordering the issues within a given board, an issue can be included in multiple boards. Jira keeps track of an issues Rank globally.

The value for Rank is set by Jira automatically. It is a hash code that has no meaning when viewed by a person. 

Here are a couple of articles on Ranking:

https://tmcalm.nl/blog/lexorank-jira-ranking-system-explained/

https://www.jirastrategy.com/questions/how-does-jira-issue-ranking-work

Here is a another post that talked about trying to use the Automation for Jira feature to change Rank:

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Marketplace-Apps-Integrations/With-the-Automation-plugin-is-there-a-way-to-set-the-rank-of-an/qaq-p/1087874

An answer on this post lists some possible third party app options:

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Jira-Software-questions/Backlog-Prioritization-In-Issues/qaq-p/2137151?utm_source=atlcomm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=solution_to_question&utm_content=topic

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Benjamin
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January 5, 2023

@Aryeh Schwob ,

 

Unfortunately, This is not possible. The board is sorted by ranking.

 

There is similar post that discuss in further details:

 

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Jira-questions/Sort-Backlog-by-Priority/qaq-p/892456

 

-Ben 

Aryeh Schwob January 9, 2023

@Benjamin Thanks for the response.

What's a good resource to understand ranking, how it works and how to manipulate the ranking to sort per specific criteria?

Nic Brough -Adaptavist-
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January 11, 2023

Ranking is a team thing.  Every issue in a system can be put into an order (mostly "what to consider next"), but the point of a board is that issues are ranked by the team the board represents.

If a team decides an issue should be at the top of the backlog, they move it there.  If they think it should be at the bottom, they move it there.  It's all about relativity and what the team should try to deliver next.

You never have a need to "manipulate the ranking".  The rank is determined by the team who are tasked with doing it.  The team should (I'd say must) include a product owner who has a huge input into that, because they understand the organisation, but also listens to the rest of the team.  There's ***-all point in your PM saying "do X next because it delivers Y", when the reality is that issue Z needs dealing with before X can happen

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Aryeh Schwob January 13, 2023

Thank you @Nic Brough -Adaptavist-  for taking the time to clarify.

TS
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March 13, 2024

I completely cannot see the point why there should be no option to switch between Order by Rank and Order by Prio, especially in the backlog... Most projects and companies I've worked in/with, the PMs are sorting manually after Prio. The PM or product owner sets the Prio on the backlog, the Dev team then is building the sprint with highest rated topics, so it is just annoying not be able to set this sorting.
For sure it is nice when you can do reordering in the current sprint, but then maybe the default should be prio and manually sorting should override it, or rank should be just applied to the sprint not to the backlog or you simply can choose... So just saying "it's not a good feature request your using it wrong" seems to be an easy excuse for just not be willing to implement it! I know many people using their boards this way and asking for that feature!

Nic Brough -Adaptavist-
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March 13, 2024

Welcome to the Atlassian Community!

Yes and no.  I can see a use for toggling an "order by priority" view on and off in the backlog, for helping people compare rank with priorities in one place.

But it's not really of much use.  There are two compound problems with "sort by priority" that make it rather useless in a backlog.

You can't reorder your backlog if you are sorting by priority, partly because the backlog is based on rank, and partly because priority is not a relative value for each individual issue.  You can have multiple issues of the same priority.  What order should they be in, in the backlog?

The best you could do is "order by priority, rank", which, with some convoluted code, you could probably allow ranking within a priority, but that's going to make a total mess of your backlog.

I find trying to toggle between views rather cumbersome.  When I've got a backlog open and I'm planning, if I need to look at other things to help me work out what to plan next, I tend to open a second window with a search, or as some of my POs do, a second Kanban board with the same filter.  The second board has swimlanes by the fields they are interested in (so in this case, priority)

Remember priority is not something that determines the order of what things should be done.  It informs the planning, but it is not useful for determining what to do next, except when you've got a plan for some stuff (or no plan) and are looking for the next thing to add to the end of it.

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