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Will adding a level in the Jira Portfolio hierarchy break existing parent links?

I want to insert a new INITIATIVE level in the Jira Portfolio hierarchy.  This new INITIATIVE level will reside between the top-level in the hierarchy, "PROGRAM", and the next level, "EPIC".  I.E.  when done the new hierarchy will be PROGRAM, then INITIATIVE, then EPIC.

But I have dozens of existing EPIC issues which have parent links to the PROGRAM which they belong to.  If I insert a new INITIATIVE level between EPIC and PROGRAM...

1) Will this break the existing parent links in each EPIC?

2) Will it require every new EPIC to be associated with an INITIATIVE?  Or is it possible to set the parent link field in each EPIC to either an INITIATIVE or a PROGRAM?

My company is running Jira Software (Server Edition) version 7.3.9 along with Jira Portfolio 2.18.

1 answer

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1 vote
Answer accepted
Earl McCutcheon
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Mar 25, 2019

Hello Michael,

Adding in a new top level Hierarchy is simple as you are just adding in new content (New issues and new mapping) but adding in a new level between means there is now a bi directional association needed and will require manual rearrangement as this is changing the concept or how you are grouping issues into the multiple initiative paths.  i.e. you are basically cutting a whole between the two issues and need to create the new issue between Program and epic to fill that gap in the data.

Currently If I understand correctly you have "PROGRAM" as your current initiative above "EPIC" but you want to change that to "PROGRAM" >> "Initiative" >> "EPIC"

To address your two questions first:

1) Will this break the existing parent links in each EPIC?

Yes, If you add in a new initiative between the existing Program level and epic, the parent link is going to be disassociated, however the link will still be present to view on the epic until you change it which can help you remap later once you have created the new issue that will be between the two levels.  So, the value that was present is not removed but it will consider the Epic as "issue without parent initiative" and require manually selecting a new parent at the next hierarchy level up to allow the mapping to occur.

Regardless of how you approach this it's going to require a full rebuild of one of the layers.

A possible workaround here, prefacing that I would recommend against this, is if you want to maintain the current mappings between epic and the next New level up "Initiative" you could basically remap everything at the program level to an "Initiative" by renaming the existing "Program" to "Initiative" in both the Hierarchy configuration and the issue type, then create a new initiative at the top level called "Program" then create and map a new issue type.  This does however have the downside of remapping everything in that particular issue type to the new issue type, Basically requiring you to build a whole new "Program" level from scratch and map the "Initiative" to the new program at the top level.

2) Will it require every new EPIC to be associated with an INITIATIVE?  Or is it possible to set the parent link field in each EPIC to either an INITIATIVE or a PROGRAM?

The Hierarchy is one level up for the parent link and you would not be able to skip hierarchies, in a issue to grandparent relationship, as described in this Feature request for this option, which is why the issue types in the parent link are still there but disassociated:

As this is a full re-design to the approach you take to address issues it is best to create the new level, create the new initiatives, map the initiatives to the Program, then go through and remap the epics to your new intermediary hierarchy layer


Hi @Earl McCutcheon 

Thanks for sharing the link to the grandfather feature.

I'm reaching out as from the digital team at adidas, we are using and loving the Advanced Roadmaps tool. Integrating it for our tech teams and management. Makes life a lot easier for Product Managers.

We want to add an additional hierarchy level between Initiative and Epic. However reading up about it above, this will disassociate all epics from the linked initiatives. We feel a bit stuck - having a hundred product managers re:link their work won't go down well. This feature would be a lifesaver, also would allow for teams to shift work slowly (if they so desire).

Hope this one can progress.

Like Dave likes this

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