How to configure Jira hierarchy

Behind every successful product launch is a legion of software developers working through a detailed plan. If you’re not using a platform like Jira, tracking progress between dozens of departments and scores of staff is mind-boggling work. Jira offers several methods for organizing your project’s hierarchy to make things easier.
Here, we’ll start with an overview of the basics and show the tips and tricks top Jira project managers use (like Advanced Roadmaps) to better manage teams with hundreds or thousands of employees.

The basics: Organizing your Jira Hierarchy

To best organize a project scope, Jira project managers rely on these default hierarchy levels: 

  • Epics: A chunk of work that has a common objective. Epics are typically huge user stories that will take multiple sprints to complete. 
  • Story: Agile developers and project managers use “Stories” to organize tasks around a central “why.” They’re often a collection of tasks focused on the end-user, demonstrating how a group of sub-tasks improve a Jira software feature or function to benefit the user. 
  • Sub-task: The unit of work contained within a story. Here’s where project managers define the specific to-dos required to satisfy a user story.

We’ll step outside Jira for a moment to understand how these organizational tools work together. Say you were interested in renovating your home. “Renovate House” is an extremely broad and ambitious project, sitting in the top-most slot known as “Epics.”

The Epic includes hundreds of smaller tasks needed to get the job done. You might start by organizing projects by room—bedroom, living room, bathroom, etc. These serve as the “Stories.” Sub-tasks would make up the even smaller, precise tasks like “Tear out kitchen cabinets” or “Pick new cabinetry hardware.” 

Back to Jira, project managers take a broad Epic like “Speed Up Onboarding Process by 25%” and divide it into smaller Stories— “Users can log in using Facebook” or “Users can autofill fields.” 

But what do you do when you need to plan and track work across multiple teams and projects? Maybe the Epic “Speed Up Onboarding Process by 25%” also includes collaboration with your marketing department, who need to clarify the onboarding form’s directions with a more straightforward copy. Enter Advanced Roadmaps, an advanced project hierarchy tool that helps you plan for and visualize work across multiple teams and departments. 

Getting started with Advanced Roadmaps in Jira

Advanced Roadmaps for Jira folds the projects and priorities of your entire organization into a single interface. It empowers managers that engage with large-scale teams to better monitor bandwidth, track dependencies, and manage competing priorities across more complex organizations. 

When working with Advanced Roadmaps, you’ll need project buckets that are even broader than Epics. For example, you can create an e-hierarchy called “Vision,” “Legend,” or anything relevantly branded to your organization. These can be used as containers to organize company-wide goals that span multiple departments and teams.  

Start tracking a higher level of progress with these steps:

  1. Click Settings. 
  2. Select Issues
  3. Click Add Issue Type in the upper-right-hand corner. 
  4. Name your Issue Type and click “Add.”
  5. Click Issue Type Schemes in the right-hand sidebar. Here’s where you’ll tell Jira what project you’d like to use your new issue type with. 
  6. Click the “Edit” icon.
  7. Drag your new issue type from the “Available Issue Types” column into the “Issue Types for Current Scheme” column. 
  8. Save.

Next, you’ll need to map your issue type to a level name.

  1. Select settings > Manage apps.
  2. In the menu on the left, select Advanced Roadmaps Hierarchy Configuration.
  3. Select or remove the hierarchy levels you want to include in your plans.
  4. Select Save Changes.

Your custom hierarchy levels are available to use in advanced roadmaps now.

Next Steps: Get More Out of Advanced Roadmaps with Anovaapps and ALM Works

To help tackle management complexities, Anovaapps partnered up with ALM Works. They blended two popular products: Power Scripts for Jira and Structure for Jira

Structure helps project managers track, manage, and visualize the progress of Jira projects with more adaptable, user-defined issue hierarchies.

Structure introduces a near-unlimited hierarchy where you can add sub-tasks, sub-sub-tasks, and so on. Bring together important tasks and projects from all across the company using a familiar Excel-like layout that’s easy for anyone in the company to work with. Combined with the automation muscle of Power Scripts, things will become even more efficient for your organization. 

In addition to keeping your teams and organization in sync, Advanced Roadmaps in-product means one less thing you must worry about updating—Jira takes care of the heavy lifting. Jira Advanced Roadmaps provides the best way to manage multiple teams to strategically plan and work across multiple projects.

Last updated: 2023-07-31

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