Top JQL queries for project managers and how to use them

When you’re managing large projects in Jira, it can be difficult to keep track of how issues are related to each other. You may be dealing with multiple project versions, several teams, and complex issue hierarchies. If a sudden blocker occurs, more than one team could be brought to a standstill, and the deliverables risk being delayed. It’s important to quickly track the problem to its source and resolve it.

Basic Jira searches won’t help if you don’t know exactly what issue you’re looking for. To navigate complex relationships between issues and pinpoint specific problems, you need more advanced JQL queries. 

JQL Search Extensions for Jira allow you to use detailed JQL queries to find just what you need so you can stay in control of your projects and keep them running smoothly. Read on to learn some of the most common queries for project managers and how to use them.

Top 10 JQL Queries and How to Use Them

Whether you need to find a certain version of a product, find out how issues are linked, discover outliers or work through hierarchies, JQL queries can make your life easier.

Keeping Track of Versions and Updates

  1. fixVersion

If you’re managing software projects, you’ll probably have several versions of the project with the same name. How can you look for only issues in one version? Or look for two versions of the project to compare them? A fixVersion query lets you do just that.

fixVersion in (v2.2, v2.4) lets you compare version 2.2 with version 2.4.

  1. lastUpdatedBy

To keep track of what a certain project member is doing on the project, you can use the lastUpdatedBy query. This will show you all the issues that person took action on and what follow-up might be needed.


Search to find all the issues last updated by a certain project team member.

Finding How Issues Are Linked

  1. linksIssueProject

This query helps you find external issues that are linked to your team’s project. This can show if another project is causing a blocker or if there are components of your project that need to be completed to avoid blocking one of the external projects.

Use linksIssueProject to find issues that are linked to your team’s project.
  1. linkedIssuesOfQuery/linkedBy

Understanding linked issues is also important when you’re prioritizing tasks. You want to make sure that a high priority issue isn’t being blocked by another issue that might be set as a lower priority. To check on that, the query you need to use is different in the cloud and data center versions, so make sure you use the right one.

Here’s an example of how to use the cloud version:

issue in linkedIssuesOfQuery(“project = JQL AND priority = Highest”, “is blocked by”) or issue in linkedIssuesOfQuery(“project = JQL AND priority = Highest”, “is related to”)

This is a similar query to use for the data center version:

issue in linkedBy(“is blocked by”, “is related to”, “project = JQL AND priority = Highest”)

Finding Remote Links and Attachments

  1. remoteLinkApplicationName

Often, Jira issues have links to other Atlassian applications like Confluence or Trello. You might know that a Confluence page is linked to an issue in a project you’re managing, but can’t remember which one. With this query, you can easily find all issues that are linked to a remote application.

Here’s an example for Confluence: 


  1. attachmentsCount

If a Jira issue isn’t linked to another application but instead has documents attached to it, you can search for issues with a number of attachments. When you identify these issues, you can also search the attachment content. To find all issues with attachments to help you narrow down your search, use this:

attachmentsCount >0

Finding Outliers

  1. linksCount

Sometimes, important issues get overlooked or are put off because they’re not seen as high priority at the time. Then when your team starts work on other tasks, they all discover their tasks are linked to one issue that hasn’t been done yet. To avoid this happening, regularly do a linksCount search to find issues that have many other issues linked to them. Here’s how to find issues that have three or more issues linked to them:

linksCount >=3

  1. subTasksCount

Issues with many subtasks also tend to be more complex, and you want to make sure everything is covered. Saving a query to find issues with more than 3-4 subtasks and checking this each sprint will help you keep all the subtasks on track and also to see if some may be unnecessary. For example, to find an issue that has three or more subtasks, use this:

subTasksCount >=3

Use the subTasksCount query to find issues with many subtasks to make sure nothing is overlooked.

Navigating Hierarchies

9. childrenOfIssuesInQueryRecursive

Another challenge for project managers working in a large organization is the many hierarchies in Jira, especially if you’re working in a Scaled Agile Framework. Finding all of the issues under an initiative can be a daunting task. With this query, you can find all the children of issues in the project as well as children of children, and so on. Here’s an example of how to use it.

issue in childrenOfIssuesInQueryRecursive(“project=’ACME’ and type=Initiative”)

Regular Expression Function

10. Regex

For those in software development, regular expressions are probably familiar. In JQL Search Extensions, this gives you greater flexibility to search for any specific terms or custom fields you need to find. Here’s what a regex search to only find issues that match versions between v.2.0 and v2.5 that are betas would look like: 

issue in regex(“fixVersion”, “v2.[0-5]-beta”) 

Here’s an example of more types of queries you can do using regex.

Use JQL search extensions to keep up with every issue in your projects

These top 10 queries will help you keep your projects running smoothly so you don’t run into sudden blockers or need to comb through hundreds of issues to find missing information. You can also save the queries that you use all the time and plug them into dashboards to generate reports.

These queries are only possible with an extension app. Try JQL Search Extensions free for 30 days to see how it works for you!

Last updated: 2023-07-31

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