Jira Epics: An Epic How-to Guide

As your organization grows, things naturally become more complicated. More staff, more projects, and more red tape weave into a more cumbersome environment. But as a software development team, you can’t let size slow you down. Many large organizations turn to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and top project management platforms like Jira to combat growing pains and retain the benefits of leaner agile teams.

If your organization uses the SAFe framework, you can run into challenges working with Jira. While Jira nestles “epic” between the high-level “initiative” and the more granular “story,” under the SAFe schema, “epic” is the top dog. 

What your team calls a “feature,” Jira refers to as an “epic”: 

Jira: Initiative > Epic > Story

SAFe: Epic > Feature > Story 

It’s nearly impossible for development teams to function at their best using two distinct definitions of “epic.” So how can you convert your Jira epics into the SAFe hierarchy language? 

Working with Jira Epics and the SAFe framework

If you’re just getting started with Jira, you’re in luck! You can set up your instance using your preferred terminology at the outset. But when you’re dealing with years of legacy data, a sudden shift to SAFe vocabulary can disrupt your software development flow. 

There are a few strategies top agile teams are using to get on the same page. 

It may sound convenient to simply change Jira native fields, but stop right there! This can lead to near-catastrophic results. You can lose links between tickets and make it impossible for vital plugins to sync up with the right issue type. If you’re like most organizations, you’ve loaded your Jira instance with over 20 apps, each essential for top-notch project management. Haphazardly changing native fields can break Jira and bring down your hard-earned productivity with it. 

Still think this is a good idea? Just skim through community forms—they’re littered with cautionary tales to dissuade you from going this route. Even Jira labels these fields with a sage warning: “Used by Jira Software, do not remove or modify.”

So what’s the solution? Tens of thousands of Jira users opt for this marketplace favorite to convert Jira epics to SAFe features: SAFe EPIC to Feature Translator for Jira. This must-have app serves as the middle man, safely translating Jira epics into the terminology preferred by SAFe agile teams. 

How to get started with SAFe EPIC to Feature Translator for Jira

With the SAFe EPIC to Feature Translator, you can easily tell Jira to translate its native language into your SAFe terms of choice. Once you set the instructions, the translator will apply them across your entire instance. You don’t have to worry about any manual tinkering or, most importantly—risk any poignant issues falling through the cracks. 

Since the app does most of the heavy lifting, you can get started in minutes. 

10 quick steps to translate Jira epic to SAFe feature 

Start by installing the SAFe EPIC to Feature Translator from the Atlassian Marketplace. Once installed, the app will crawl for instances of “epic” and automatically translate to “feature.” However, there are a few custom fields and issue types that are locked by Jira. You can configure these fields in a few quick clicks. 

Find “Manage Apps” in the Administration panel. Under “SAFE TRANSLATOR,” select Configuration: 

  1. Click the “Lock the fields” toggle to unlock custom fields. 
  2. In the “Translate the ‘Epic’ labels to:” field, type your preferred term. 
  3. Click “Apply.”
  4. As of version 2.0.12, you can even set different labels for each language you use across Jira. 
  5. Next, go to Administration > Issues > Custom Fields. 
  6. Click “Translate.” Here, you can input new values for Epic Color, Epic Link, Epic Name, and Epic Status. 
  7. Click “Update.”
  8. Go to Administration > Issues > Issue Types. Here, you can translate the Epic issue type. 
  9. Return to the initial SAFE TRANSLATOR configuration to lock further edits. 
  10. Clear cache. 

That’s it!

Configure special translations

With this handy app, you can also update other custom expressions. Update phrases like “Project” and “Fix Version/s” to match your preferences. You can tailor these terms in mere minutes using these six quick steps. 

Appfire is one of the top providers of plugins that makes Jira easier and more effective for your team. Just check out the Atlassian Marketplace: Appfire offers nearly 50 apps to solve top issues—big and small—that most frustrate Jira users. So you can trust that they’ve made the move over to SAFe lingo as easy as possible.

Last updated: 2023-07-31

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