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What are issue types?

 

Issue types distinguish different types of work in unique ways, and help you identify, categorize, and report on your team’s work across your Jira site. They can help your team build more structure into your working process. 

Multiple issue types help you search and sort the work your team takes on, track the progress of specific types of work, even estimate how well your team responds to bugs or how fast they complete larger initiatives.

Each Jira product comes with default issue types to suit the needs of your projects and teams. You can customize your issue types to match any method of project management you want.

We provide suggested issue types to help you classify tasks to work in common agile software development or IT service management methods. Get started with these default issue types or create your own.

What are parent and child issues?

Parent and child are terms that describe a type of relationship between issues:

  • A parent issue is an issue that sits above another issue e.g. a story that’s made up of subtasks.

  • A child issue is an issue that sits below another issue e.g. a subtask that belongs to a task.

This means that the parent and child relationship isn’t limited to specific issue types. Rather, any issue type can be both a parent and a child issue — the only exception being subtasks, which can only be a child since there aren’t any issue types below it in the hierarchy.

For example, if you have this issue hierarchy:

  • Epic

  • Story, Task, Bug

  • Subtask

Then:

  • As a parent issue, an epic can have stories, tasks, and bugs as child issues.

  • As a parent issue, a task can have subtasks as child issues.

  • A subtask can’t have any child issues.

Best practices

Since the issue view can only display up to 500 child issues, we recommend limiting your issues to that amount. If an issue exceeds 500 child issues:

  • Instead of viewing your child issues from the issue view, you’ll have to view them in search — which you can go to straight from the issue view.

  • If you use time tracking, you won’t be able to include subtasks.

Pro tip: To reduce your number of child issues, try splitting the parent issue. For example, if an epic has too many stories, it might be a sign that your epic can be split into multiple epics. Or if a task has too many subtasks, it might deserve to be split into multiple tasks. Learn more about structuring work for your agile team.

What are hierarchy levels?

By default, Jira supports three levels of hierarchy:

  • Epic issues, which represent high-level initiatives or bigger pieces of work in Jira. For software teams, an epic may represent a new feature they're developing. For IT service teams, epics may represent a major service change or upgrade. For business teams, epics may represent major deliverables or phases of a project.

  • Standard issues represent regular business tasks. In Jira, standard issues are where daily work is discussed and carried out by team members. For software teams, standard issues (like bugs or stories) estimate and track the effort required to build an interaction or other end goal in your team's software. For service teams, standard issues represent different requests made by your team's customers, like requesting service or support, or reporting problems or incidents with your infrastructure. For business teams, standard issues represent and track your team member's daily tasks.

  • Subtask issues, which can help your team break a standard issue into smaller chunks. This can be helpful if your team has a task that requires multiple people working on it, or if your team underestimates the scope or complexity of their work. Subtasks can be described and estimated separately to their related standard issue and can help your team better understand and estimate similar work in the future.

Jira Premium customers who use Advanced Roadmaps can add more layers to the issue hierarchy. Learn more about configuring issue hierarchy in Advanced Roadmaps.

Default issue types

Here's a list of the default issue types that come with each Jira product:

Jira Work Management (business projects) issue types

By default, business projects come with one standard issue type:

Task

A task represents work that needs to be done.

By default, business projects come with one child issue type:

Subtask

A subtask is a piece of work that is required to complete a task.

Jira Software (software projects) issue types

By default, software projects come with one parent issue type:

Epic

A big user story that needs to be broken down. Epics group together bugs, stories, and tasks to show the progress of a larger initiative. In agile development, epics usually represent a significant deliverable, such as a new feature or experience in the software your team develops.

By default, software projects come with three standard issue types:

Bug

A bug is a problem which impairs or prevents the functions of a product.

Story

A user story is the smallest unit of work that needs to be done.

Task

A task represents work that needs to be done.

By default, software projects come with one child issue type:

Subtask

A subtask is a piece of work that is required to complete a task. Subtasks issues can be used to break down any of your standard issues in Jira (bugs, stories or tasks).

Jira Service Management (service projects) issue types

Change

Requesting a change in the current IT profile.

IT help

Requesting help for an IT related problem.

Incident

Reporting an incident or IT service outage.

New feature

Requesting new capability or software feature.

Problem

Investigating and reporting the root cause of multiple incidents.

Service request

Requesting help from an internal or customer service team.

Service request with approval

Requesting help that requires a manager or board approval.

Support

Requesting help for customer support issues. 

Additional Help