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Manage epics in a kanban project

This page applies to company-managed projects only.

Learn more about the difference between company-managed and team-managed projects.

An epic captures a large body of work—performance-related work, for example—in a release. It's essentially a large user story that can be broken down into a number of smaller stories. An epic can span more than one project, if multiple projects are included in the board where the epic is created. 

There may be differences on how epics are displayed and configured in Kanban boards — especially if you're using the Kanban backlog in a Kanban project. If your team isn't using the Kanban backlog, see Managing epics. If your team is using the Kanban backlog, see Managing epics with the Kanban backlog.

Before you begin

The functions for managing epics require different permissions. For example, you need the 'Edit Issues' permission to add an issue to an epic. Read Permissions overview for more information.

There are some nuances around how issues and statuses appear in a Kanban backlog. Learn more about how to use your Kanban backlog before attempting to manage its epics.

Managing epics

  1. View your board. Every epic that has issues is shown as a swimlane on the Kanban board. 

  2. If you want to view the epic itself, open any issue in the epic in the issue detail view or in a new browser tab, then click the lozenge in the Epic link field of the issue.

Managing epics with the Kanban backlog

You can only use the Kanban backlog if it's already enabled by a Jira administrator or a board administrator.

The Kanban backlog must be enabled for a particular board, for the board users to use it. See Enabling the Kanban backlog for more information.

The Epics panel for the Kanban backlog must be enabled for a particular board as well, for the board users to use it. See Enabling the Kanban backlog for more information.

  1. Go to the Backlog of your Kanban project.

  2. Click EPICS on the left side of the board (aligned vertically) to open it.

Add a new epic

Click Create epic (you will need to hover over the 'EPICS' panel to show this link), enter the epic details, and create it.

Update an epic's details

For the epic name, click the arrow next to the name, then choose Edit name.

For other fields, click the arrow next to the epic's name, then choose View epic details. You can then edit the epic like any other issue.

Change an epic's color on the board

Click the arrow next to the epic's name, then choose the color from the menu.

Add an issue to an epic

To add an existing issue, drag and drop the issue onto the epic in the 'EPICS' panel.

To add a new issue, click Create issue in epic (if this does not show, you need to expand the epic details in the 'EPICS' panel. Company-managed project issues can only be added to company-managed project epics, and team-managed project issues can only be added to team-managed projects epics.

Remove an issue from an epic

Drag and drop the issue onto Issues without epics in the 'EPICS' panel.

Alternatively, view the detailed view of the issue on the board, locate the Epic field, then click the 'x' in the epic name lozenge (this method also works in the Kanban board).

Filter issues by epic

Click the epic in the 'EPICS' panel to show only issues in that epic. Click All issues to remove the filter. Alternatively, click Clear all filters next to Backlog or Selected for Development.

Complete an epic

Click the arrow next to the epic's name, then choose Mark as Done from the menu.

This will set the epic's Epic Status field to "Done", but will not affect the epic's workflow or its Status field, and none of the epic's issues will be affected.

Need help? If you can't find the answer you need in our documentation, we have other resources available to help you. See Getting help.

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