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Use the simplified workflow

Jira Software projects use either the Jira workflow or the Simplified Workflow, to control the transition of issues from one status to another. The workflow of the project determines which statuses are available in that project.

A board can be configured to show the issues of one or more projects. However, you can only use the Simplified Workflow if your board represents a single project.

Also, if your board was created as a result of creating a project, the board will be using the Simplified Workflow.

Before you begin

To configure the board and any of its settings, you must be either:

  • project administrator for the location of the board

  • board administrator for the board itself

See Permissions overview for more information.

Benefits of using the Simplified Workflow 

The Simplified Workflow has the following benefits over a Jira workflow:

Simplified Workflow

Jira workflow

- Has three default steps for Scrum boards: To Do, In Progress, Done

- Has four default steps for Kanban boards: Backlog, Selected for Development, In Progress, Done

Has more steps than are typically needed on a board (e.g. see the default Jira workflow)

Allows issues to be dragged freely between columns

Has workflow "conditions" that prevent issues from being dragged freely between all columns

- Displays no screens on any transitions – all transitions will happen instantly

- Automatically sets a resolution of 'Done' when issues are transitioned to the 'successful' column, i.e. statuses mapped to the successful column (see Configuring columns)

Displays screens for Resolve Issue, Close Issue, and Reopen Issue

Can be edited via the board settings (see Adding a new status on the Configuring columns page), provided that you are the project administrator for the project that is on the board

Can only be edited via workflow configuration, see Workflows for more information

For information about workflow steps, transitions, and conditions, see Workflows.

Switching to Simplified Workflow

How can I tell if my board is using Simplified Workflow?

To check this, view the Columns settings for your board (described below) — If you are using the Simplified Workflow, you will see the words 'Using Simplified Workflow' (see screenshot). Otherwise, you will see the 'Simplify workflow' button or the words 'Simplified Workflow unavailable'.

If your project is currently using a Jira workflow, you may want to switch to the Simplified Workflow. You will then be able to easily add new statuses from within Jira Software. Note, the default steps for the Simplified Workflow (described in table above) will not be created when you switch from a Jira workflow. Your existing workflow steps will be included in the workflow instead. The default steps are only created if the Simplified Workflow is chosen when the board and project are created in Jira Software.

Project pre-requisites

You will only be able to switch to Simplified Workflow if:

  • There is only one project being viewed by your board (to check this, look at the board's filter)

  • That project uses a Jira workflow scheme, which only has one workflow for all issue types

  • Your workflow only uses post functions, validators, and conditions that are provided by Atlassian – and not any of which provided by add-ons

  • The existing workflow has at least one outgoing transition for each status

To switch to Simplified Workflow:

  1. Go to your board, then select more () > Board settings.

  2. Click the Columns tab.

  3. Click the Simplify workflow button, as shown in first screenshot below. If this button doesn't display, check that your project meets the pre-requisites described above.

  4. Your project will switch to use Simplified Workflow, as shown in the second screenshot below. The Add Status button will now be shown.

You can view workflow statuses and transitions in company-managed projects. Click the status dropdown when viewing an issue and choose View workflow.


A board that does not use Simplified Workflow

The Columns tab in the Board settings screen, with a button indicating the board isn't using a Simplified Workflow (but can)

A board that does use Simplified Workflow

The Columns tab in the Board setting screen, with a title indicating the Board uses Simplified Workflow.


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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