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Use your scrum backlog

The backlog of a Scrum board shows the issues for your project grouped into a backlog and sprints. In the Scrum backlog, you can create and update issues, drag and drop issues to rank them, or assign them to sprints, epics, or versions, manage epics, and more. You'd typically use the Scrum backlog when building a backlog of issues, planning a new version, and planning a sprint.

Before you begin

Different functionalities in the Scrum backlog require different permissions. For example, to start a sprint, you need to be a project administrator for all projects that match the board's filter. See Permissions overview for more information.

About the Scrum backlog

An issue will only be visible in the Scrum backlog if:

  • the issue isn't a subtask,

  • the issue matches the board's saved filter, 

  • the issue's status maps to one of the board's columns (but not the Done column), and

  • there's at least a status being mapped to the right-most column. 
    For example, if you have the columns To Do, In Progress, and Done, ensure that you have a status mapped to In Progress at least. If you map all the statuses to the first (To Do) column, you won't see any issues in the Scrum backlog.

Accessing the Scrum backlog

Go to the Backlog of your Scrum project.

Here's an example of a Scrum backlog with an issue selected:

Screenshot of a scrum backlog in Jira Software Cloud, showing issues in a current sprint and the backlog.

What can I do in the Scrum backlog?



Add issues to the backlog

Select Create in the navigation bar.

Fill in the issue details in the Create issue dialog, then select Create. The issue will be added to the backlog under the currently selected issue, or at the top of the backlog if no issue is selected.

Check the Create another issue checkbox in the Create issue dialog to keep it open if you're creating multiple issues.

You can create issues directly on the Backlog. Just select + Create issue at the bottom of a sprint or the backlog section.

Prioritize the backlog

Drag and drop an issue to rank it. You can also right-click the issue to open a menu that allows you to send it to the top or the bottom of the Backlog.

View and edit an issue's details

Select an issue on the board to view the issue detail view and edit issue details.

To open the issue in a separate tab or window, right-click on the issue key.

You can edit the following issue details directly on the backlog:

  • Summary

  • Assignee

  • Status

  • Estimate

  • Parent

  • Priority

Select the relevant field on an issue card to edit it.

Estimate stories

Use the 'J' and 'K' keys to move through issues in the backlog and show the details on the right-hand side of the screen. Use the 'E' key to edit an issue, then update estimates or story points as you go.

By default, the Story Points field is only available to issues of type 'story' or 'epic'. Learn more about estimation

Identify the workload for users

The avatars for users who have work assigned to them in a sprint are shown at the top of a sprint. Select to view the sprint workload for assignees, or hover over a single avatar to view a summary for that person.

Create subtasks

Select an issue, then select

Subtasks are useful for breaking a story down into implementable chunks.

Transition an issue

Drag and drop an issue from the Backlog section to the relevant sprint section, to move the issue from the backlog to the relevant sprint.

When transitioning multiple issues

Depending on the following conditions, you can press the Shift or Ctrl key to select and transition multiple issues from the backlog to the next status in your project's workflow:

Split an issue

Right-click an issue and select Split issue. You can split an issue in the Backlog or sprint sections, including any future sprints and any active sprint.

Splitting an issue is useful when an issue is so big that it's better to divide it into two or more issues to make work more manageable.

What happens when I split an issue?

  • If you split an issue in the Scrum backlog, the new issue will be sent to the Backlog section.

  • If you split an issue in one of the sprints (future or active), you can choose to send the new issue to either the Backlog, or a future or active sprint.

What happens to the issue details?

  • The new issue will be of the same issue type as the original issue. For example, if you split a story into two or more issues, the new issues will also be stories.

  • The new issue will have most of the same details stored in the original issue, including priority, component, and label.

  • The issue details that won't be copied over include work log, comments, issue history, and issue links, though the original issue will be linked to the new issue.

  • The new issue will have the summary that you entered upon splitting the issue.

  • If the original issue has estimates, you'll be able to enter estimates for the new issues as well. You can also update the estimate of the original issue as necessary.

  • The issue status also returns to the first step of the corresponding workflow, and the resolutions are cleared.

Flag an issue

Select an issue and select Add flag.

You can also add a comment with your flag, perhaps to indicate your reason for adding the flag.

Delete an issue

Select an issue and select Delete.

Find issues

Create your own quick filters to view only the issues you want. See Configure quick filters for details.

Organize issues into epics

An epic is essentially a large user story, used for grouping smaller stories. For example, you may have a 'Performance' theme for your release, which you could capture as an epic.

You can create epics, drag and drop issues into epics, and filter by epics using the epic panel.

To open and close the panel, use the toggle in the epic filter dropdown.

Plan versions

You can create and edit versions, assign issues to versions via drag-and-drop, and filter by versions using the version panel.

To open and close the panel, use the toggle in the version filter dropdown.

Plan sprints

Select Create sprint, then drag and drop issues into your new sprint. You can also drag and drop the horizontal divider to add or remove multiple issues.

When you're happy with the issues for the sprint, select Start sprint, and the stories will move into the Active sprints view.

While a sprint is active in the Active sprints view, you can still plan subsequent sprints in the backlog, but you won't be able to start them until the active sprint is completed. (You can, however, drag and drop an issue in the backlog onto the active sprint.) If you’d like to use multiple active sprints, enable parallel sprints.

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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