GUIDE 2024

How to Use Epics in Jira Software [Tutorial]

Interested in learning how to use epics in Jira Software? You came to the right place.

An epic is a major concept in Agile and DevOps environments. Epics help to organize and manage larger projects by breaking them down into smaller pieces of manageable work. Jira is a project management software that allows users to create epics and track their progress. This tutorial teaches you different ways you use epics in Jira software.


What is an Epic?

An epic is a collection of smaller tasks or user stories defining the work to achieve a project’s objectives. The epic consists of all required user stories defined according to the user requirements. However, while executing the epic, bugs, and issues get added to the epic. Epics help to manage a larger project and enable people who work on the epic to develop shippable work on a regular basis. Therefore, it is an important Agile and DevOps practice that helps to complete the project easier and faster. Also, not only does one project belongs to one epic, but epics also span multiple teams and projects.  


How to Create Epic in JIRA Software

Jira Software provides three ways to create epics. 

  • Backlog
  • Roadmap
  • Global create button

When creating an epic in any of these three ways, you have to specify your project and issue type as ‘epic’ and then provide a summary and a name for your epic. Every user story or task created under that epic gets the name you specify. The epic summary is a small description explaining the overall objective of the epic.

Create and use Epics from the Backlog

If you navigate the backlog, you will see the ‘Epics’ panel on the left-hand side of the backlog. Click on it to show all the epics created in your project. 

Credit: Atlassian

To create a new epic, click on the ‘Create Epic’ or the ‘+’ sign from the epic panel. Enter the epic summary and name, and click ‘create.’ 

Credits: Atlassian


Create an Epic from the Global Navigation Menu

The global navigation bar in JIRA has a ‘Create’ menu button that you use to create epics and any other issue type. 

Choose the issue type as ‘epic,’ and enter the epic name, summary, and all other information required.  


Credit: Atlassian


Credit: Atlassian

Epic Creation Using the Roadmap

The roadmap visualizes the overall status of the epics. To create an epic from the roadmap, first, enable the roadmap feature by expanding ‘More (•••)’ in the top right corner of the Board settings. Then after enabling the roadmap tab, select the Roadmap tab and click on the ‘+’ sign to create your epic. 

Credit: Atlassian


How to add User Stories for the Epic

Once you have finished creating your epic, add your work breakdown by creating user stories (multiple stories), tasks, and bugs (creating issues.) While the epic represents the collection of work, these issues represent individual pieces of work the user has to accomplish within a sprint. There are two ways to create issues for the epic. 

Creating Issues from the Backlog Epics Panel

Go to the backlog and expand the epics panel. Then select the epic you have created and expand it. Click on ‘Create issue in epic.’ The issue creation window will pop up and can be used to define and create the issue by entering the appropriate information. There is an ‘Epic Link’ selected for your chosen epic name. 

Credit: Atlassian


Creating Issues from the Global Navigation bar

From the global navigation menu, select the ‘Create’ button, and choose the issue type as any other issue except the epic. Choose the appropriate ‘Epic Link’ from the list that appears. 

Credit: Atlassian

Creating Issues from the Backlog Board

There is an option to create issues from the backlog boards’ ‘Create issue’ link, which appears under every sprint and backlog. 

Creating Issues from the Roadmap

It is possible to create child issues for the epics in the Roadmap. Click on the ‘+’ icon in front of your epic, and a child issue from the create issue will pop up.

Also, there is an epic link for creating issues by clicking on ‘create issues in epic’ that appears above the top-right-hand corner of the issue list.


How to View Issues in Your Epic

If you want to see the list of issues that belong to a particular epic, there are several ways to do it. View the total number of issues in the epic, completed, unestimated, and estimated issues from the epics panel in the backlog. Navigate to your project backlog and expand the epics panel and the specific epic from all the epics you want to see. Find the statistics under that epic and see all the issues created sprint-wise.

It is also possible to view the issues in your epic by selecting the ‘epic details’ by opening the epics panel from the backlog, clicking on the expand icon (…) of the epic, and selecting the ‘epic details’. It opens a new window with all the issues created for that epic.


How to View the Epic’s Progress

Epic Report

After creating all the issues that belong to the epic, you can track the progress of your epic. Jira Software provides various kinds of reports. The ‘Epic Report’ helps you understand the epics’ progress towards its completion over time. You can see your team’s progress by tracking the remaining incomplete/unestimated issues.

Epic Burndown

You are also able to check the Epic Burndown chart to monitor sprints. This includes sprint progress, scope changes like the scope added and removed, and the projected number of sprints required to complete the epic. This helps you check if it’s possible to release an epic on time to take necessary actions to speed up the work that is falling behind.

Credit: Atlassian

How to Mark Your Epic as Done

When you have completed all your work in the epic, complete the epic by marking it as ‘done’. To do that, open the epics panel from the backlog, click on the expand icon (…) of the epic, and select the ‘Mark as Done’. 


Credit: Atlassian

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the co-founder of Product HQ, founder of Technical Writer HQ, and founder and head of product of Squibler. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.