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The popularity of Jira Software has skyrocketed in the last few years, thanks to its excellent features and easy adaptability to agile development models. If you are considering using Jira or are already using it, ask yourself a fundamental question. How do you make the best use of the various features Jira presents? 

Let’s start with Jira Epics. Often, development teams tend to jump right ahead into crafting user stories, sprint planning, and so on without huddling around Epics. While sometimes it could be because of the nature of the user story, it is often because the end-users are unaware of what an Epic is and how it helps organize your stories and streamline the development process. 

Here is a simple guide that will help you understand the concept of Epics and how to effectively use them in Jira.

What Are Jira Epics?

Epics are, in essence, a big goal or a task that can be broken down into related sub-tasks. While this is the general idea behind Epics, every team may have a slightly different way of implementing Epics. Some consider it similar to a project hierarchy. Some make it strictly goal-based, some base it on features, and so on. In Jira, Epics are created as special issue types similar to tasks and stories. Each Epic can have associated users, workflow, states, and so on.

Epic Vs. Story Vs. Task

So what differentiates a task or story from an agile Epic? While tasks and stories tend to be standalone pieces of work, Epics are more complex, with several tasks grouped under them. 

They have custom fields that help identify the issue hierarchies within the Epic, such as the parent-child tasks.

  • The various tasks within an Epic could be executed in a parallel manner or may have dependencies.
  • Epics also have data fields, such as a start date and a target date.
  • Epics are coarser and span several sprints, whereas tasks and stories are more detailed and are planned for a limited sprint length.

What Is The Difference Between Epic And Feature In Jira?

Often used interchangeably, Epics and Features tend to confuse Jira users. While Epics and Features are similar issue types that can be broken down into smaller tasks or stories, the significant difference is how they are placed in the issue hierarchy.

Epics are much bigger and are are often the topmost parent in issue hierarchies. Epics can consist of Features, and these Features can further be broken down into individual user stories. Epics represent a more extensive set of requirements or project goals, whereas Features are more focused. 

Why Are Epics Important In Jira?

There are many reasons why using Epics is an excellent way to plan your agile software development projects. Let us list out a few:

Organized Project Outcomes

It helps organize project outcomes in terms and makes it easier to communicate project progress to concerned stakeholders. 

Not all stakeholders can have the technological knowledge to understand the project progress via individual user stories. Epics present an easy way to abstract the project’s status and quickly raise the measurable outcomes to stakeholders.

Helps Achieve Specific Targets With Ease

Lists of Epics allows teams to establish the priority goals and the necessary metrics to track such goals.

Facilitates Optimized Project Execution

Epics are organized to allow for a detailed design before user stories are taken to implementation. They, thus, help with an optimized workflow and flexible decision-making as the project progresses.

Allows For Better Innovation

By allowing DevOps teams to define and design their project via Epics, you can promote innovation and excellence in terms of product design and development.

How Do You Create Jira Epics?

Jira is well equipped to help you integrate Epics into your project planning phases with ease.

Here is how you can create an Epic issue in Jira:

  • Create a new issue
  • Select issue type as ‘Epic.’ Fill in the details such as epic name, description, and such. Click create.
  • Once created, you can link other issues or create new issues from within the Epic view.

Cool Things You Can Do With The Help Of Jira Epics 

  • Integrate Epics with project backlog for efficient project planning
  • Track project progress with roadmaps
  • Derive useful visualizations such as Epic swim lanes and Epic link on cards on the kanban agile boards.

So what else can you do to make the best out of this feature? Let us start with the basics. First, understand what an Epic is and know the various workflows and requirements uniquely available for Epics. 

Then, use these features to get on track with your agile project management and other methodologies.

Try not to create Epics that do not have a defined scope. Epics should close unless the Epic you are running is actually a theme and not new in reality. Make sure you're aware of the subtle difference so you can utilize Epics appropriately.

The sooner you implement Jira, the better your results will be. Jira is incredibly comprehensive, and many struggle to get the most from the platform. Praecipio can help you make use of the various automation and process optimization tools that Jira gives you. Having expert guidance will go a long way in helping you save costs, time, and resources. Reach out today!

Praecipio

Written by Praecipio

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

This means that we have the most experience working with Atlassian tools and have insight into new products, features, and beta testing. Through our profound knowledge of Atlassian environments and their intricacies, we can guide your organization as you navigate these important changes.

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