What is a Jira Epic


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Jira is one of the widely used tools by almost all IT organizations for project management and bug tracking. Companies opt for Jira tools to organize and plan their work with ease. There are many components in Jira which you will use while you are working on it, and one crucial component is Jira Epic. Folks who have worked with agile practices before might be aware of the term “Epic”. So, in this article, I will discuss all you need to know to get started with Jira Epic.

What is Jira Epic?

According to Atlassian, “An Epic is a large body of work that can be broken down into a number of smaller stories or sometimes called issues in JIRA”. Epic is usually a chunk of work that has a count objective, and it could be from a feature that some customer requested, or it could be something technical that you want to address so that it can be anything. Epics are delivered over a set of sprints, and each epic captures a large body of work. And it is essentially a large user story that can be broken down into a number of smaller stories, and it may take several sprints to complete an epic.

Epic allows us to group certain issues together. So, if you have stories related to a particular topic and you want to see all the stories that are part of this topic, epic might be a great way to group it. For example, let’s assume I am releasing a search functionality, and there are different stories such as “my search bar”,  “my autocomplete functionality”, they all might go into a single epic that is called search.

Why do we use epic, and what are the benefits of using epics?

Epics are a helpful way to organize your work and create a hierarchy. It helps to organize your work, and the idea behind the epic is to break down the work into shippable pieces so that big projects can actually get done and you can continue to ship your value to the customer on a regular basis. Let’s suppose you are a product owner, and you are working in an organization, and you are using epics. So if you are using epic, you can simply have the ability to orientate yourself in the parts of the products and know what you have or have not finished yet. You can track the complete project easily, and you can change the order of the features in the epic very easily, leading to the rapid delivery of minimum viable product increments. So if you are using epic, then it will make your life easier.

How can we create the epics in Jira?

Firstly, you need to go to your Jira cloud instance. Then go to the backlog page. Now you have two ways of creating the epics in JIRA. In the first way, you simply click on the plus icon or create button, and you can choose the issue type “epics” from the list. This is the first way you can create the epic in JIRA.

Jira Epic

Create an Epic

The second way is you can create the epic from the backlog. You will get two options, the vertical menu one is versions, and the second one is epic. Just click on epics, and you will be able to see the list of the epics that you would have created already, and you can create the epics from the bar by clicking on it. Once you will click on this create epic link, it will give you the window where you can write the epic name, the summary of the epic and just press the create button, and it will create the epic for you. It is that simple.


Jira Epic Features

Below are some important features of the Jira epic:

Planning on Epic Panel

You can do the complete planning using the Jira epic panel. This is the most important feature of the Jira epic. Expand the epic panel, and then you get options to filter by epic, create new issues directly from this panel, update epic details, change the status of the epic, etc.

Visualize Epics on Roadmap

You can see the hierarchy of epics on the roadmap. Using the roadmap tool in Jira, you can visualize the progress of the projects/work across different teams. Visualizing epics over a roadmap helps in ensuring to deliver the project on time.

Visualize Epics on Kanban Board

You also have an option to visualize the epics on the Kanban board, which helps the team for batter panning and tracking. With the details of epics on the Kanban board, you can quickly understand how each task contributes to the overall objective.

Epic Swim Lanes

You can create swim lanes for each issue on the board, which shows a clear separation between all the work and give you visibility of tasks in the overall plan.

Epic Link on Cards

You can easily link the epics with the cards on the board with customized colors to better clarify the work mentioned on the board. Users can click on the epic link to go into the details of the epic.

Jira Epic vs Story

An epic is a group of issues that involves several tasks, whereas a story in Jira is the smallest unit of user functionality. You will have to typically conduct several sprints to complete a Jira epic, while stories are very much possible to finish in one single spring. So, a story is a single piece of work, while an epic is a group of issues. Also, a story in Jira contains the granular level information such as goals, vision, benefits, team, etc. whereas epic represents a big project which is based on a theme or a topic, and it is a part of the product roadmap.

Final Thoughts

I hope by now you have a basic understanding of Jira epics. I have covered what Jira epic is, why it is needed, how it is created, and its important features. When you are working on Jira, you must know about epics. So go ahead and try creating an epic in your Jira project to learn more about it.


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