Using JIRA Agile Simplified Workflow

What is Simplified Workflow?

Every board can represent one or more projects, however Simplified Workflow can only be used if a board represents a single project. Every project uses either a JIRA Workflow or a Simplified Workflow to control the transitioning of issues from one status to another. The workflow determines which statuses are available.

Your project will be using the Simplified Workflow if:

  • You created the project in JIRA and selected the 'Agile Scrum' or 'Agile Kanban' project type.
  • You created a new board and new project in JIRA Agile and chose 'Agile Simplified Workflow' as the workflow.
  • You migrated your board to use the Simplified Workflow.

If your project was created together with a board via the JIRA Agile Getting Started page, it will probably be using a Simplified Workflow. If your project was created via JIRA, it will be using a JIRA Workflow.

Simplified Workflow offers the following benefits:

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" which 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 from within JIRA Agile (see Adding a new status on the Configuring Columns page), provided you have the 'Administer Projects' permission (for the one project that is on the board).

(info) For details about steps, transitions and conditions, please see the JIRA documentation on Configuring Workflow.

Switching to Simplified Workflow

If your project(s) are currently using JIRA workflow, you may want to switch to Simplified Workflow. You will then be able to easily add new statuses from within JIRA Agile.

(info) The default steps for the Simplified Workflow will not be created when you switch from a JIRA workflow. Your existing workflow steps will 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 Agile.

To switch to Simplified Workflow:

  1. (warning) Before you begin, please back up your JIRA data (see the JIRA documentation on Backing Up Data. Please note that switching to Simplified Workflow will migrate all of the project's issues to the new workflow, which may take some time. (The project's original workflow and scheme not be changed, so any other projects using these will not be affected.)
  2. Navigate to the desired board, then click Board > Configure.
  3. Click the Columns tab.

  4. Click the Simplify workflow button as shown in Screenshot 1 (below).
    (info) In some cases this button may not be available — please see Why can't I switch to Simplified Workflow? (below).

  5. Your project(s) will switch to use Simplified Workflow as shown in Screenshot 2 (below). The Add Status button will now be shown.

Screenshot 1: the 'Board Configuration' screen ('Columns' tab) — this board is not using Simplified Workflow:

Screenshot 2: the 'Board Configuration' screen ('Columns' tab) — this board is using Simplified Workflow:

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

  1. Navigate to the desired board, then click Board > Configure.
  2. Click the Columns tab. You will see either:

    • The following words: Using Simplified Workflow (see Screenshot 2 above)

    • The Simplify workflow button (see Screenshot 1 above)

    • The following words: Simplified Workflow unavailable (see explanation below)

Why can't I switch to Simplified Workflow?

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); and
  • That project uses a JIRA workflow scheme which only has one workflow for all issue types; and
  • Your workflow only uses Post Functions, Validators, and Conditions which are provided by Atlassian (not any which are provided by add-ons); and
  • You have the 'JIRA Administrators' global permission; and
  • The existing workflow has at least one outgoing transition for each status; and
  • You are using JIRA version 5.0.4 or later (please see Supported Platforms).

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13 Archived comments

  1. User avatar

    Marie-Pierre Courrent

    How to set-up the default statut value when an issue is created?

    I have a default statut called "open" but i would like to change it for an another one when i create new issue.

    how it's possible to do that ?

    Thank's for your response

    14 Nov 2013
    1. User avatar

      Patrick Metzdorf

      One way to do it is to rename / edit the "Open" status in the workflow designer.

      However, I think that will affect all other workflows also using that status. If that's what you want, great, do that. If not, I don't think you can create a new default status on creation. I tried.

      I even looked for a way to automatically transition every issue from Open to another status of my choice, but I think that needs to be custom scripted, as I haven't found a way within vanilla JIRA.

      21 Nov 2013
  2. User avatar

    Rasmus Knudsen

    You Write:

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

    May I ask why there is this limit?

    Could it be possible to provide the option to simplify workflow on all projects that are mapped to an agile board, if the projects are not mapped to any other agile boards??

    06 Dec 2013
    1. User avatar

      Rob Fagen

      I think this limit might be there because if you have more than one project's issues represented on the board, anyone who is an admin for the one project would have to be an admin for all projects represented.

      We've been running into that a lot where the owner of a rapidboard cannot create or close sprints unless they are a project admin for all projects represented on the board. The complexity also comes from issues that move between projects and may continue to have sprint IDs from the prior project.

      01 Feb 2014
  3. User avatar

    Hreiðar Arnarsson

    I feel like the automatic creation of workflow is missing the option for Cancelled or similar. I could add that step to the workflow myself but I get a warning that it will mess up the agile board.

    08 Jan 2014
  4. User avatar

    Adam LeVasseur

    How about closing issues? (using agile simple workflow)

    It's common to have to just say "won't fix" to tickets, any easy way to add this in? 

    07 May 2014
  5. User avatar

    Alan Turner

    The 'JIRA administrators' access is frustrating to simplify workflow.  We enable our project managers and scrum masters to create projects (via the project creator plugin) and create boards... the only step they can't do themselves is 'simplify workflow' - I don't want them to have jira-administrator access! Are there plans to change this?

    14 Oct 2014
  6. User avatar

    anuj bhalla

    I want to configure Kanban board for Analysis & design team and Scrum Board for Build & test but both teams using the same project.

    1) What's the best way to configure workflow so that outcome from Kanban team "Ready for Development" becomes input to scrum team?

    2) Issues which were classified as DONE i.e. (Ready for Development) from Kanban do not get closed in JIRA and is visible in Plan mode for Scrum mode to manage sprint backlog.

    06 Jan 2015
  7. User avatar

    Amanda Varella

    Frequently I start with a simplified workflow and as the worflow gets more complicated, I would like to revert to an "unsimplified" workflow. Is there any easy way to do this?


    13 Feb 2015
    1. User avatar

      Andrew Lui [Atlassian Technical Writer]

      Hi Amanda, 

      If your team has outgrown the simplified workflow, you can switch your project to use a new workflow, which you can customise as much as you want. Check out Configuring Workflow

      If you need further help with this, don't hesitate to get in touch with our support team.

      Kind regards,

      15 Feb 2015
  8. User avatar

    Christian Roestel

    Why does the Simplified workflow not follow JIRA permissions? AKA, only the system admin can create new status? People make typos or change their mind and now the system has 1000's of status. for example, below are some of the status we have for 'In Progress'

    • inProgress
    • inprogress
    • In Progress
    • in Progress
    • In progress
    • In progres

    26 Aug 2015
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