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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