Using the Backlog

The Backlog is where you plan your sprints. When a sprint is ready to begin, click Start Sprint to move it into the Active sprints.

(info) The Backlog is only available for Scrum boards.

To view the backlog for a board:

  1. Click the Agile link's down-arrow in the top navigation bar, then select your preferred board from the resulting dropdown menu.
  2. Your board will be displayed. Click Backlog.


Screenshot: the Backlog of a Scrum board (with an issue selected)

In the Backlog of the board you can:

  • Prioritise the backlog (shown under sprints on the board) — Create issues for your backlog, rank and estimate them, and drag-and-drop to add them to a sprint.
    (info) Right-click selected issues to add them to a sprint, send them to the top/bottom of the backlog, export them to Excel, view them in the JIRA Issue Navigator, or perform Bulk Operations.
  • Estimate Stories — You can use the 'J' and 'K' keys to move through issues in the backlog and get details on the right-hand side of the screen. Plug in your estimates or story points as you go. 
    (info) Note that, by default, the Story Points field is only available to issues of type 'Story' or 'Epic' — you can change this as described in JIRA Agile - JIRA Configuration.
  • Create Sub-Tasks — To break a story (issue) down into implementable chunks, go to the sub-task section (click the sub-tasks icon within the story that you'd like to have a sub-task) to view and create sub-tasks.
  • Create new Issues — Use inline issue create to quickly add issues to your backlog. Note that this functionality only works if you only filter your Scrum board for one project.
  • Organise via Epics — Group related stories into an epic. Click EPICS to view the Epics panel, where you can create epics, drag-and-drop issues into epics, and filter by epics.
  • Identify the workload for specialists — The avatars for users (specialists) who have work assigned to them in a sprint are shown at the top of a sprint. Click  to view the sprint workload for assignees.
  • Plan Versions — Assign issues to upcoming versions. Click VERSIONS to view the Versions panel, where you can create and edit versions, assign issues to versions via drag-and-drop, and filter by versions.
  • Plan, and Plan Again — When you're happy with the stories for the iteration, start a sprint and the stories will move into the Active sprints. While a sprint is active in the Active sprints, you can still plan subsequent iterations in the Backlog (click Add Sprint), but you won't be able to start them until the active iteration is completed. (You can, however, drag and drop an issue in the Backlog onto the active sprint.) Note that you can only start (or complete) a sprint if you have 'Administer Projects' permission for all projects that match the board's filter.

An issue will only be visible in the Backlog if:

  • the issue is not a Sub-Task,
  • the issue matches the board's Saved Filter (see Configuring Filters),
  • the issue's status maps to one of the board's columns (but not the 'Done' column), and
  • there is at least a status being mapped to the right most column. Eg. If you have the columns To Do, In Progress and Done, ensure that you have a status mapped to In Progress at least. If you map all the statuses to the first column (To Do), you will not be able to see any issues in the Backlog.

Screenshot: right-clicking an issue in the Backlog

Using Quick Filters

A Quick Filter refines the collection of issues displayed on your board. Quick Filters appear immediately below the board name in the Backlog and Active sprints. Click a Quick Filter to apply it (click it again to turn it off). 

By default your board includes two Quick Filters:

  • Only My Issues — Only displays issues which are assigned to you.
  • Recently Updated — Only displays issues which were updated in the last 24 hours.

If any custom Quick Filters have been configured for your board, they will appear next to Only My Issues and Recently Updated.

(tick) Tip: Use a quick filter to improve the display of your board by hiding issues that you don't want to see. For example, if your "Done" column (Active sprints/Kanban board) is accumulating a lot of tasks prior to a release, hide them with a Quick Filter.

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