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Working with Epics

An epic captures a large body of work. It is essentially a large user story that can be broken down into a number of smaller stories. It may take several sprints to complete an epic. 

An epic can span more than one project, if multiple projects are included in the board to which the epic belongs.

This page describes how to view epics. Read the following topics to learn more about working with epics.

Viewing an epic

Go to the Backlog to see a list of epics at the left of the screen. Drag-and-drop epics to re-order them (note, this also changes how they are ordered in the Active Sprints). Click an epic's name to view all the issues belonging to that epic, across all sprints (see screenshot below).


  • Filtering by version takes precedence over filtering by epic. This means that if you have a version selected on your board (see Planning a Version), then epics that do not have any issues in the version will be greyed out.

Screenshot: viewing an epic in the Backlog

You can also view an epic issue in JIRA to see a list of the stories (issues) it contains:

Screenshot: viewing an epic in JIRA

(tick) You can also use the JQL Epic Link  field to search for an epic's issues — see the JIRA JQL documentation for details.

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33 Archived comments

  1. User avatar

    Laszlo Kremer

    Please create a filter/quickfilter in the reporting section where we can filter for Done/Not Done Epics. Currently all the done Epics are in the list, and no idea how to get rid of them, We are mostly interested in viewing the current Epics on the reporting page, but it is full of old, already Done epics. There are occasions where we want to review the finished epics, the we could use this filter to show the Epics which are already closed.

    30 Aug 2013
    1. User avatar

      Wm. Hunter Tammaro

      For anyone coming across this with the same question - setting an epic's Status to Closed won't hide it from the dropdown.But you can hide it using the dropdown on the epic panel of the Backlog to mark it as Done, which hides it from the panel. It uses a separate field, "Epic Status," for some reason.

      05 May 2015
  2. User avatar

    Joel Bird

    Agreed!  This would be ideal so that the view is not so overwhelming.  

    09 Sep 2013
  3. User avatar

    Darren Jones

    If viewing a task with sub-tasks in JIRA, the "Sub-tasks" list includes Original/Remaining Estimate bar-charts, and percent worked, for each sub-task. And the "Time Tracking" panel allows all sub-task time to be rolled up into an overall total. This means you get a simple overall picture of the parent task's workload, and the sub-tasks' progress, which is very useful.

    Is there any way to get the same behaviour but for Epics and "Issues in Epic", when viewing an Epic?

    15 Sep 2013
  4. User avatar

    Darren Jones

    Similarly, is there any way to base swimlanes on Epics, on a Kanban board?

    15 Sep 2013
  5. User avatar

    Perry Moutzouros

    BUMP. Someone just asked me how to show the time rolled up to the Epic. We have 10 stories inside an epic. Each story has tasks. Everything has an estimate (from the story on down) Yet the Epic doesn't show the estimated time. What am I missing?


    16 Sep 2013
  6. User avatar

    Emmanuel Szabados

    We have Epics and stories on multiple Projects. It would be really useful to be able to display in a Scrum Board, Plan mode, list of Epics to:

    • prioritzed them quickly (Some Epics are small on our side)
    • do a quick status with Upper-managment: here is the list of epics we have cross projects.

    Curently we use a Kanban board that Display Epics. Works not easy to Plan (sad)


    25 Oct 2013
  7. User avatar

    Kathi Paquet

    Is there a way to group a bunch of Epics together into a larger trackable Epic?  I have a Big Initiative (Implement xyz website) at the Portfolio level and would like to create Features (which is also an Epic e.g. Landing Page, PGP, PDP, etc.) at the Program level. I know VersionOne has this capability but do not want to switch.  thanks, Kathi

    27 Nov 2013
    1. User avatar

      Dinesh Rajwani

      This would be really useful, any way around this today ? sometimes an epic itself is part of a bigger initiative. with no other concept like theme or goal - allowing nested epics would be really useful. 

      02 Jun 2014
      1. User avatar

        Rob Geraedts

        You could use Confluence for this. We use Confluence to create a Requirement page. This page describes the "big picture"  and it also has links to one or more Epics in Jira. This way, we keep track of the higher level requirements.


        Also, when an epic link is added to the Confluence page, you can jump to this page from the Epic in Jira.

        05 Jun 2014
      1. User avatar

        Robert Leitch [ALM Works]

        Dinesh Rajwani, with our Structure plugin you can group Epics under any other issues (section titled Breaking the Agile mold) and get numerical values (estimates, story points, etc.) and progress rolled up into them.

        18 Jun 2014
        1. User avatar

          Dinesh Rajwani

          Looks promising, we would certainly give it a try.

          24 Jun 2014
  8. User avatar

    Jon Richards

    Does anyone know how to drag an Epic to a version in the plan board?

    04 Dec 2013
    1. User avatar

      Bill Latham

      Epics are issues that live in projects.  Projects have their own versions.  Long story short, don't think you can drag an epic to a version.  

      You can, however, have epics showing up for various projects through the Agile board configuration.  Just make sure your board query will include content from more than one project (e.g., project in ("Project 1", "Project 2").  All of your epics from each project will show up on the same board.  You can also have versions from the different projects showing up on the same board via the same method (by modifying your board query).  You may need to add identically named versions to your projects (so that Project 1 has a version called Version 3 and Project 2 also has a version called Version 3), if your projects all feed into a master version.

      If you really want to get fancy, you can have project-specific boards where you manage inside the project, and then have one central board that you use for planning (that essentially brings in all of your epics, projects, and the project versions into the same board).

      27 Mar 2014
  9. User avatar

    Gleb Stsenov

    Hello! Please add showing time estimates for epics (as for usual tasks with subtasks) in "Issues in Epic" section (smile)

    23 Dec 2013
  10. User avatar

    Eduard Luca

    I have 2 questions about epics:

    1. What's the difference between creating an issue inside an epic and creating a sub-task?
    2. If I use Agile in Work mode, the epic shows up in addition to the epic issues. Why is that? Shouldn't the epic move along through the states based on how its issues move?


    21 Jan 2014
  11. User avatar

    Jérôme Decq


    It seems like the epic visibility across rapid boards is somewhat surprising. I have not completely troubleshoot yet but it seems like the following scenario works:

    1. create a board A (for a whole project)
    2. create epics
    3. create another board B (for a sub team for instance)
    4. epics created at step 2. are visible on the board B

    However, once the board B is created, it seems like if you create epics from board A, then they are not visible on board B.

    Anyone aware of a workaround to force sync the 2 boards ?

    05 Jun 2014
    1. User avatar

      Bill Latham

      Changing the filter for the board will let you get the epics to appear on more than one board.  Remember that epics are issue types like bugs and new features – if your filter criteria don't include epics, add the epics.  

      05 Jun 2014
  12. User avatar

    Gunjan Sood


    As shown above in top most screen shot ( named as Screenshot: viewing an epic in Plan mode), you have shown fields like issue, completed, un-estimated and estimate under citrus EPIC.

    For my various EPICs, I see the similar view. However, I would like to customise it by adding few additional details. I tried to find out the way, however couldn't get much help on that front.

    My query is:

    1) Is there a way I can customise this view. I would like to add few fields like delta of remaining estimate for that EPIC

    Please advise.



    22 Sep 2014
  13. User avatar

    Jim Constant

    I currently have a backlog of ~100 issues that are large stories. However, I didn't enter them into JIRA as epics (side note: I do have about 8 epics created and these stories are associated to them). But we're about to begin actual development and we'll be breaking these large stories down into very small ones when we take them into a sprint.

    Since I didn't create them as epics to begin with, am I going to have to create an epic for each one of these and then delete the large story?

    I'd really like to be able to breakdown a story of any size into smaller stories easily when it's time to develop them and this seems like an inordinate amount of work to do that. If I want to break an 8 into a two 3 point stories and 3 one point stories, is there an easy way to do this?

    31 Oct 2014
    1. User avatar

      Ado Luna

      Try converting the issue type from user story to epic. 


      03 Jun 2015
  14. User avatar

    Michael Dugan

    I have a user that wants to have an issue Story accessible by several Agile boards.  Is that even possible?  Sounds insane to me.  Comments/Suggestions?  Thanks

    07 Nov 2014
    1. User avatar

      Jérôme Decq

      Michael Dugan, this is perfectly feasible, since a board corresponds to a query. As long as the issue is present in the query corresponding to the board, it will be present across multiple boards.

      I personally use this in order to have different views (per theme, per team, per sub-project, you name it) of the same actual product, and especially useful for EPICs that can be part of more than one "view"

      07 Nov 2014
  15. User avatar

    Michael Dugan

    We've had an issue where an issue was on two boards with the sprint names the same.  When the issue was closed on one board all the issues on the other board went to the backlog.  I've been told this can be solved by naming sprints unique to each board.  Have you experienced this?

    07 Nov 2014
    1. User avatar

      Jérôme Decq

      You mean when you closed the Sprint, not when you closed the issue ?

      07 Nov 2014
  16. User avatar

    Michael Dugan

    NO, when the issue was worked on one board, it was assigned to someone on another team, and closed, the sprint on the other board went to the backlog!  I've raised the issue with Atlassian and they mentioned that sprint names should be unique.  Really weird.  And this is a bit worrisome.

    07 Nov 2014
    1. User avatar

      Jérôme Decq

      I never encountered this issue, but my sprints are actually the same accross the boards. Or said otherwise, an issue is only assigned to one Sprint no matter the board.

      07 Nov 2014
  17. User avatar

    Michael Dugan

    Ok, thanks Jérôme.

    07 Nov 2014
  18. User avatar

    Vyacheslav Fursov

    Now, with release of 6.6.51 this page needs to be update to reflect the fact, that Kanban can use epics in swimlanes, too!

    14 Jan 2015
  19. User avatar

    Steffen Stamprath

    Tip: With the plugin "Epic Sum Up" you have some nice time feature (estimated, worked, over estimated, won time, ...) for an epic within all the sub issues/sub tasks:
    Hope it helps you!

    08 Apr 2015
  20. User avatar

    Joaquin Brillembourg

    Hello I want to know what are differences between Epics and Components... Since both are used to capture various items or issues. Thanks!

    15 Jun 2015
    1. User avatar

      Andrew Lui [Atlassian Technical Writer]

      Hi Joaquin,

      This answer on our forums may help.

      Kind regards,

      15 Jun 2015
  21. User avatar

    Trudy Claspill

    If you change the order of Epics, does that have any impact on the Ranking of Issues? Do the issues of the higher priority Epic automatically move above the issues of the lower priority epic?

    30 Jul 2015
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