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Our alumnus Nick Muldoon published a brilliant blog that is helpful to anyone who is looking to spread Agile upwards in their organisation: Visualising Epics and Dependencies. I became introduced to this by a support inquiry about the reporting part of the process:

Issue Description:

I see that others have posted similar things in Answers, but none quite fit my issue. I have a Kanban board where I'm bringing in only the Epics for a project per this blog.

I cannot get the Control Chart to display data despite only selecting the ToDo and In Progress columns.

After reading the blog, I inferred that what's going on here is that the reporter had instructed her users to use the Epic Status field to track the status of an Epic, instead of workflow status. This is absolutely the intended use, as we want Epics to be generally unconstrained by the JIRA workflow process. The unfortunate side effect of this is that the Workflow Transitions that drive the Control Chart never occur.

We're going to create an Epic workflow that will allow us to transition Epics and continue to use the Epic Status field as the source of truth about an Epic's condition, without requiring duplicate effort during a transition.


Make sure that you are clear on which Workflow Statuses map to which Epic Statuses, and that they are created prior to starting this exercise. In addition, you'll need the JIRA Suite Utilities.

Prior to making this or any other major change, back up your data!


Step-by-step guide, Section 1: Creating the New Workflow

  1. Go to Administration > Issues > Workflows
  2. Click Add Workflow
  3. Give your Workflow a name and description
  4. Click Diagram to enter Design View
  5. If you want to use the default initial step, skip to step 9.
  6. Click on Add Existing Status: 
  7. Select your initial status from the menu
  8. Click Add
  9. Select the Create transition
  10. Click Post Functions
  11. Add a Post Function:
  12. Select Update Issue Custom Field
  13. Select Epic Status and type in the name of the Epic Status desired.
  14. If you chose to use an initial status other than the default in step 5, the next two steps will link the Create transition to it. If you did not, skip to step 15.
    1. Click Edit
    2. Select the Destination Step that matches your preferred initial step.
  15. Click on the workflow's name in the Breadcrumbs to return to the workflow, then click Diagram to return to Design mode
    1. If you've created a new initial step in Step 5, you can Remove the unused default step now. Otherwise, continue to step 16.
  16. Select your initial status, then click Add a Global Transition
  17. Give your transition a name and description. If you want users to view information or input data, you can select a Screen to be displayed.
  18. Repeat steps 10-13.
  19. To add additional Statuses, repeat steps 6-18. This is an example of what you'll end up with if you add the To Do, In Progress, and Done flow that matches the Epic status field:


Step-by-step guide, Section 2: Associating the Workflow with the Epic Issue Type

  1. Go to Administration > Issues > Workflow Schemes
  2. Click Edit for the workflow associated with your project
  3. Select Add Workflow > Add Existing and then choose your new workflow
  4. Select the Epic issue type
  5. Publish your new Workflow


  1. How can i do this in JIRA 5.1.8? On the postfunction "Update custom field value" there is no option to change epic status.



    See Screenshot:

  2. Step 12: the option is not available. We're using JIRA onDemand. Would it be possible to have more information about how to solve for this in the cloud?

  3. The JIRA Suite Utilities add-on is disabled by default in JIRA Cloud.