Documentation for GreenHopper 4.2.x . Documentation for other versions of JIRA Agile is available too.
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An epic is essentially a large user story that can be broken up into several smaller user stories. Epics are typically used to capture large and complex items from the product backlog that are low priority and are yet to be defined in great detail.

Epics are implemented in GreenHopper via labels, so you will first need to install the JIRA Labels plugin as it is not included by default. Labels are used to associate cards to a parent epic. You will need to set up a custom label field in JIRA and then add this to your card templates. Once you have added the label to your card template, you can specify the issue key for the parent epic in that label field on each related card.You can then view all cards related to that epic via the GreenHopper search.

We recommend that you set up a new issue type to use for epics. This is not essential, but it will help you to distinguish epics from other issue types like stories.

For example, you may create an issue for an epic (with the 'Epic' issue type, if you've set up that issue type) and a number of issues for the stories, tasks, etc, to be associated with the epic. The stories, tasks, etc, would then be associated with the parent epic by specifying the issue key of epic in the label field on the cards for the stories, tasks, etc.

Setting up epics for your project is a simple four-step process:

Creating an 'Epic' Issue Type in JIRA

(info) As mentioned above, creating an 'Epic' issue type is optional. If you don't want to do this, you can simply configure your cards to use the 'epic' custom field as described below.

To create an 'Epic' issue type,

  1. Log in as a user with the 'JIRA Administrators' global permission.
  2. Bring up the administration page by clicking either the 'Administration' link on the top bar or the title of the Administration box on the dashboard.
  3. Create a new issue type, as described in the JIRA documentation: Defining Issue Type Field Values and name it 'Epic'.
  4. Associate the issue type with your project, if you have an issue type scheme set up for it, as described in the JIRA documentation: Associating Issue Types with Projects

Creating an 'Epic' Custom Field in JIRA

(info) As mentioned above, creating an 'Epic' custom field requires the JIRA Labels Plugin to be installed.

To create an 'Epic' custom field,

  1. Log in as a user with the 'JIRA Administrators' global permission.
  2. Bring up the administration page by clicking either the 'Administration' link on the top bar or the title of the Administration box on the dashboard.
  3. Create a new custom field of the 'Label Field' type, as described in the JIRA documentation: Adding a Custom Field and name it 'Epic'.
  4. Associate the custom field with your project.

Configuring your Cards to Use the 'Epic' Custom Field

To configure your cards to use the 'Epic' custom field,

  1. Log in as a user with the 'Administer Projects' permission for the project.
  2. Click the 'Tools' menu and click 'Configuration' from the dropdown. The project configuration page will display.
  3. Click the 'CARD TEMPLATES' tab. The issue card and list template configuration screen will display. The 'List' view will be located in the top panel, the 'Card' view in the bottom left panel and the 'Summary' view in the bottom right panel.
  4. Configure the card templates for your project as described in Configuring your Card Templates and add the 'Epic' custom field to the desired issue types.