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Workflows need to be activated to use them in JIRA. Activating a workflow is the process of mapping the workflow to a workflow scheme, and then associating the workflow scheme with a project.

A workflow scheme defines a set of associations – or mappings – between a workflow and an issue type. Workflow schemes are associated with a project and make it possible to use a different workflow for every combination of project and issue type.

Some terminology:

  • Active workflows are those that are currently being used. Inactive workflows are those that are not associated with any workflow schemes, or are associated with workflow schemes that are not associated with any projects.
  • Active workflow schemes are those associated with projects. Inactive workflow schemes are not associated with any projects.

(info) To configure a workflow scheme, see Configuring workflow schemes.

On this page:

Activating a workflow

To activate a workflow:

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Create a workflow scheme or find an existing workflow scheme. See Configuring workflow schemes for instructions.
  3. Configure the workflow scheme to use your workflow. See Configuring workflow schemes for instructions.
  4. Associate your workflow scheme with a project, as described in the Associating a workflow scheme with a project section below.

Associating a workflow scheme with a project

To associate a workflow scheme with a project:

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
    (info) In some cases, JIRA will drop you out of administration mode. To get back, click the Administer Project button on the top right.
  2. Choose > Projects, and click the name of a project. The Project Summary page is displayed.
    (tick) Keyboard shortcut: g + g + start typing projects

    Projects Summary screen

  3. Click Workflows on the left of the Project Summary page (you can also click the More link in the Workflows section in the middle of the screen). The Workflows page is displayed, indicating the current workflow scheme used by the project.
  4. Click the Switch Scheme link to display the Associate Workflow Scheme to Project page.

  5. Select the relevant workflow scheme from the Scheme list and click the Associate button to begin the migration process.
    Each issue has to be in a valid status. The valid statuses for an issue are defined by its workflow. This means that when changing a workflow, you may need to tell JIRA the status for specific issues after the change.

    Publish Workflows status mapping screen

    A screen displays that indicates the progress of migrating all the project's issues to the updated scheme's workflows.

  6. Click Acknowledge to finish the process. A message displays letting you know that your workflows have been published.

(info) Please Note:

  • You can associate a single workflow scheme with more than one project although, only one workflow scheme can be associated with a given project.
  • The issue type scheme associated with a project defines the issue types that are available to that project. If an issue type is not defined in the project's issue type scheme, its workflow is not used.

Disassociating a workflow scheme from a project

A JIRA project must always be associated with a workflow scheme, since all issues must move through a workflow, even if that workflow only consists of a single Create Issue transition.

All JIRA projects with workflows that haven't been modified (in any way) or that have not yet been associated with a different workflow scheme, use JIRA's system workflow. So, in this sense, disassociating a workflow scheme means reassociating your project's workflow with JIRA's default workflow scheme.

To dissociate a workflow scheme from a project:

  1. Follow the instructions in Associating a workflow scheme with a project above.
  2. When selecting the workflow scheme from the Scheme list, select the Default workflow scheme
  3. Click the Associate button.
  4. Follow the wizard, which guides you through migrating all of the project's issues to the JIRA's system workflow.


  1. Is there a way to 'use a different scheme' for multiple projects at once. A bulk edit of sorts?

    1. Anonymous

      I was looking for this as well, but from given documentation there is no way to bulk this.


      1. Hi,

        Unfortunately there is no bulk edit function for associating workflow schemes with projects. Please feel free to raise a request for this feature in

        Kind Regards,


        1. As expected, this feature has already been requested:

          It has been requested on November 17th 2004

          I encourage everyone to vote on this issue

  2. Anonymous

    It is not really easy to add a new workflow project by project. Atlassian should consider some flexible options.

  3. Anonymous


    It would have been great to get some feedback on how to link projects to schemes. It seems that this can't be done in the OnDemand version but there was no reaction by Giles or anyone else concerning this. Could you please state if there is any way to link projects to workflow schemes in the OnDemand version?

    Thanks, M.


    1. Hi,

      The process for associating a workflow scheme to a project in JIRA OnDemand is the same as on premises JIRA. The only difference for JIRA OnDemand is that you navigate to the workflow scheme viewer via Administration > Issues tab > Projects > (your project name link) and click on the name of the workflow scheme in the Workflows section.

      Kind Regards,


      1. Hi Andrew


        Thanks for the reply. I have also just found it:

        Change Workflow Scheme with OnDemand Version

        Go To Administration | Issues

        > Projects

        > Select Project

        > Click on Scheme's name in section Workflows

        > Select (Change)

        > Change Scheme

        > Click on Button Associate

  4. Anonymous

    Is there a way to change the default workflow scheme for new projects to me new custom workflow?

    1. Hi there

      You will find the answer just above your question. Or on top of the page.

      1. Anonymous

        That's how to change the workflow once the project has already been created.

        When I add a project from scratch, how can I get the default workflow set as my own workflow, rather than having to make a manual change each time?

        1. Hi,

          If it is the DEFAULT workflow you should not be coerced to do anything.

          The only precondition should be, that the selected workflow is really defined as default.



        2. Anonymous

          You cannot change any "default" schemes in JIRA. You can find more information on the matter at

          1. Hmhm, you are right. As far as I remember there is no way to bulk change this ( I believe someone already complaint about this in one of the threads). 

            Greetings, Mel

            1. If you are talking about bulk changing workflow schemes for several projects at once, it cannot be done.

              I tried the JIRA CLI plugin, and while it does allow you to change the worklflow scheme of several projects at once, it will only work if the two workflow schemes can "seamlessly" be changed, that is, you wouldn't need to remap statuses. For more info:

              Also please vote on (has been opened for almost 8 years)

  5. Guys, is it possible to have the reviewer transition JIRA issue status from within Crucible...? 

  6. spot on. This was exactly what I was looking for.

    Did the trick for me!

  7. Anonymous

    It seems odd to me (and not a little frustrating... (sad) ) that if I want to reject the workflow I have created (my current one is a 12-stepper...) and return to the default, and it uses all the Issue Types available, that I - as Administrator - cannot just delete it. It appears I have to assign all 13 issue types to the new (JIRA default) workflow. It would be far simpler for me to delete the Workflow I have created, and load the default JIRA..


  8. Anonymous

    I am trying to implement a workflow for issuetype bug and another workflow for issuetype requirement. Requirement is a custom issue type. I have created separate workflow and workflow schemes for both the issue types. However, when I try to switch scheme, I have to map statuses for both issue types, which is messing up my workflows. Help?

  9. We're trying to figure out if you can dynamically assign tickets to group members as a story moves through a workflow. We found the "Post Functions" section of the transition configuration, but the only options are to select "unassigned", "Automatic" (which goes to the project lead), and to specify a single user to assign it to. If, for example, when I move a ticket to "Ready for QA", and I have a group of QAs, I want JIRA to automagically assign the story to one of the people in the group. Round robin, or based on number of active tickets assigned or something.