Using your Scrum backlog

The Backlog of a Scrum board shows the issues for your project(s) grouped into a backlog and sprints. In the Scrum backlog, you can create and update issues, drag and drop issues to rank them, or assign them to sprints, epics, or versions, manage epics, and more. You would typically use the Scrum backlog when building a backlog of issues, planning a new version, and planning a sprint.

On this page:

Before you begin

Different functionalities in the Scrum backlog require different permissions. For example, to start a sprint, you need to be a project administrator for all projects that match the board's filter. See Permissions overview for more information.

About the Scrum backlog

An issue will only be visible in the Scrum backlog if:

  • the issue is not a sub-task,
  • the issue matches the board's saved filter, 
  • 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. 
    e.g. 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 Scrum backlog.

Accessing the Scrum backlog

Navigate to the  Backlog of your Scrum software development project.

Screenshot: sample Scrum backlog (with an issue selected)

What can I do in the Scrum backlog?

Task Instructions
Add issues to the backlog

Click Create in the header to open the 'Create Issue' dialog and create your issue. The issue will be added to the backlog under the currently selected issue, or at the top of the backlog if no issue is selected.


  • Tick the Create another checkbox in the 'Create Issue' dialog to keep it open, if you are creating multiple issues.
  • You can quickly create issues using the inline issue create feature. Just click + Create issue. Learn more.
Prioritize the backlog

Drag and drop an issue to rank it. You can also right-click the issue to open a menu that allows you to send it to the top or the bottom of the backlog.

View and edit an issue's details

Click the desired issue on the board. The issue's details will display in the issue detail view, where you can also edit some issue details, depending on the issue detail view configuration. To open the issue in a separate tab or window, right-click on the issue key.

To view the details of an epic issue, click the epic lozenge on the issue itself.

Estimate stories

Use the 'J' and 'K' keys to move through issues in the backlog and show the details on the right-hand side of the screen. Use the 'E' key to edit an issue, then update estimates or story points as you go.

By default, the Story Points field is only available to issues of type 'Story' or 'Epic'. See Configuring estimation and tracking for details.

Identify the workload for users

The avatars for users who have work assigned to them in a sprint are shown at the top of a sprint. Click ... (next to avatars) to view the sprint workload for assignees.

Create sub-tasks

Select the desired issue, press the '.' key, and type 'create sub-task' to open the 'Create Sub-task' dialog. Create the sub-task as desired.

Sub-tasks are useful for breaking a story (issue) down into implementable chunks.

Transition an issue

Drag and drop an issue from the Backlog section to the relevant sprint section, to move the issue from the backlog to the relevant sprint.

  When transitioning multiple issues...

Depending on the following conditions, you can transition multiple issues from the backlog to the next status in your project's workflow:

  • You have the transition issues permission.
  • The statuses of the issues are already mapped to the board's columns.
  • Your project's workflow supports the particular transition for the multiple issues selected, and all transition conditions are met.
  • The issues you're transitioning have the same set of transitions.
  • The issues you're transitioning don't have any associated transition screen.
  • You can select multiple issues by using the Shift or Ctrl key while clicking the issues.

Split an issue

Right-click an issue and select Split issue. You can split an issue in the Backlog or sprint sections, including any future sprints and any active sprint.

Splitting an issue is useful when an issue is so big, that it's better to divide it into two or more issues, and make work more manageable. Note that you can only split an issue from the Scrum backlog, and not from Active sprints.

  What happens when I split an issue?
  • If you split an issue in the Scrum backlog, the new issue will be sent to the Backlog section.
  • If you split an issue in one of the sprints (future or active), you can choose to send the new issue to either the backlog, or a future or active sprint.
  What happens to the issue details?
  • The new issue will be of the same issue type as the original issue. For example, if you split a story into two or more issues, the new issues will also be stories.
  • The new issue will have most of the same details stored in the original issue, including priority, component, label, etc.
  • The issue details that won't be copied over include work log, comments, issue history, issue links, etc — though the original issue will be linked to the new issue.
  • The new issue will have the summary that you entered upon splitting the issue.
  • If the original issue has estimates, you'll be able to enter estimates for the new issues as well. You can also update the estimate of the original issue as necessary.
  • The issue status also returns to the first step of the corresponding workflow, and the resolutions are cleared.
Flag an issue Right-click an issue and select Add flag. You can also add a comment with your flag, perhaps to indicate your reason for adding the flag.
Delete an issue

Right-click an issue and select Delete.

Find issues

Create your own Quick Filters to view only the issues you want. See Configuring Quick Filters for details.

Search for an issue by name, code, or assignee.

Organize stories into epics

Click EPICS (aligned vertically, left side of the board) to show the 'EPICS' panel. You can create epics, drag and drop issues into epics, and filter by epics via this panel.

An epic is essentially a large user story, used for grouping smaller stories. For example, you may have a 'Performance' theme for your release, which you could capture as an epic.

Plan versions

Click VERSIONS (aligned vertically, left side of the board) to show the 'VERSIONS' panel. You can create and edit versions, assign issues to versions via drag-and-drop, and filter by versions via this panel.

Note, you need to have at least one version in your project for this panel to display.

Plan sprints

Click Create Sprint, then drag and drop issues into your new sprint. You can also drag and drop the horizontal divider to add or remove multiple issues. The sprint footer will display the number of issues and total estimated work.

When you're happy with the issues for the sprint, click Start Sprint, and the stories will move into the Active sprints.

While a sprint is active in the Active sprints, you can still plan subsequent sprints in the backlog, but you won't be able to start them until the active sprint is completed. (You can, however, drag and drop an issue in the backlog onto the active sprint.)

Next steps

(info) Need help? If you can't find the answer you need in our documentation, we have other resources available to help you. See Getting help.

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