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All JIRA projects contain issues that your team can view, work on, and transition through stages of work — from creation to completion. The path that your issues take is called a workflow. Each JIRA workflow is composed of a set of statuses (the state your work can be in) and transitions (how your work moves between statuses) that your issue moves through during its lifecycle, and typically represents work processes within your organization.  

In addition, JIRA uses workflow schemes to define the relationship between issue types and workflows. Workflow schemes are associated with a project, and make it possible to use a different workflow for different combinations of project and issue types.

JIRA administrators and project administrators have different permissions when it comes to workflows.

Project administrators

As a project administrator, you can only edit a workflow that belongs to your project if:

  • the workflow isn't shared with any other projects (it's only available in your project),
  • the workflow isn't the default JIRA workflow (no-one can edit these workflows).

If the workflow is shared with another project, you'll see that information when you view the workflow. You'll also see how many issue types share the workflow, and would be affected by any changes you may make. You can make the following changes to the workflow:

  • Add a status (the statuses must already exist in the JIRA instance, you can't create, remove or delete statuses),
  • Create, add, edit or delete transitions (you can't edit a transition's properties, conditions, validators or post-functions).
To view a workflow
  1. Select Projects and choose the project whose workflow/s you want to view.
  2. Select Project settings in the sidebar.
  3. Select an issue type within the Issue types section. The workflow for that issue will display. If you're able to edit the workflow, you'll see an Edit button. If the workflow is shared with another project or issue type/s, that information will be available, and you can view it by clicking the relevant link.
To edit a workflow
  1. From the issue type screen, select Edit Workflow.
  2. You can add a status or transition by clicking the relevant button. You can edit existing transitions by selecting them.
  3. Publish you workflow to make it active.

If you don't publish the workflow, it'll remain as a draft until such time as you publish it, or discard it. If you have a draft workflow present on your project, and you want to see the original workflow that's currently active, select Project settings > Workflows, and select the View as text / diagram link.

JIRA administrators

As a JIRA administrator, you can complete the actions listed in the table below. The actions you have available are more extensive, and the documentation links will direct you to the Administrator documentation set.

What you can do... Documentation
  • Edit existing workflows
  • Create new workflows
  • Configure existing workflows

Working with workflows

  • Add a workflow scheme
  • Configure a workflow scheme
  • Managing workflow schemes

Configuring workflow schemes

  • Import and export workflows
  • Activate and deactivate workflows

Managing your workflows

  • Adding custom events
  • Configuring the initial status
  • Working in text mode
  • Configuring workflow triggers
  • Using validators and custom fields
  • Using XML to create a workflow
  • Workflow properties

Advanced workflow configuration

Last modified on May 5, 2017

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