Working with epics

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An epic captures a large body of work, e.g. performance-related work in a release. It is essentially a large user story that can be broken down into a number of smaller stories. An epic can span more than one project, if multiple projects are included in the board to which the epic belongs. 

Unlike sprints, scope change in epics is a natural aspect of agile development. Epics are almost always delivered over a set of sprints. As a team learns more about an epic through development and customer feedback, some user stories will be added and removed to optimize the team's release time.

Before you begin

  • The functions for managing epics require different permissions. For example, you need the 'Edit Issues' permission to add an issue to an epic. Read Permissions overview for more information.

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Managing epics

To manage epics in a Scrum project:

  1. Open your board, and click Backlog.

  2. Click EPICS on the left side of the board (aligned vertically) to open it.

    Add a new epic Click Create epic (you will need to hover over the 'EPICS' panel to show this link), enter the epic details, and create it.
    Update an epic's details For the epic name, click the arrow next to the name, then choose Edit name.
    For other fields, click the arrow next to the epic's name, then choose View epic details. You can then edit the epic like any other issue.
    Change an epic's color on the board Click the arrow next to the epic's name, then choose the color from the menu.
    Add an issue to an epic To add an existing issue, drag and drop the issue onto the epic in the 'EPICS' panel.
    To add a new issue, click Create issue in epic (if this does not show, you need to expand the epic details in the 'EPICS' panel.
    Remove an issue from an epic Drag and drop the issue onto Issues without epics in the 'EPICS' panel.
    Alternatively, view the detailed view of the issue on the board, locate the Epic field, then click the 'x' in the epic name lozenge (this method also works in the Active sprints of a board).
    Filter issues by epic Click the epic in the 'EPICS' panel to show only issues in that epic. Click All issues to remove the filter. Alternatively, click Clear all filters next to the sprint's name.
    Complete an epic Click the arrow next to the epic's name, then choose Mark as Done from the menu.
    This will set the epic's Epic Status field to "Done", but will not affect the epic's workflow or its Status field
    , and n
    one of the epic's issues will be affected.

Screenshot: viewing an epic in Backlog

Note that the blue horizontal bar under an epic's details (in the 'EPICS' panel) indicates progress towards completing the work estimated for the issues added to the epic. This bar only represents progress on the estimated issues in an epic.


To manage epics in a Kanban project:

  1. Configure your Kanban board to base the swimlanes on epics. See Configuring swimlanes for details.
  2. View your board. Every epic that has issues is shown as a swimlane on the Kanban board. 
  3. If you want to view the epic itself, open any issue in the epic in a new browser tab (i.e. not in the issue detail view on the board), then click the lozenge in the Epic link field of the issue.

Screenshot: viewing epic details in the Issue Detail view

Linking a Confluence page to an Epic

If you have linked your JIRA Software instance to a Confluence instance, you can create and link Confluence pages to your epics. For example, you may want to link your epic to a specification or design document in Confluence.

Learn more: Linking a Confluence page to an epic


  • You can also use the JQL Epic Link  field to search for an epic's issues — see JQL for details.
  • There is no way to reopen an epic from the board. However, if you are a JIRA admin, you can reopen an epic via the following workaround:
    1. Add the Epic Status field to the View and Edit screens of your project.
    2. View the epic issue in JIRA.
    3. Edit the epic issue and set Epic Status to either "To Do" or "In Progress".
    4. (optional) Undo step 1.

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.

Read the following related topics:

Last modified on Jun 28, 2017

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