Planning sprints

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Every sprint starts with a planning meeting. When planning a sprint, your team would typically commit to deliver a set of stories that are pulled from the top of the backlog. In Jira Software, this involves creating a sprint, assigning stories to the sprint, and starting the sprint. The instructions on this page will help you complete these activities.

Before you begin

  • Sprints only apply to Scrum boards.
  • You must have ranking enabled on your board to use sprints. See Enabling ranking.
  • In general, sprint actions require the Manage Sprints permission. This is permission that gives you full rights to manage sprints. However, there are more granular permissions that give users the right to edit the goal and name of a sprint (Edit sprints) and start and end a sprint (Start/Complete sprints).
    There are also some sprint actions (e.g. adding issues to sprints, removing issues from sprints) that require the Schedule Issues and Edit Issues permissions. 
    See Permissions overview for more information.

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Creating a sprint

You can create a sprint for your current iteration, or multiple future sprints if you want to plan several iterations ahead.

  1. Go to the Backlog of your Scrum project.
  2. Click the Create sprint button at the top of the backlog.
  3. Add a start and an end date to your sprint (these can be future dates as well) or leave both date fields empty. 
  4. Click Create sprint.
  5. Once the sprint is created, click More (> Add sprint goal to add a goal for this sprint.

(tick) Tip:  Need to record your planning meeting notes somewhere? If you have Jira Software connected to Confluence, you can create a 'Meeting Notes' page via the Linked pages link. See Linking a Confluence page to a sprint  for details.

Adding issues to a sprint

In Scrum, scope creep during a sprint should be avoided. In addition, the team is supposed to deliver a working piece of software at the end of the sprint. This means that you need to know your team's capacity for work, as well as the amount of work they are committing to, when adding issues to a sprint.

Typically, your team would estimate issues before adding them to the sprint, so that you can see the total estimated work for the sprint (in the sprint footer). You can match this against your team's capacity for work by looking at past sprints. Tools like the Velocity Chart and Burndown Chart can help you with this. Don't worry if you don't have any historical data — you'll get a good idea of your team's velocity once they start completing sprints.


  • An issue cannot belong to more than one sprint.
  • A sprint can include issues from more than one project, if the board filter includes multiple projects.
  • If you add an issue to a sprint on one board, that particular sprint will also appear on all other boards that contain that particular issue.
  • Sub-tasks cannot be moved independently of their parents.

There are three ways to add an issue to a sprint:

Add existing issues to a sprint...

Use this when the issue already exists, and you want to add the issue to an active or future sprint.

In the Backlog, drag and drop the issues onto the relevant sprint.

If you want to add multiple issues you can either:

  • select the issue(s) (use Shift+Click or Ctrl+Click), right-click, then select the relevant sprint, or
  • drag the sprint footer down to include issues from the backlog.


Create then add an issue to an active sprint...

Use this when the issue doesn't exist, and you want to quickly add it to an active sprint.

After creating an issue in the Active sprints, click the Add to <sprint name> link in the confirmation dialog that displays. <Sprint name> will be the name of the sprint that you are currently viewing on the board.

Note, if you do not have the 'Edit Issues' and 'Schedule Issues' permissions for all projects included by the board's filter, the issue will be added to the backlog instead of the sprint.

Edit the Sprint field for an issue...

 Use this when editing an issue, and you know the name of the sprint (active and future sprints only).

Create or edit an issue and enter the sprint name in the Sprint field. If the Sprint field doesn't display on the Create Issue or Edit Issue dialog, choose Configure Fields, then select the Sprint field.

Note, if you update the Sprint field for multiple issues via bulk operations, you need to enter the Sprint ID, not Sprint name. To find the Sprint ID, navigate to an issue in the sprint, hover over the sprint name, and look in the URL for number in the sprint parameter.

If you want to remove an issue from a sprint, just drag it to the Backlog, or right-click and select Send to Top of Backlog/Bottom of Backlog. You can also edit or bulk edit issues to remove the value from the Sprint field of the issues.

Once you have chosen which issues to include in your next sprint, you are ready to start the sprint, as described in the 'Starting a sprint' section below.

Starting a sprint

You can only start a sprint, if:

  • You haven't started one already. If you want to have more than one active sprint at a time, try the Parallel Sprints feature. 
  • The sprint is at the top of the backlog. If you want to start a planned sprint that is lower down, you will need to reorder your sprints to move it to the top. (Note, this doesn't apply if Parallel Sprints is enabled).

To start a sprint:

  1. Go to the Backlog of your Scrum project.
  2. Find the sprint that you want to start and click Start sprint.
    If you haven't estimated your issues,  you will receive a warning when starting the sprint (unless you are using Issue Count, as this is calculated automatically).
  3. Update the Sprint Name, if desired, and, if you have not done it already, specify the Start Date and End Date for the sprint.
    Note, the default duration of a sprint is two weeks.

You will be taken to the Active sprints, where issues in your newly started sprint will be shown. 

You can still view your active sprint in the Backlog, and even add and remove issues from it. Be aware that adding and removing an issue from the active sprint is considered to be a 'scope change' and will be reflected in some reports, e.g. the Burndown Chart.

Editing, reordering, or deleting a sprint

Sometimes, you may need to modify sprints after they have been created, particularly if you are managing a large backlog. You can edit the name and dates of a sprint, reorder a sprint, or delete a sprint in the Backlog. 

To edit the name or dates for a sprint, click More () > Edit sprint. Note, you can only edit sprints that have not been completed yet. 

To delete a sprint, click the More icon (next to Start sprint) for the sprint that you want to move, then click Delete sprint. Note, you cannot delete the active sprint, you can only complete it. You also cannot delete closed (i.e. completed) sprints.

To reorder a sprint, click the More icon (next to Start sprint) for the sprint that you want to move, then choose Move sprint up or Move sprint down. Note, you can only reorder planned sprints (not the active sprint or closed sprints). Also, if you have the same sprints (or some subset of them) on different boards, the sprint order will be reflected across the boards.

Viewing the issues in a sprint

Use the Backlog of a board to view planned sprints. If you want to view a sprint in progress, use the Active sprints of a board instead. You can also use JQL in the issue search (Issues > Search for issues > Advanced) to search for a sprint's issues.

For example, to search for issues that are in the sprint, "February 1", use this query:

sprint = "February 1"

For more information on how to search for issues by sprint:

  • See the JQL documentation on the sprint field ('Fields Reference' section),
  • See Advanced searching functions on the closedSprints() and openSprints() functions.

Next steps

Need help? If you can't find the answer you're looking for in our documentation, we have other resources available to help you. Check out Getting help

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Last modified on Oct 6, 2021

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