Using your Scrum backlog

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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.

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

Go to the Backlog of your Scrum project.

Screenshot: the Scrum backlog (with an issue selected)

What can I do in the Backlog?

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.
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.

If you want to select an issue, rather than open the issue's details, use ctrl-left click or command-left click.

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 specialists

The avatars for users (specialists) 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. If your Jira uses time tracking, you will also see the time required to complete this workload, shown in the Remaining Time Estimate column.

Show me how to configure time tracking...

To see the time required to complete the workload in a sprint, ask your admin to complete these steps:

  1. Activate time tracking.
  2. Enable time tracking for the board, and set the Estimate Statistic to anything but Issue Count.
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.

Move an issue into a sprintDrag and drop an issue from the Backlog section to the relevant sprint section, to move the issue from the backlog to the relevant sprint.
Flag an issueRight-click an issue to open a menu and select Add flag. You can also add a comment with your flag, perhaps to indicate your reason for adding the flag.
Delete an issueRight-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 how many issues are visible

We want to make sure you don't have to wait for your backlog to load, so, by default, we show you a maximum of 100 issues (90 from the top of your backlog and 10 from the bottom) and hide the remaining ones. If you want to see all issues, just click the Show all issues hyperlink that splits your backlog. Then, we'll load all your issues.

If you have more than 100 issues, you can also click More () and select how many you want to display. You can select to see 100, 500 or all issues.

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.)

Add goals to sprints

Click More () > Add sprint goal, then enter a goal for this sprint to keep your team focused. The sprint goal will be displayed below the sprint name in the backlog, scrum board, and sprint report.

Delete inactive sprints

If you haven't started the sprint yet, you can delete it by clicking More () > Delete sprint. You can also delete completed sprints in Reports > Sprint Report.

Hide issue detail view

If you're switching between the issues on the list, it might be useful to hide the issue detail view that appears on the right of the backlog. You can do it by clicking More () > Hide detail view.

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

Read the following related topics:

Last modified on Oct 6, 2021

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