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:

  • you have the Extended project administration permission, which is enabled by default (you can check that in Project settings > Permissions),
  • 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, edit or remove statuses),
  • Delete a status (the statuses must not be used by any of the project's issues),
  • Create, add, edit or delete transitions (you can't select or update a screen used by the transition, or edit or view 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 Workflows to see the list of workflows and issue types they're associated with. 
    • Click a workflow to display it as diagram. 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.
    • Additionally, you can view a workflow in a simple, text form by clicking View as text next to the workflow's name.

To edit a workflow
  1. When viewing a workflow, select Edit.
  2. You can add a status or transition by clicking the relevant button. You can edit existing transitions by selecting them.
  3. Publish your 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 click a workflow.

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...
  • Edit existing workflows
  • Create new workflows
  • Configure existing workflows 

Working with workflows

  • Add a workflow scheme
  • Configure a workflow scheme
  • Manage workflow schemes

Configuring workflow schemes

  • Import and export workflows
  • Activate and deactivate workflows

Managing your workflows

  • Add custom events
  • Configure the initial status
  • Work in text mode
  • Configure workflow triggers
  • Use validators and custom fields
  • Use XML to create a workflow
  • Workflow properties

Advanced workflow configuration

Last modified on Mar 19, 2021

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