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How to create structures of linked Jira issues from templates


Alina Urbaniak-Gawlik - 21 August 2019 - 0 comments

How to create structures of linked Jira issues from templates_cover image

This article was updated on July 17, 2020.

Our daily routine consists of a lot of actions. We cook meals, read or watch the news, go to work, drive kids to and from school, work out, and so on. Just like in daily life, we also have to do many repetitive tasks at work. Looking from the Jira perspective, we need to create not only the repeated issues but usually also tasks and subtasks which they have to contain. Since these issues are (almost) the same every time, why not use Issue Templates for Jira? Having this app, we can create our recurring task (with subtasks) from a template we’ve prepared before. What’s more, after our latest release, we can create issues from linked templates in Jira. Both the main template and linked templates, together with their children tasks, melt into regular Jira issues. Sounds complicated? In this article, we’ll explain step by step how to build such a structure and benefit from it.

Linked issues in Jira

During our work in Jira, we often see the relations between issues. For example, a software tester has to test a feature so that the developers’ team could release a new version of the app. In this situation, one task blocks another, which is worth highlighting in Jira. For this reason, we choose a link type and add the right issue in the Linked Issues field on the Create Issue screen.

There are several types of links that we can use to link issues in Jira

There are several types of links, and we can also create our own ones. This option is available for Jira admins in Settings → Issues → Issue Features → Issue linkingBut what about creating a link between templates?

Creating a template structure

Right from the beginning, linking templates to each other was possible in Issue Templates for Jira. When we created a new issue from a template including links, those links were copied. However, instead of creating linked target issues, they were still directing to templates. Since our latest release, linked templates turn into issues in our target projectAlthough we can freely link our templates with any objects in Jira, we can’t link to a subtask template that doesn’t have a parent in the structure.

Epic structure 

Our new feature comes in handy especially when we need to create templates for extended Epics. We start building the structure by creating an Epic. At this stage, we can already link some epics and story templates to it. When the Epic is created, we continue building the structure so we add some tasks and subtasks.

Let’s see how we can use and benefit from such structures in our work.

Use cases

Planning a business trip is a complex task. Because we and our colleagues travel to trade shows, conferences, and workshops quite often, it’s convenient to have an Epic template instead of wasting time on creating similar issues again and again. Then we create a universal Business trip Epic template in our repository. Before every journey, we need to arrange different details like flight tickets and local transportation. After that, we can start searching for a hotel and choose the best place for our delegates. As you see below, this process is reflected in the Travel details story which blocks the Accommodation story

Travel arrangements are not the only ones we have to do by the time we go on a business trip. Since we’d like to promote our products or services during the event, we need to organize marketing-related details. Our marketing team is in charge of fulfilling such tasks, so we link their Business event template to our Business trip template. This way, we’ll know what we have to ask them for help before going to a trade show or conference.     

The time has come to plan the business trip. Then we open our Business travels project (BTR), proceed through Create from template process. Below on the right, we can see that our templates turned into issues in the target project, and the links remained the same as we set while creating the Epic template

Structure of linked templates and linked Jira issues created out of them.

The previously mentioned marketing team can have different sets of repetitive tasks in their daily work. For example, a new product launch campaign each time consists of pretty identical tasks and subtasks. Let’s take a further look into using Issue Templates for Jira in this case. The team starts with creating an Epic template called New product launch campaign. Now they add stories under it, like initial planning, a social media campaign, a content campaign, a PPC campaign, and the product’s landing page. Every story contains a couple of subtasks that the team has to accomplish for a successful product launch. They can also set relations between the templates inside the Epic as well as link some of them with other Jira objects.

The whole Epic New product launch campaign is blocked by another Epic New product’s visuals. The marketing team can’t prepare the campaign without having proper graphics for social media channels, PPC banner ads, blog and landing page. The latter can’t go live without coding, so the team sets that the Copywriting – landing page subtask causes the Landing page coding story (an already created issue).

Creating extended Epic structure with linked Jira issues in Issue Templates for Jira Cloud

Our new feature will be also useful for IT teams implementing software systems like Jira in big companies, which also requires physical infrastructure. Such activities consist of many repetitive tasks. Then the teams can create two Epic templates: Software system implementation including tasks like Planning and coordination of the implementationTarget departments’ trainingPreparing manuals, and the New hardware Epic with tasks such as Purchasing new server and Data migration. The Epic templates are linked with each other.

Issues from linked templates

There are slight differences in configuring this feature in Jira Cloud and Jira Server/Data Center. In both cases, you need to make sure that the Linked Issues field is within the scope of the template to make it work properly.

Jira Cloud

Once we’re ready to proceed, we go to the target project, click Create from template on the navigation sidebar, set Epic as the issue type, and choose the template we’ve just made. Then we write our target Epic name and fill in the variables (if there are any). Scrolling down, we see that there aren’t any issues linked. We don’t have to worry because the links we set while composing the Epic template are invisible on the Create Issue Screen. We’ll surely see them when we already create our target issue. However, at this point, we can add some more links. The links added on all stages of our Epic creation will generate a structure based on the parent template configuration.

Jira Server: Create Structure post function

On Server and Data Center, the feature is realized as a post function added to your project’s workflow. Here are the steps you need to take to set it up:

  1. Go to Project Settings > Workflows.
  2. Select the workflow and go to Diagram > Edit.
  3. Click on a given transition (in most cases, this will be Create) and go to Post Functions.
  4. Click Add Post Function, select Deviniti [Issue Templates] – Create Structure, and set up the parameters (find an example of the screenshot below).
  5. Don’t forget to Publish the changes.
  6. Go to Project Settings > Screens, and then select your project’s Default Issue Screen.
  7. Add the Template field.
  8. Create a new issue.
  9. Select an Issue Type.
  10. Select the Template from the drop-down list.
  11. Fill in all of the other fields and click Create.

The Create Structure post function allows to create a new issue or modify an existing one with selected parameters.

As a result, the template will be applied to the newly created issue. Make sure that the Create Structure post function is listed under the step Create issue originally and before Re-index an issue. This is how you keep indexes in sync with the database. Otherwise, the post function might not work.

Note that this post function works on other transitions as well. Have a look here to see how to create new issues and apply templates to further workflow transitions.

More efficient work

Sets of repetitive activities exist in every type of work. Fortunately, we don’t have to create them from the very beginning every time we need to. Building large linked issues structures with Issues Templates for Jira solves this problem. Once it’s ready, we get an organized workflow in one click. Then, instead of worrying about planning tasks, we focus on cooperating with our team and meeting the objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about Issue Templates for Jira, take a free 30-day trial from the Atlassian Marketplace. You can also book a live demo via Calendly or watch the tutorial (Cloud or Server) to see the app in action. Additionally, you can read more about the app:

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