subtasks in Jira

When to use subtasks in Jira [2022]

Subtasks in Jira are useful in certain cases. An issue can be divided into smaller chunks, called Subtasks, that are can be assigned and tracked individually. In this article, we will go through the major differences between a subtask, a checklist and a linked issue.

When to use subtasks in Jira:

  • Need to individually track, assign them to different people
  • Need to have workflows with conditions
  • Need to be able to search and report on the task

When creating subtasks, keep in mind not to lose focus on the backlog of tasks or issues. Not all User Story need to have a subtasks. Also, if you find that a subtask is holding things back or needs to be a proper task in itself, you can convert them into an Issue.

Now, let’s look at how a subtask differs from a checklist or a linked issue in Jira.

Subtasks or checklist in Jira?

When does one use a checklist and not a subtask? If a task can be split into a series of steps that one person can handle, then checklist might be the way to go.

Checklists are templates that list out a series of tasks/action items that need to be ticked off to ensure the work is complete. They can also be preferred when these smaller tasks need not be individually tracked or reported.

Checklists are not a core feature in Jira so you will have install apps to use them. Here are some options:

Generally speaking, subtasks are used for complex issues by enterprises where multiple employees work on a particular task. It helps keeping track of the time and effort put by these individuals better. If the task is about performing a series of steps that one person can perform, a checklist can be preferred.

Subtasks vs linked issues

Generally, an issue can be linked to another one:

  • to show how one issue affects the other
  • to show one is a duplicate of the other
  • to show it’s associated with a confluence page

Linked issues are independent tasks but are related. Like, subtasks, the different assignees can work on the linked issues involved and have visibility into how one issue affects the other. An issue may relate, duplicate or block another. Here are the different relations:

Linked issues in Jira

Also read: How to view past/previous sprint details in Jira

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