Can you create a subtask of a subtask in Jira?

Yesterday I stumbled upon an interesting question on the Atlassian forum – how does one add a subtask to another subtask. After briefly looking around, I found that more people are looking for an answer to this than I anticipated.

So, given the demand for an answer to this, I thought I’d share my two cents: you can not create a subtask of a subtask. Jira simply doesn’t offer this functionality.

“Hold on, dude!” – you might think to yourself – “I thought there’s a solution to my question. You literally say that the Jira subtask of a subtask problem is solved in the title.” 

And you’ll be correct in your assumption. Technically, you will not be able to create a subtask of a subtask in a conventional way, but our Jira checklist add-on offers a handy workaround.

Checklist items as subtasks?

In layman’s terms, subtasks in Jira are parts of a more complex task that contain certain attributes such as the description of work that needs to be done, the person responsible for said work, and a deadline. 

Having a checklist in your task  – or subtask for that matter – can achieve all of the above while also having a series of added benefits. 

  • You’ll be able to create a simple replacement for a subtask that will have the basic information about the task, some detailed instructions and links you may need to add more context in a collapsible dropdown menu, a deadline, and a responsible person. You’ll also have access to custom statuses such as “done”, “in progress”, “skipped”, or “on hold”, etc. See the screenshot below for reference.
  • As for the added benefits, you’ll be able to see the progress at a glance from the progress bar both from inside the parent task and from the board view. 
  • Lastly, you won’t have to deal with the ever-growing pile of tasks, subtasks, and subtasks for subtasks – the process and the flow are contained within one parent ticket. 
The checklist below illustrates the abilities of the workaround. As you can see, there’s room for sharing details or links; you can set custom statuses, tag people, and set deadlines. The progress is visible at a glance from the progress bar. 

How can I add a checklist to my Jira instance?

The best part about adding the Smart Checklist add-on to your Jira instance is that the process is as easy as pie and only takes a few minutes.

  1. Find the Smart Checklist add-on on the Atlassian marketplace. We have a free version. Check it out. 
  2. Add the add-on from the marketplace. 
  3. Choose the instance you’ll be adding the add-on to. 
  4. Click on the button to install Smart Checklist and a pop-up will appear stating that Atlassian will inform you once the Smart Checklist is installed. It shouldn’t take longer than a couple of seconds. 
  5. You’ll see the Smart Checklist menu in your ticket once the installation is complete. Use it to add mini “sub tasks” to your tasks and subtasks from the ticket, or open up the Markup editor to make your checklists more readable and informative. 

Note: this instruction is for the Cloud version of Jira.

Looking for more ways you can improve your relationship with Jira? Take a look at our article about best practices of Jira workflows.

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