Subtasks not showing on Jira Board? Do this!

The level of customizability and adaptability that Jira can offer can be found as an explanation for the phrase ‘sky’s the limit’ in the dictionary. 

That said, the variety of features, settings, add-ons, automations and integrations can be a double-edged sword. Going in too deep can become a cause for problems with functionality that’s essential to your company’s style of project management. For instance, the Atlassian Community forum is flooded with simple questions that don’t have an easy solution, like “why can’t I see subtasks on the Jira board?”

What can I do when I don’t see subtasks on my Jira board?

As I said, there’s a lot one can do with Jira’s flexibility, especially when following Jira best practices. In our case this means that some of the subtask issues might be unique to your project, settings, or your selection of integrations. 

Still, I thought I’d look into the most common culprits that cause subtasks to go missing from the Jira board.

Issue 1: You have one too many a filter. This issue is pretty self explanatory and perhaps the simplest of the bunch.

Solution: Check your filters:

  1. Go to the board
  2. Go to Board settings >> General >> Saved Filter / Filter Query
  3. Remove the culprit.

Issue #2: Team managed projects VS company managed projects. Having a team managing a project can be quite beneficial for larger companies. This approach helps with management and maintenance of numerous tickets. However, this approach can be the reason as to why you don’t see the subtasks on the board – they are simply not assigned to your team.

Solution: Assign the project to the correct team and they’ll be able to see subtasks on their board.

  1. Go to the project board.
  2. In the sidebar, click Service project settings ⚙️ > People.
  3. When you click Add people on the page, you’ll be prompted to select each person’s role from the drop-down menu:

Issue #3: Business Project. You simply can’t add subtasks to a board when you are using a Business project in Jira. This functionality simply does not exist.

Solution: On the bright side, you’ll see an icon on a parent ticket on the board that indicates there are subtasks associated with it. If this is not enough, there are several workarounds:

  1. You can create a new Kanban board and add a filter to view your Business Project board from outside of the Business Project itself.
  2. A much simpler and more elegant way of having sub-tasks would be to add our Jira Checklist. The functionality will allow you to create checklist items that are akin to subtasks inside the parent issue.

Replace your subtasks with a checklist

Plugins such as the Smart Checklist can rid you of a lot of pains associated with subtask management. A checklist item can simply replace a subtask as it has all of the properties you need: custom statuses, ability to add details, links, and descriptions, etc. You can also set up deadlines and assign people to checklist items – all while maintaining proper project management hygiene as the data you need and the progress the team makes are all visible at a glance from both the board view and from inside the 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. There’s a free version available for 30 days
  2. Add the add-on from the marketplace or start your free trial. 
  3. Choose the instance you’ll be adding the add-on to. 
  4. Click on the button to install the message 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 Smart Checklist for Jira Cloud.

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