Jira is a complex and nuanced tool for Project Management. It is known for its flexibility and customization options. What it isn’t known for, however, is good UI or polished user experience. Sometimes the simplest thing – like showing your subtasks on a board for example – can be neatly hidden within the app’s plethora of interfaces. Luckily, this handy guide will spare you the questionable pleasure of playing Jira’s take on Where’s Waldo.
What can I do when I don’t see subtasks on my Jira board?
Subtasks allow you to break down your work into smaller deliverable items. For example, you can divide your User Story into several smaller tasks. This can also sometimes come in handy when multiple people are working on various aspects of the same task.
That being said, Jira considers issues to be the building block of any project. That’s why it emphasizes the team’s ability to see how stories travel through your workflow.
Your Scrum or Kanban boards on a team-managed project will look like this by default:
As you can see by the small icon near the assignee, one of the Stories has some subtasks. But they are not visible on the board.
You can use the “Group By” drop-down menu on your right to change the standard board view. Click on the “Subtasks” option and you’ll see a list of them grouped under the issue.
Please note that if you have several tasks with subtasks in different statuses, you’ll see the ones in the “to do” status at the top, followed by “in progress” and then “done” tasks.
And if you still don’t see your subtasks on the board even after selecting the correct grouping type – take a look at the type filter and make sure that you have them selected (or that nothing is selected at all).
Lastly, you might have some custom filters enabled. Something like this “project = “Project Name” and issuetype = Story ORDER BY Rank ASC”, if selected, this will only show the Jira issues of a Story type, this no subtasks,
A company-managed project in Jira will have a different interface and the subtasks should be visible without any additional action needed. That being said, if you still don’t see your subtasks on the board – you may have a custom filter enabled. The solution will be the same as the one we’ve mentioned for team-managed projects.
Replace your subtasks with a checklist
Plugins such as the Smart Checklist for Jira 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 above 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.
Everything is simpler when the process is well-documented and the progress is visible at a glance.