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📖 Issue Type Hierarchy Levels in Jira

In any project management system, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the different levels of issue hierarchy. Let's explore Jira hierarchy levels!

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What are issue type hierarchy levels in Jira

The Jira issue type hierarchy comprises three distinct levels: Epic issues, standard issues, and subtask issues. Epic issue types are the highest level of the hierarchy. Epics define the general scope and characteristics of a project. Standard issues are where we talk about daily work, while subtasks are the smallest level in the hierarchy.


Hierarchy structure in Jira

Epic issues

Epic issue types are the highest level of issue types. It describes the overall scope and features of a project. Epic categorizes tasks into broad categories such as development, design, testing, and documentation. By assigning primary issue types to tasks, project managers can easily group related tasks and prioritize them according to their importance.

Standard issues

Standard issue types are used to further categorize the primary Epics and group related tasks. For example, a development task can be further divided into coding, debugging, and refactoring, which are all secondary issue types. By utilizing secondary issue types, project managers can easily identify and track related tasks.


Subtask in Jira is the smallest and most granular level of the hierarchy. They are used to break down tasks into smaller, more manageable components. Subtasks can be described and estimated separately from the main issue. This can help your team learn and estimate similar work in the future. 

Benefits of utilizing issue type hierarchy levels in Jira

Improved categorization

Issue type hierarchy levels in Jira help improve categorization of tasks by organizing them into a logical structure. This makes it easier to classify and group tasks based on their characteristics or attributes. By utilizing issue type hierarchy levels, project managers can create a more organized system for tracking and managing tasks in Jira. 

Enhanced prioritization

By implementing issue type hierarchy levels, project managers can prioritize tasks based on their importance or urgency. This allows teams to focus on high-priority tasks first, ensuring that critical tasks are completed in a timely manner.

Streamlined communication

When teams have a clear and structured hierarchy of issue types, it becomes easier to communicate and collaborate effectively. 

Tips for efficient use of issue type hierarchy levels

Consistent terminology: Use a consistent and well-defined set of issue types to ensure that team members understand each other better.

Standardized workflows: Establish standardized workflows for each issue type to prevent confusion and ensure consistent handling of tasks.

Clear ownership: Assign issue types to specific individuals or teams to clarify responsibility and accountability for each task.

Status updates: Use Jira's status updates to keep everyone updated on issue progress, reducing unnecessary communication among team members.

Collaborative comment threads: Encourage the use of the comment section in each issue to share updates, ask questions, and provide feedback, creating a centralized space for communication.

Customizing issue type hierarchy levels based on project requirements allows for effective organization of tasks, bugs, and other work items. By defining different levels of issue types, you can tailor the structure to align with your project's specific needs.

Regular review and updates of the issue type hierarchy are essential to ensure alignment with the project's current requirements. This ensures consistency across projects and allows team members to navigate and understand different projects more easily.

List of the default issue types that come with each Jira product

Jira Work Management (business projects) issue types

By default, business projects come with one standard issue type:


A task represents work that needs to be done.

By default, business projects come with one child issue type:


A subtask is a piece of work that is required to complete a task.

Jira Software (software projects) issue types

By default, software projects come with one parent issue type:


A big user story that needs to be broken down. Epics group together bugs, stories, and tasks to show the progress of a larger initiative. In agile development, epics usually represent a significant deliverable, such as a new feature or experience in the software your team develops.

By default, software projects come with three standard issue types:


A bug is a problem which impairs or prevents the functions of a product.


A user story is the smallest unit of work that needs to be done.


A task represents work that needs to be done.

By default, software projects come with one child issue type:


A subtask is a piece of work that is required to complete a task. Subtasks issues can be used to break down any of your standard issues in Jira (bugs, stories or tasks).

Jira Service Management (service projects) issue types


Requesting a change in the current IT profile.

IT help

Requesting help for an IT related problem.


Reporting an incident or IT service outage.

New feature

Requesting new capability or software features.


Investigating and reporting the root cause of multiple incidents.

Service request

Requesting help from an internal or customer service team.

Service request with approval

Requesting help that requires a manager or board approval.


Requesting help for customer support issues. 

In conclusion, implementing issue type hierarchy levels in Jira can greatly improve communication and collaboration within a project. By following the best practices outlined in this article, such as using consistent terminology, establishing standardized workflows, assigning clear ownership, utilizing transparent status updates, and encouraging collaborative comment threads, teams can make their workflows more efficient and fluent. 

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