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Mastering Jira Subtasks: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Mar 19

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Jira Subtasks - Comprehensive Guide

Jira is a powerful project management tool that allows teams to track and manage their work efficiently. One of the key features of Jira is the ability to create subtasks. These are smaller, more manageable tasks that are part of a larger task, called parent task. Mastering Jira subtasks can greatly enhance your project management skills and help you stay organized. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of Jira subtasks and provide you with tips and best practices to effectively use them.

What are subtasks in Jira?

In Jira, a subtask is a smaller unit of work that is associated with a larger task or issue. Subtasks are used to break down complex tasks into more manageable and specific pieces. They allow teams to track and manage the various components of a larger task separately, while still maintaining a clear link between the subtasks and the overarching issue.

Subtasks break complex tasks into manageable parts, aiding clear scope definition. They offer detailed tracking, enabling personalized progress updates. Different team members can simultaneously address subtasks, hastening project completion. Assigned subtasks enhance accountability, while linked ones clarify order and prevent bottlenecks. Specialized subtasks foster collaboration, boosting expertise utilization. Estimations are easier with smaller, well-defined subtasks, benefiting planning.

Subtasks provide flexibility amid changing requirements without disrupting the project's structure. Metrics are more precise with individual subtask progress analysis. Communication improves via distinct task details. Subtasks enable finer prioritization for prompt high-priority task completion. They enhance project transparency, showing varied subtask progress for all stakeholders.

Navigation between subtasks in Jira made easy

How to create subtasks in Jira

1. Log in to Jira: Start by logging in to your Jira account and navigating to the relevant project where you want to create subtasks.

2. Open the Parent Issue: Locate the main issue or task for which you want to create subtasks. This will serve as the parent issue for the subtasks.

3. Access the Issue Details: Open the parent issue by clicking on its title or identifier. This will take you to the issue details page.

How to access issue details in jira

4. Create a New Subtask: Select "Add a child issue" just under the headline of your issue.

how to create a child issue in jira

Different methods of creating subtasks

1. Manual Creation: Make subtasks one by one in Jira, adding details like who's doing it and when it's due.

2. Bulk Creation: If you have lots of subtasks, put them in all at once using a special tool in Jira.

3. Automation Rules: Teams use Jira to make subtasks on their own when certain things happen, like a task changing status.

4. Templates and Blueprints: Jira has special plans you can use to quickly add common subtasks, which helps everyone follow the same steps.

5. API and Scripting: For tech-savvy folks, you can use special tricks to make subtasks in Jira automatically using computer code.

6. Add-ons and Plugins: Jira has extra tools you can add to do cool things with subtasks, like making them appear when you need them.

7. Cloning or Copying: If you do the same kind of work often, you can copy a plan you like and change a few things to make new subtasks.

8. Linked Issues: Instead of normal subtasks, you can show how tasks are connected to each other, which can help you see what needs to happen first.

Think about what works best for your team and how tricky or simple your tasks are.

Managing subtasks in Jira

One can assign subtasks to team members in Jira these ways:

  1. Manual: When creating/editing a subtask, select the assignee from the "Assignee" field.

  2. Bulk: Use bulk edit to assign multiple subtasks at once.

  3. Automation: Set rules to auto-assign subtasks based on conditions.

  4. Workflow: Configure workflow transitions to auto-assign subtasks as they progress.

  5. Round-Robin: Automate even distribution of subtasks among team members.

  6. Self-Assign: Allow team members to choose and assign their subtasks.

  7. Role-Based: Assign to roles rather than specific individuals.

  8. Re-Assignment: Easily reassign subtasks as needed.

Choose the method fitting your team's workflow and communicate assignments clearly.

To track subtask progress and status, monitor their respective attributes within Jira. Regularly update assignees, due dates, and status fields to ensure accurate progress representation. Utilize Jira's visualization tools for a comprehensive overview of subtask completion.

Setting dependencies between subtasks involves establishing relationships to ensure tasks are completed in a specific order. Use Jira's "Issue Links" feature to create dependencies. Link subtasks using "blocks" (one task depends on another) or "is blocked by" (one task blocks another). This enforces sequential execution, aids in resource allocation, and provides a clear roadmap for task progression.

Prioritizing subtasks involves ranking tasks by importance to guide work efforts effectively. Consider factors like deadlines, impact, dependencies, and urgency. Assign higher priority to critical tasks to ensure they're completed first, aiding project success and time management.

Best Practices for Using Subtasks in Jira

Breaking down tasks effectively

Breaking tasks into subtasks is like taking big jobs and making them easier to handle. Here are easy ways:

  1. Divide and Conquer: Split tasks into smaller parts that can be done one by one. For example, making a cake can become steps like gathering ingredients, mix batter, bake, and frost.

  2. Step-by-Step: Think of the main goal and list the steps needed to reach it. Each step becomes a subtask. If your goal is to build a website, steps could be design layout, code pages, and test.

  3. Expert Breakdown: If the task involves different skills, let experts focus on their area. For writing a report, experts can be assigned sections like introduction, data analysis, and conclusion.

  4. Time Chunks: Divide tasks by time. If you have a long project, plan smaller tasks for each day or week. This way, it's not overwhelming.

  5. Dependencies: Some tasks rely on others. Start with what needs to be done first. If you're painting a room, prepare the walls before applying color.

  6. Milestones: Break down tasks by goals. If you're planning an event, milestones can be booking venue, sending invites, and preparing presentations.

  7. Feedback Loops: For tasks that need reviews, divide them by stages where feedback is given. For creating a presentation, stages could be content writing, slide design, and revisions.

Remember, the goal is to make big things manageable. Find a way that works best for you and your team.

Always make sure subtasks are clear, small, and doable. Use simple words, estimate time, and assign to team members. Check for completeness and adjust as needed. Avoid overwhelming tasks.

Assigning subtasks to team members

Assign subtasks based on team members' skills, workload, and availability. Match tasks to each person's expertise to ensure efficient completion. Communicate, review, and adjust as needed for effective workload distribution. Prioritize teamwork and well-being for a balanced environment.

Tracking and monitoring subtasks

In Jira, you can use various tools and techniques to effectively track and monitor subtasks. Utilize Jira's built-in status updates, due dates, assignee assignments, and automated notifications to ensure that subtasks progress smoothly and align with project goals.

For easier monitoring don't hesitate to use reports and dashboards to see how things are going. You can check progress, team work, and trends. Dashboards show important info in one place. Look at task completion, how long things take, and how much work is left. Use this to make things work better and tell others what's happening. Check reports often to keep things on track.

Communicating and collaborating on subtasks

Effective teamwork on subtasks needs clear communication. Share updates often so everyone knows what's happening. Assign roles to team members for each subtask, so everyone has a job. Talk openly, ask questions, and give feedback quickly to keep things moving smoothly. Remember the bigger goal so subtasks make sense. Use organized tools like comments to keep discussions in one place. Update regularly to keep everyone in the loop. Try online tools for working together in real-time. Respect time zones when talking to teammates from different places. And don't forget to celebrate when you finish parts of the task – it's important!

Advanced Techniques for Jira Subtasks

Automation and workflows

Automating subtask creation and management in Jira involves setting up rules and tools that handle tasks for you. Using Jira's automation features or third-party tools like Jira Automation or Zapier, you can make subtasks automatically when certain things happen, like a task reaching a specific stage. This saves time and ensures consistency. These tools can also update subtask details, assign tasks to team members, and more, based on your preset rules. By automating, you streamline processes, reduce manual work, and keep tasks on track without constant manual effort.

When speaking about workflows, you create steps like "To Do," "In Progress," and "Done," showing where subtasks are in their journey. You can add more steps based on your needs, like "Review" or "Testing." This helps you manage subtasks better, know who's doing what, and see when they're finished. It's like a roadmap that guides subtasks through their work stages, making things organized and clear.

Subtask templates and cloning

Making subtask templates for recurring tasks is like having a ready plan. You set up a model for the subtasks needed each time. When the task comes up again, you just use the template to quickly create the subtasks. It saves time and ensures that the right steps are followed every time, making work consistent and efficient.

If you have tasks that look alike, you don't start from scratch. You take the subtasks from the first task and copy them to the new one. Then you can adjust a few things if needed. It's a quick way to save time and keep things consistent when you're doing similar work.

Subtasks Integrations and extensions

Looking into extensions and plugins for better subtask management is like adding extra tools to your toolbox. In Jira, you can find add-ons that give you more features for handling subtasks. These tools can help with things like creating advanced subtask templates, setting up automatic subtask workflows, and visualizing subtask progress in different ways. Just like how new tools make a job easier, these extensions can make managing subtasks smoother and more effective. The plugin I personally find really helpful is the Subtask Navigation for Jira, which makes all sibling subtasks visible in a single panel, so you don't have to navigate back to the parent issue. It provides as well a comprehensive view of sibling descriptions and an epic overview of the resolution progress.

Subtasks Navigation for Jira promotional Banner


In conclusion, mastering Jira subtasks can greatly improve your project management skills and help you stay organized. By understanding the various aspects of Jira subtasks, implementing best practices, and exploring advanced techniques, you can effectively manage and track your work in Jira. Start leveraging the power of Jira subtasks today and take your project management to the next level.

Whether you are a project manager, an individual contributor, or a team lead, Jira subtasks can help you manage your work more efficiently. With the ability to break down tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, Jira subtasks provide a more granular level of detail to your project plan. This ensures that everyone involved in the project is aware of their individual responsibilities and can better coordinate their efforts. With a better understanding of the project timeline and a clear understanding of how each task contributes to the overall goal, your team can work more effectively and efficiently to deliver the best results.


What exactly are subtasks in Jira, and how do they contribute to project management?

Subtasks in Jira are smaller units of work associated with larger tasks or issues. They allow for the breakdown of complex tasks into manageable pieces, aiding in clearer scope definition, detailed tracking, simultaneous team member contributions, enhanced accountability, and fostering collaboration. Subtasks provide flexibility amid changing requirements and enable more precise metrics and project transparency.

How can I create subtasks in Jira, and what are the different methods available?

What are some best practices for effectively managing subtasks in Jira?

What advanced techniques can I use for managing subtasks in Jira?

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