What Is Epic and Story in Jira?

by Jocelyn Alma

Jira is a widely used tool in project management. It helps teams track their work. One of the key components of Jira is the “Epic.” An Epic is a large body of work. It encompasses multiple tasks. These tasks are called “Stories.” An Epic often represents a significant project. It could be a new feature or a complex task. It is essential for planning large-scale work.

Characteristics of an Epic

Large Scope: Epics cover broad objectives. They are not about small tasks. They include many Stories.

Long Duration: Completing an Epic takes time. It is not a quick task. It may span several sprints or iterations.

Complexity: Epics are complex. They need detailed planning. Multiple teams might work on an Epic.

Goal-Oriented: An Epic has a clear goal. It aims to achieve something significant. The goal drives the tasks within the Epic.

Broken Down into Stories: Epics are divided into Stories. This makes them manageable. Teams can work on Stories step-by-step.

See Also: What are the 4 main characteristics of an epic poem?

Why Use Epics?

Structure: Epics provide structure. They help organize large projects. Teams can see the big picture.

Focus: Teams can focus on significant goals. They are not lost in minor tasks. This improves efficiency.

Planning: Epics assist in planning. Teams can allocate resources better. They can estimate timelines accurately.

Progress Tracking: Tracking progress is easier with Epics. Teams can see how close they are to the goal. This helps in maintaining momentum.

Creating an Epic

Identify the Goal: Define the objective clearly. What is the Epic supposed to achieve?

Break Down the Work: Split the Epic into Stories. Each Story should be a task or a feature.

Assign Teams: Allocate teams to work on Stories. Ensure each team understands their part.

Set Timelines: Define timelines for the Epic. Estimate the duration for each Story.

Monitor Progress: Regularly track progress. Adjust plans if needed. Ensure the goal remains the focus.

Example of an Epic

Imagine a company wants to develop a new mobile app. The Epic is “Develop Mobile App.” Within this Epic, there are many Stories:

Design User Interface: Create the app’s design.

Develop Backend: Set up the server and database.

Implement Features: Add functionalities like login, search, etc.

Testing: Test the app for bugs and issues.

Launch: Release the app to the public.

Each of these Stories is a significant task. Together, they complete the Epic.

What are Jira Stories?

Stories are smaller tasks within an Epic. They represent individual pieces of work. Each Story is a user-centric task. It describes a feature or requirement. Stories are crucial for Agile project management. They help teams focus on specific tasks.

Characteristics of a Story

Specific: Stories are specific. They describe a single piece of work. This makes them easy to understand.

User-Centric: Stories are written from the user’s perspective. They focus on user needs and requirements.

Manageable: Stories are manageable in size. They can be completed within a sprint or iteration.

Descriptive: A Story includes details. It explains what needs to be done. This helps the team understand the task.

Part of an Epic: Stories belong to an Epic. They contribute to achieving the Epic’s goal.

Why Use Stories?

Clarity: Stories provide clarity. Each task is well-defined. Teams know exactly what to do.

User Focus: Stories keep the focus on users. They ensure that the team meets user needs.

Manageability: Breaking work into Stories makes it manageable. Teams can complete tasks step-by-step.

Prioritization: Teams can prioritize Stories. They can decide which tasks to do first.

Progress Tracking: Tracking progress is easier with Stories. Teams can see which tasks are completed.

Creating a Story

Define the Requirement: Identify what the user needs. Write a clear description.

Break Down the Task: Split the requirement into smaller tasks if needed.

Set Acceptance Criteria: Define how to measure completion. What will show that the task is done?

Estimate Effort: Estimate how much time the Story will take. This helps in planning.

Assign to Team Members: Allocate the Story to team members. Ensure they understand the task.

Example of a Story

Continuing the mobile app example, one Story could be “Implement User Login.” This Story includes tasks like:

Design Login Screen: Create the user interface for the login screen.

Backend Integration: Connect the login screen to the backend.

Validation: Ensure the login works correctly with valid and invalid inputs.

Testing: Test the login functionality thoroughly.

Each task within the Story is clear and manageable. Completing this Story contributes to the Epic.

Relationship Between Epics and Stories

Hierarchy: Epics are at a higher level. Stories fall under Epics. This hierarchy helps in organizing work.

Dependency: Stories depend on Epics. Completing Stories leads to completing the Epic.

Planning: Epics are used for long-term planning. Stories are used for short-term tasks.

Tracking: Both Epics and Stories are tracked. Progress on Stories shows progress on the Epic.

Managing Epics and Stories in Jira

Creating Epics and Stories: Use Jira’s interface to create Epics and Stories. Assign them to teams.

Linking Stories to Epics: Link Stories to their respective Epics. This maintains the relationship.

Prioritizing Work: Prioritize Stories based on importance. Ensure critical tasks are completed first.

Tracking Progress: Use Jira’s tools to track progress. Monitor the completion of Stories and Epics.

Updating Status: Regularly update the status of Stories and Epics. This keeps the team informed.

Benefits of Using Jira for Epics and Stories

Organization: Jira helps in organizing large projects. It makes it easy to manage tasks.

Collaboration: Teams can collaborate effectively. Everyone knows their tasks and progress.

Transparency: There is transparency in work. Everyone can see the status of tasks.

Efficiency: Jira improves efficiency. Teams can focus on their work without confusion.

Reporting: Jira provides detailed reports. Teams can analyze their performance.

Challenges and Solutions

Complexity: Managing large Epics can be complex. Solution: Break down Epics into smaller Stories. Keep tasks manageable.

Communication: Poor communication can hinder progress. Solution: Regular meetings and updates. Ensure everyone is informed.

Tracking: Keeping track of numerous Stories can be tough. Solution: Use Jira’s tracking tools. Regularly update statuses.

Prioritization: Incorrect prioritization can delay important tasks. Solution: Regularly review and adjust priorities. Focus on critical tasks.

Adaptability: Projects can change. Solution: Be flexible. Adjust Epics and Stories as needed.

Best Practices for Using Epics and Stories in Jira

Clear Objectives: Define clear goals for Epics. Ensure everyone understands them.

Detailed Stories: Write detailed Stories. Include all necessary information.

Regular Updates: Keep Epics and Stories updated. Regularly check and update their statuses.

Effective Communication: Maintain good communication. Hold regular meetings.

Review and Adapt: Regularly review progress. Be ready to adapt plans.


Jira Epics and Stories are essential for project management. They help teams manage large projects. Epics provide a broad view. Stories break down tasks into manageable pieces. Together, they ensure that teams can work efficiently and effectively. Understanding and using Epics and Stories can greatly enhance a team’s productivity and project success.

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