What Is Epic and User Story in Jira?

by Jocelyn Alma


In the world of Agile project management, Jira is a prominent tool used by teams to plan, track, and manage their projects. Two fundamental concepts in Jira are epics and user stories. These elements help teams break down complex projects into manageable pieces, ensuring that every part of the project is accounted for and tracked properly.

What is an Epic in Jira?

An epic in Jira is a large body of work that can be broken down into smaller tasks or user stories. It represents a significant feature or theme that is divided into multiple user stories for easier tracking and management.

Characteristics of an Epic

Epics have several defining characteristics:

Large Scope: Epics encompass substantial work and often span multiple sprints.

High-Level Goals: They align with broader business objectives and often tie into strategic goals.

Time-Consuming: Completing an epic can take several weeks to months, depending on its complexity.

Breakdown into User Stories: An epic is decomposed into smaller user stories, each of which represents a piece of the overall functionality.

When to Create an Epic

Creating an epic is appropriate when a feature or requirement is too large to be completed in a single sprint. Epics are useful for organizing work and ensuring that all parts of a complex feature are accounted for.

Examples of Epics

Developing a new user authentication system.
Overhauling the website’s user interface.
Implementing a new reporting dashboard.

Benefits of Using Epics

Organization: Epics help teams organize work into manageable chunks.

Tracking Progress: They allow teams to track progress on large features.

Focus: Teams can focus on smaller parts of a feature, ensuring thorough development and testing.

See Also: How Do We Continue the Tradition of Epic Poetry Today?

What is a User Story in Jira?

A user story in Jira is a short, simple description of a feature or requirement written from the perspective of the end user. It represents a single piece of functionality that contributes to the overall epic.

Characteristics of a User Story

User stories have specific characteristics:

User-Centric: They focus on the needs and perspectives of the end user.

Small Scope: User stories are small, manageable tasks that can typically be completed within a single sprint.

Independent: Each user story should be independent and deliverable on its own.

Testable: User stories should be clear enough to create acceptance criteria and test cases.

Components of a User Story

A user story typically includes:

Title: A brief description of the story.

As a [type of user]: This defines who the end user is.

I want [an action]: This specifies the action the user wants to take.

So that [a benefit]: This explains the benefit or value to the user.

When to Create a User Story

User stories are created during the planning phase of a sprint. They are used to break down epics into smaller, actionable tasks.

Examples of User Stories

As a registered user, I want to reset my password so that I can regain access to my account.
As a customer, I want to view my order history so that I can track my past purchases.
As an administrator, I want to export user data so that I can analyze user activity.

Benefits of Using User Stories

Clarity: User stories provide clear, concise requirements.

Focus on Users: They ensure that the development work is user-focused.

Testability: User stories facilitate the creation of specific acceptance criteria.

How Epics and User Stories Work Together

Epics and user stories complement each other in Jira, helping teams manage projects effectively. The relationship between them is hierarchical: epics contain user stories, and user stories are the actionable tasks that contribute to completing the epic.

Creating an Epic and User Stories

Define the Epic: Start by defining the high-level feature or requirement. Ensure it aligns with business objectives.

Break Down the Epic: Decompose the epic into smaller, manageable user stories.

Write User Stories: Use the user story format to create clear, concise descriptions of each task.

Link Stories to the Epic: Ensure each user story is linked to the relevant epic in Jira.

Tracking Progress

Jira provides tools for tracking the progress of both epics and user stories:

Epic Burndown Chart: This chart shows the progress of the epic over time, helping teams understand how much work remains.

Story Points: Teams can assign story points to user stories to estimate the effort required.

Prioritizing Work

Epics and user stories help teams prioritize their work. By breaking down an epic into user stories, teams can prioritize the most critical tasks first, ensuring that the most valuable features are developed early.

Best Practices for Managing Epics and User Stories

For Epics

Keep Epics High-Level: Ensure that epics represent high-level goals and avoid getting into too much detail.

Regularly Review and Update: Epics should be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain aligned with business objectives.

Clear Naming Conventions: Use clear and descriptive names for epics to ensure everyone understands their purpose.

For User Stories

Focus on the User: Always write user stories from the perspective of the end user.

Keep Stories Small: Ensure that user stories are small enough to be completed within a single sprint.

Create Clear Acceptance Criteria: Define specific acceptance criteria to ensure that the user story can be tested effectively.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Challenges with Epics

Scope Creep: Epics can become too large and unwieldy if not managed properly.

Solution: Regularly review and refine epics to keep them focused and manageable.

Alignment with Business Goals: Ensuring that epics align with business objectives can be challenging.

Solution: Involve stakeholders in the epic creation process to ensure alignment.

Challenges with User Stories

Ambiguity: User stories can be too vague, leading to misunderstandings.

Solution: Use the standard user story format and create clear acceptance criteria.

Overlapping Stories: User stories can sometimes overlap, causing confusion.

Solution: Ensure that each user story is independent and distinct.

Case Study: Implementing Epics and User Stories in a Real Project


A software development team is tasked with developing a new e-commerce platform. The project is complex, involving multiple features and integrations.

Step-by-Step Implementation

Define Epics: The team starts by defining several epics, such as “User Registration and Authentication,” “Product Catalog,” and “Order Management.”

Break Down Epics: Each epic is broken down into user stories. For example, “User Registration and Authentication” includes user stories like “As a new user, I want to register an account so that I can make purchases” and “As a registered user, I want to log in so that I can access my account.”

Assign Story Points: The team assigns story points to each user story to estimate the effort required.

Sprint Planning: During sprint planning, the team selects user stories to work on, ensuring they align with the overall epic.

Track Progress: The team uses Jira’s epic burndown chart to track progress and adjust their plans as needed.


By using epics and user stories, the team can manage the complexity of the project effectively. They track progress accurately, prioritize tasks efficiently, and ensure alignment with business goals.


Epics and user stories are fundamental concepts in Jira that help teams manage complex projects efficiently. Epics represent large bodies of work, broken down into smaller, actionable user stories. This structure allows teams to organize work, track progress, and prioritize tasks effectively. By following best practices and addressing common challenges, teams can ensure successful project outcomes.

Understanding and utilizing epics and user stories in Jira is essential for any team looking to implement Agile project management methodologies. They provide a clear framework for organizing work, ensuring that projects stay on track and meet business objectives. With proper use, epics and user stories can significantly enhance a team’s productivity and success.

Related Articles


Discover the soulful universe of PoemsHubs, where words dance with emotions. Immerse yourself in a collection of evocative verses, diverse perspectives, and the beauty of poetic expression. Join us in celebrating the artistry of words and the emotions they unfold.

Copyright © 2023 poemshubs.com