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A Complete Guide to Jira Subtasks

make task a subtask jira

Jira’s power comes from just how much the platform can be extended and customized at every level – from the very top, at the level of projects, epics and components, right down to the level of subtasks. But just what are Jira subtasks and what are they for?

What is covered in this blog post:

What are Jira subtasks?

  • How to create subtasks in Jira

Managing Jira subtasks

Managing jira subtasks settings for admins, best practices and tips for jira subtasks.

In this guide, we’ll explain the ins and outs of subtasks, how to create them, and best practice tips to keep on top of them. So…

Jira subtasks

Jira subtasks sit at the lowest level of Jira’s task hierarchy. They are distinct child tasks that are attached to parent issues to illustrate the steps that need to be taken for that issue to be resolved – and as distinct tasks, they can be individually tracked and managed.

While subtasks are standalone child issues, they can also act as a form of a checklist for the parent issue to be completed.

Subtasks allow you to break the workload for an issue into smaller chunks. This means that different elements of the task can be assigned to different team members, and they can be given different deadlines. All of this can assist with planning and tracking the progress of work, as well as identifying blockers.

The only thing that you’ll need to get started is permission to create issues and to have subtasks enabled in your project’s issue-type scheme.

How to create subtasks in Jira 

create subtask Jira

To create a subtask on an issue:

  • Go to the relevant, pre-existing issue
  • Beneath the issue title, click “Create subtask”
  • Create a summary for your subtask and then click the “Create” button

And you’re done! The subtask is now attached to the issue.

That’s not the end of it, though. If you want to transform the subtask into an issue, that’s also possible (for example, if the completion of an individual subtask is delaying sign-off on an issue). Equally, issues can be transferred to be subtasks of other issues if it transpires that they’re just a smaller step in the completion of another job.

Jira subtask convert to issue

To turn a subtask into an issue :

  • Go to the subtask that you want to turn into an issue
  • Click the “Actions” button (…) and then click “Convert to Issue”
  • You can then pick between the different issue types available; once done, click “Next”
  • If the new issue type does not allow the subtask’s status, you’ll be asked to change it on the next screen; you’ll need to then click “Next” and, lastly, you need to complete any required additional fields for the new issue type, before hitting “Next” and then “Finish” if you’re happy with all the details of the conversion
  • Your child issue is now free to make its way through the workflow all on its own!

You can make the same journey in the opposite direction (if the option is enabled and as long as the issue doesn’t have any subtasks of its own – if it does, then these could be removed by converting them into issues, as above). To turn an issue into a subtask :

  • Go to the issue and click “Actions” (…) and then click “Convert to subtask”
  • Over several screens, you’ll then need to select the relevant parent issue to assign the subtask to, choose the relevant subtask issue type, make any required changes to status and fields and confirm, select “Next” on each screen, and “Finish” at the end, to confirm.

You can also move subtasks from one parent issue to another. To do this:

  • Open the subtask
  • Go to the “Actions” button (…) and then click “Move”
  • Select “Change Parent” and “Next”
  • Then choose the new desired parent issue with the selection field and click “Change Parent”

Jira subtask test

Another option is to bulk edit subtasks , allowing you to make changes quickly and easily. To do so: 

  • Go to the relevant issue, then go to the subtasks list and click the “More” button (…) and “Bulk edit”
  • Select the relevant subtasks and click “Next”
  • You can then choose to Edit, Move, Transition, Watch and Stop Watching the subtasks; you’ll then be asked to confirm the operation details you want on the next page and to then confirm the change

Admins have a number of options for configuring how subtasks can be used in a given project. By default, subtasks are enabled.

To enable or disable subtasks , go to “Settings” (the cogwheel icon) and then issues. Then go to “Issue types” and “Subtasks”, and you can choose to enable or disable them.

To create a subtask issue type , go to “Subtasks” from the “Settings” menu, then select “Add subtask issue type”. Then give the new subtask issue type a name and description and click “Add”.

To edit a subtask issue type , go to the “Settings” menu’s “Subtasks” page and click “Edit” on the issue type that you want to change. You then have the option to edit the name, description, and avatar for the issue type, before clicking “Update” to complete the action.

To delete a subtask issue type , go to the “Issues” page under “Settings”, then go to “Issue types” and “Subtasks”, where you can delete the unwanted subtask issue type. Of course, before deleting the issue type, it’s a good idea to check for any issues of that type in the system and to move them to another issue type (potentially in bulk) to ensure that the information isn’t lost.

You can also create a subtask blocking condition so that issues cannot be transitioned if subtasks attached to them have not been completed. To do this, go to the “Settings” menu, then “Issues”, then “Workflows”, where you need to click “Edit” on the relevant workflow. Next, you’ll need to choose a transition (such as “Resolve”) and click on “Conditions” and “Add condition”, then “Subtask Blocking Condition”, before clicking “Add”. Finally, add the relevant subtask statuses (e.g., “Resolved”) and click “Add” (so the issue cannot be resolved unless all subtasks assigned to it are also resolved).

Subtasks may seem fairly foolproof, but there are a number of facts that are worth keeping in mind when using them.

  • Subtasks shouldn’t be used as a substitute for tasks. Subtasks should represent steps toward completing a task. If there are multiple entirely discrete jobs that make up a larger operation, and they can be individually completed, then they should likely get their own issues, rather than being lumped together. Overusing subtasks will also complicate time tracking, making it more difficult to track the performance of your team.
  • Not every issue needs subtasks. Subtasks are particularly useful when it’s worth spelling out a number of sub-steps that will go towards completing a task – and they allow this to be split between different individuals. In a lot of cases, though, this won’t be necessary, and the task can be described and assigned with a single ticket.
  • Does using subtasks make the task easier to track and complete? It’s a good rule of thumb to consider whether subtasks will make the job simpler – and if so, then they may well be just the right tool for the circumstances. If they’ll make the task at hand more complicated, though, then simply leave them out.

Subtasks are a great way of breaking up tasks in Jira to provide clear waypoints toward the completion of work. Issues are the basic building blocks of projects in Jira, and subtasks provide an extra degree of granularity, zooming in one level deeper.

Using this guide you can build subtasks into your own task planning, adding another dimension to the deployment and management of work and providing transparency and clarity about what needs to be done – so tasks can be completed quickly and smoothly, on time, and on-target.

Recommended Reads: 

ESM vs. ITSM: Key Differences in Enterprise and IT Service Management

A comprehensive guide to jira user stories.

  • Master Jira Work Management with this Comprehensive Guide
  • How To Use Labels in Jira: A Complete Guide
  • How to Use Jira for Non-Software Projects (The Pro Guide)
  • Jira for Project Management: Level up your Business Activities

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The building blocks of any project are issues. Issues act as the packets of work that travel through their respective workflows within their projects, until the work is completed. An issue may also have sub-tasks that can be assigned and tracked individually, as well as issue level security to restrict the issue to select members of your team. 

On this page, you'll learn more about creating and converting issues and sub-tasks, and setting issue level security. If you are looking to import multiple issues (and sub-tasks) using a CSV file, you can find the import process explained in more detail  here .

Before you begin

You need the  Create issue  project permission for the issue's relevant project.

On this page:

Creating an issue

  • Select  Create  at the top of the screen to open the  Create issue  dialog box.
  • Select the relevant  Project  and  Issue type  in the  Create issue  dialog box.
  • Select the Configure fields  button at the top right of the screen.
  • Select Custom  and select the fields you want to show or hide by selecting or clearing the relevant check boxes respectively, or select  All  to show all fields. When you next create an issue, these selected fields will be displayed.
  • Optional: To create a series of similar issues – with the same  Project  and  Issue type  – select the  Create another  checkbox at the bottom of the dialog. Depending on your configuration and the values you may have specified when creating previous issues, some of the fields in the new Create Issue dialog box may be pre-populated. Make sure you check they're all correct before creating the next issue.
  • When you are satisfied with the content of your issue, select the  Create  button.

Creating a linked issue

From any existing issue you're working with, you can create a linked issue between Jira Software projects or Jira Software and Jira Service Management projects. 

The linked issue will relate to the existing issue in a way you select. For example, the linked issue might block the existing one or be resolved by it. You can configure fields in the linked issue directly on the  issue screen.

To create a linked issue:

  • Open an issue to which you want to link a new issue.
  • Select More > Create linked issue .
  • In the dropdown list, select Create linked issue . The Create linked issue screen will appear.
  • On the screen, the d efault and custom fields reflect the fields of a destination project. The fields on the linked issue screen are prepopulated with the data from the original issue you’re viewing. You can edit them as needed.
  • After you finish working with the fields, select Create .

Cloning an issue

Cloning an issue lets you quickly create a duplicate of an issue within the same project. The cloned issue contains most of the same details stored in the original issue — e.g. Summary, Affects Versions, Components, etc. Other details are not cloned — e.g. Work Log, Comments, Issue history, and Links to Confluence pages. The issue status also returns to the first step of the corresponding workflow, and the resolutions are cleared. The cloned issue can be linked to the original issue, but does not have to be.

Note that, if you don't have the Modify reporter permission, the clone issue will be created with Reporter as the current user cloning the issue.

  • Open the issue you wish to clone.
  • Select  More  > Clone.  The  Clone issue  screen will appear.
  • You can edit the clone issue's  Summary  if you want.
  • Clone sub-tasks to copy existing sub-tasks
  • Clone attachments to add any existing attachments
  • Clone links to add any existing linked issues
  • Clone sprint values   to copy across the issue's current and closed sprint values
  • Select Create .

Creating a sub-task

A sub-task can be created for an issue to either split the issue into smaller chunks, or to allow various aspects of an issue to be assigned to different people. If you find a sub-task is holding up the resolution of an issue, you can convert the sub-task to an issue, to allow it to be worked on independently. If you find an issue is really just a sub-task of a bigger issue, you can also convert an issue to a sub-task.

You can only create sub-tasks if your administrator has enabled sub-tasks, and has added the sub-task issue type to the project's issue type scheme.

  • Navigate to the issue you would like to be the parent issue of the sub-task you are about to create.
  • Select  More >  Create sub-task . You will see the  Create sub-task  screen.
  • Fill in the details as needed, and then select  Create  at the bottom of the page.

Note that when you create a sub-task, the following values are inherited from the parent task:

  • issue security level
  • sprint value, if any (only for Jira Software issues)

Tip : You can customize the  Create sub-task  screen to show fields you use most often. To do this, select  Configure fields at the top right corner of the dialog, and use the  All  and  Custom  links to switch between the default screen and your custom settings. Your changes are saved for future use.

Converting a sub-task to an issue

  • Navigate to the sub-task issue you would like convert.
  • Select  More >   Convert to i ssue .
  • In the  Step 1. Select issue type  screen, select a new issue type (i.e. a standard issue type) and select  Next .
  • If the sub-task's current status is not an allowed status for the new issue type, the  Step 2. Select new Status  screen is displayed. Select a new status and select  Next .
  • In the  Step 3. Update Fields screen, you will be prompted to enter any additional fields if they are required. Otherwise, you will see the message 'All fields will be updated automatically'. Select Next .
  • The  Step 4. Confirmation screen is displayed. If you are satisfied with the new details for the issue, select Finish .
  • The issue will be displayed. You will see that it is no longer a sub-task, that is, there is no longer a parent issue number displayed at the top of the screen.

Converting an issue to a sub-task

  • Navigate to the issue you would like to convert.
  • Select  More >   Convert to sub-task .
  • In the  Step 1. Select parent issue and sub-task type  screen, type or select the appropriate parent issue type and the new issue type (i.e. a sub-task issue type). Select  Next .
  • If the issue's current status is not an allowed status for the new issue type, the  Step 2. Select new status  screen is displayed. Select a new status and select  Next .
  • In the  Step 3. Update fields screen, you will be prompted to enter any additional fields if they are required. Otherwise, you will see the message 'All fields will be updated automatically'. Select Next .
  • The issue will be displayed. You will see that it is now a sub-task, that is, its parent's issue number is now displayed at the top of the screen.

Splitting an issue

Sometimes an issue may actually be such a big chunk of work that it would be better to split it up into several issues. You can easily split your issues into several in your Kanban or Scrum backlog view. You can choose how many issues to split the original into, you can edit the summary if you need to, and i f the issue is estimated, and/or in a sprint, these details can also be updated.

When you split the issue, not all fields are copied across:

To split an issue:

  • Navigate to the issue you would like to convert in your Kanban or Scrum backlog.

Right-click the issue in your backlog and select  Split issue .

  • Make any adjustments required, you can also add additional issues here by selecting  + Add another .
  • Select Split .

Once you've split your issue, the relation between the issues is maintained using issue links with the type S plit to and  Split from .

Restricting access to an issue

When creating (or editing) an issue, you can restrict access to that issue to members of your team who are part of a chosen security level. To be able to set the security level for an issue, your administrator must add you to the appropriate issue security level, and also grant you the 'Set Issue Security' permission for the appropriate projects. 

  • Create/edit the relevant issue.
  • In the  Security level  drop-down field, select the desired security level for the issue. You will only see the security levels you belong to.
  • Save the issue. It is now only accessible to members of the specified security level. Users who are not members of this security level will not be able to access that issue, or see it in any filters, queries, or statistics. 

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Subtasks in Jira: Simple guide + practical implementation

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Updated on February 28, 202 4

Table of contents

Jira task vs jira subtask – differences, types of subtasks in jira, break down large tasks, enhance visibility, track progress, straightforward workflow management, when is it worth using subtasks, when should you use checklists, in what scenarios should you consider using separate issues, method 1: create a subtask within a parent issue, method 2: convert an existing issue into a subtask, subtasks in jira: settings for admins, subtasks in jira: best practices, how to create a jira sub-tasks template, further automation.

Are your projects in Jira overwhelming? Are you drowning in complex projects with endless to-dos? Well, there is a solution –  subtasks in Jira. 

In this article, we will explore the fundamentals of Jira subtasks. We introduce what they are, and how to create them, as well as practical implementations.

What are subtasks in Jira?

Subtasks in Jira are small parts of work separated from larger tasks. They act as child tasks within a parent task. They enable you to deconstruct a complex project into a more manageable one.

Think of it this way: a big project is like building a house. The “primary task” is the construction of the entire house. “Subtasks” may be individual stages, such as laying foundations, framing walls, or installing a roof. Each subtask contributes to the project, but it is easier to manage them individually.

It’s important to understand the difference between task and subtask.

  • Represent larger, independent work units
  • Can have their own due dates, assignees, and descriptions
  • Can exist standalone or be linked to other tasks
  • They are nested and dependent on the parent task
  • They cannot exist on their own
  • Inherit some attributes like the project and assignee from the parent task
  • Serve to break down the parent task into smaller, more manageable steps

make task a subtask jira

To cater to different project needs you may need to use various elements. In the context of improving the management of complex projects, Jira offers:

  • Standard subtasks They allow for basic task decomposition within parent tasks. A simple yet effective way to break down tasks into smaller, manageable items.
  • Linked issues Technically, these are not subtasks in the strict sense of the word. They can be used to represent subtasks that already exist as separate issues in Jira.
  • Epics and Stories These are also not traditional subtasks in themselves but serve a similar purpose. Epics represent high-level goals, while stories function as action items within these epics. As a result, they break down large projects into smaller, manageable units of work.

Why use subtasks in Jira?

Here’s how subtasks can help you with complex project management:

The heart of subtasks is their ability to break large tasks into smaller pieces. They let you approach projects with clarity and focus. What’s more, your team conquers smaller milestones, boosting morale and motivation.

You can easily track the status of individual steps within a larger task. As a result, it is easier to identify potential bottlenecks.

By assigning subtasks to specific team members, you can monitor progress at a lower level. When needed, you may reallocate resources or provide other actions.

When using subtasks, you can create dependencies between different steps, ensuring tasks are completed in the correct order. Additionally, you may move and reorganize them within the parent task. It allows adjustments to fit project needs as they evolve.

When to use subtasks in Jira (or other options)

Knowing when to use subtasks, checklists or separate issues is crucial for optimal project management. Here is a quick view on that topic:

  • The task can be broken down into clear, simple steps
  • You need to track individual progress and dependencie s
  • You want to introduce consistent workflows and standardized processes across similar tasks
  • The task involves multiple, independent actions without a specific order
  • You need a simple visual representation of the completed items
  • You need to remind team members of specific actions they need to take within the task
  • Tasks represent distinct project phases or initiatives that require independent tracking and reporting
  • The work needs to be visible to a wider audience (e.g. to stakeholders outside the team)
  • You need to use unique workflows, custom fields, and permissions

Creating and managing subtasks in Jira

Subtasks can only be created when your administrator has enabled them and added the subtask issue type to the project’s issue type scheme.

  • Navigate to the task you want to add subtasks to.
  • Click “ Create subtask ” or “ Add a child issue ” (depending on your project).
  • Add the subtask summary.
  • Click “Create” : Your subtask will appear under the parent issue.

💡Creating a subtask inherits the parent task’s values:

  • Issue security level
  • Sprint value
  • Navigate to the issue you want to convert.
  • Click on the “ More ” dropdown menu (top-right corner of the issue view).
  • Select “ Convert to Sub-task “.
  • Specify the parent task to which you want to link the subtask.
  • Click “ Convert ” to complete the conversion process. Your issue will transform into a subtask.

As an administrator, you can control the behavior of subtasks via project settings:

  • Enable/disable subtasks
  • Define sub-task issue types
  • Block issue workflows by sub-task status
  • Configure the subtask fields that appear in parent issues
  • Clearly define the scope of subtasks Make sure subtasks are well defined, avoiding descriptions that are too broad or ambiguous, which can lead to confusion and delays.
  • Maintain a consistent structure Standardize naming conventions to facilitate clear communication and understanding across the team.
  • Comment on subtasks Encourage team members to actively comment on subtasks to share progress updates, ask for clarification, or collaborate effectively.
  • Review regularly Schedule regular check-ins. Discuss subtask progress, identify potential roadblocks, and adjust the subtask structure as needed.
  • Don’t overload Avoid creating an excessive number of subtasks within a parent task. This can overwhelm team members and reduce overall project visibility.

Subtasks in Jira example: Automation of workflow with Jira subtask templates

Handling onboarding processes with more and more employees can be challenging.

And it happened to us as our team grew.

Every month , we needed to create several big bunch of identical issues assigned to different people.

At some point, we decided to automate the whole process of onboarding new employees.

To do that, we needed to implement a new hire workflow that would automatically create several specific sub-tasks with different assignees, descriptions, summaries, and other fields.

We use Issue Templates for Jira app which lets us create templates for repetitive tasks.

This way, we don’t have to spend so much time on creating the issue. For standard tasks, we prepared issue templates with autocompleted fields. However, onboarding demanded a completely new approach.

Why use a template?

Creating individual onboarding tasks for each new employee can be time-consuming. A predefined template helps you:

  • Save time: No need to start from scratch every time.
  • Stay consistent: Ensures everyone gets the same onboarding experience.
  • Avoid mistakes: Pre-filled fields reduce errors.

To streamline our onboarding workflow, we needed a template that automatically adds all the sub-tasks to a parent issue whenever a new employee is hired.

Here’s what we did:

  • Created a template for the parent issue: This is the main task for onboarding a new employee.
  • Defined set of fields autofilled in the template.
  • Added variables like [Employee name], [Start date], [Position], [Manager], [Equipment], [Deadline], and [Prepare] to the parent issue
  • Enabled the option to copy sub-tasks from the issue template to newly created requests based on this template.

Now let’s take a closer look at how to make it work.

Subtasks template: Jira Cloud

In our Cloud instance, we only needed to follow 3 simple steps to configure a template with subtasks.

  • First, we went to the project we had chosen as a template repository and clicked on the issue template we had created for onboarding.
  • There, we used the toggle to enable Copy Subtasks option, and then, we selected more ( ••• ) and clicked Create sub-task. 
  • After creating the first sub-task, we added more by clicking ( + ) in the Sub-tasks section of the issue.

Now, every time we hire someone new, we only need to choose Create from Template from the side menu to easily create a new issue with automatically copied sub-tasks.

Subtasks in Jira - issue templates onboarding screen

We’ve included assignee information for both parent and sub-tasks. Additionally, we’ve automated the creation of user accounts on the corporate LDAP server for new hires, incorporating them into Active Directory groups and updating their attributes using the Active Directory Attributes Sync app.

To display the AD attributes on the issue view, we created a dedicated custom field from the app in the Jira Administration panel and chose the appropriate fields to display. Then, we went back to the Workflows in Project Settings and added another post function , this time to update data on creating transition in AD.

Subtasks in Jira - Active Directory create user postfunction

The next time we hire a new employee, all we need to do is create a new issue from the template. We can be sure that all sub-tasks will be copied exactly as we defined them.

As a result, the whole onboarding process takes no longer than 10 seconds. 

Knowing how to leverage subtasks in Jira lets you simplify complex projects. By breaking down tasks into manageable steps, you gain clarity, focus, and control over your work. As a result, it leads to efficient collaboration and successful project outcomes .

FAQ about subtasks in Jira

A subtask in Jira is a smaller, more manageable unit of work that sits within a larger parent task. 

Both tasks and subtasks contribute to completing user stories in Jira. However, they differ in their level of detail:

  • Tasks: Represent larger, independent work units within a story. They have their own due dates, assignees, and descriptions.
  • Subtasks: Break down tasks into even smaller, more specific steps. They are nested and dependent on a parent task and inherit some attributes like project and assignee.
  • Simplify complex projects: Break down large tasks into manageable steps, improving clarity and focus.
  • Track progress effectively: Monitor individual steps within larger tasks to identify bottlenecks and ensure timely completion.
  • Facilitate collaboration: Assign subtasks to specific team members and utilize comments for smooth communication.
  • Maintain consistent workflows: Standardize subtask structures for repetitive tasks, ensuring consistency and efficiency.

Yes, a Jira task can have subtasks, as long as the administrator has enabled them and added the subtask issue type to the project’s scheme.

Technically, Jira stories themselves cannot directly have subtasks. However, you can achieve similar functionality by:

  • Creating subtasks within tasks: Break down tasks associated with a story into subtasks. These subtasks will be nested under the parent task and indirectly contribute to the story’s completion.
  • Linking related issues: Link existing issues representing smaller work units to the story. This provides visibility into related work without directly creating subtasks within the story itself.
  • Create the parent task: Define the larger work unit.
  • Add subtasks: Break down the parent task into smaller, specific steps.
  • Assign subtasks: Assign each subtask to a team member for completion.
  • Use comments: Collaborate and track progress by leaving comments on subtasks.
  • Monitor progress: Track the completion of both subtasks and the overall parent task.
  • Utilize the “Add subtask” button within the parent task.
  • Convert existing issues into subtasks when needed.
  • Edit subtask details like assignees, due dates, and descriptions.
  • Utilize Kanban or Scrum boards to visualize subtask progress.
  • Schedule regular check-ins to discuss subtask progress and adjust the plan as needed.

Company-managed Scrum projects: Yes, you can directly see subtasks on the backlog. 

Team-managed projects and other project types: No, the backlog still only displays parent tasks. You need to click on an issue’s details to see its subtasks.

For company-managed Scrum projects:

  • Go to your backlog.
  • Click the three-dot menu (meatball menu) in the top right corner.
  • Select “Enhance my board and backlog.

Learn more on topic

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How To Create A Subtask In Jira

Learn how to break down larger tasks into manageable subtasks in Jira, enhancing your project's organization and team's focus. Let’s begin!

Ever wondered how to make your big, daunting tasks in Jira feel a little less overwhelming ?

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to create subtasks in Jira, enabling you to split larger tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. This way, you can assign different aspects of a task to various team members and track progress more efficiently.

How To Create Subtasks In Jira

Tips to optimize your subtasks, subtasks in jira vs other tools, frequently asked questions.

Important disclosure: we're proud affiliates of some tools mentioned in this guide. If you click an affiliate link and subsequently make a purchase, we will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you (you pay nothing extra). For more information, read our affiliate disclosure.

  • Open your Work page, and click on the issue you would like to add a subtask to.

make task a subtask jira

2. Click on “Create subtask” .

make task a subtask jira

3. Fill in your subtask and click “Create” .

make task a subtask jira

4. Click on the arrow to show your new subtask.

make task a subtask jira

Optimizing your sub-tasks in Jira can make your project management more efficient and transparent.

Here are some ways you can optimize your sub-tasks:

  • Clear Descriptions: Each sub-task should have a clear, concise description that indicates what exactly needs to be done.
  • Prioritization: Use Jira's ranking feature to prioritize sub-tasks within their parent issues.
  • Assignee: Make sure that every sub-task has an assignee, so team members know who is responsible for what.

make task a subtask jira

  • Status Tracking: Use statuses effectively to track the progress of a sub-task. Update the status as the work progresses to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Time Tracking: Provide realistic time estimates for each sub-task. This helps in sprint planning and time management.

make task a subtask jira

Let's explore how different project management platforms like Jira, Asana, and monday.com handle sub-tasks, a key element in organizing complex projects.

Jira vs Asana vs monday.com

  • Detailed Hierarchies: Allows nesting of sub-tasks within parent tasks or even other sub-tasks, making it suitable for complex projects.
  • Time Tracking: Enables time logging for each sub-task, which is essential for workload management.
  • Custom Fields: Allows the use of custom fields but usually requires administrative rights.
  • Automation: Capable of auto-transitioning parent tasks based on sub-task statuses.
  • Simple Hierarchies: Easier to create but not as many layers of nesting.
  • Checklists: Quick and easy checklist feature for simple sub-tasks.
  • Limited Custom Fields: Supports custom fields but to a lesser extent.
  • Collaboration: Supports comments and file attachments on sub-tasks.


  • Visual Excellence: Offers a more visually engaging way to manage sub-tasks, making the process less tedious and more interactive.
  • Board within a Board: Allows you to actually create an entirely new board for a task, providing unparalleled detail and customization.
  • Automations and Integrations: Supports a range of automations and integrations specific to sub-tasks, making workflow automation a breeze.
  • User-friendly: Extremely easy to create, assign, and manage sub-tasks without the need for administrative rights.
  • Flexible Views: Provides multiple ways to view sub-tasks, including Kanban, calendar, and timeline views, offering a tailored task management experience.
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Enables real-time updates and notifications, ensuring everyone is aligned, enhancing the collaborative aspect significantly more than competitors.
monday.com is the winner due to its outstanding versatile platform!

By focusing on user experience and flexibility, monday.com makes sub-task management not only efficient but also enjoyable, standing out as the most intuitive and adaptable platform.

Can I convert a task to a sub-task or vice versa?

Yes, Jira allows you to convert a task to a sub-task and a sub-task to a task. You need the appropriate permissions to perform these actions.

Do sub-tasks inherit fields from the parent issue?

By default, sub-tasks do not inherit all fields from their parent issue, although this can be configured.

Can I assign a different user to a sub-task than the parent task?

Yes, sub-tasks can have a different assignee than the parent issue.

How do sub-tasks affect sprint planning?

Sub-tasks are often used in sprint planning to break down a story or task into actionable units, but they do not themselves appear on the backlog.

Do sub-tasks appear on the Jira dashboard?

Sub-tasks can be displayed on the Jira dashboard through widgets and filters, but they are usually shown under their parent issue.

Where Do You Click To Add A Subtask?

Jira offers a firm system for creating subtasks, enabling you to break down complex tasks into manageable pieces .

Jira remains a strong choice for software development projects that require intricate task structuring. Although monday.com excels in offering a flexible , easy-to-navigate platform that's perfect for teams of all types and sizes even intricate task structuring but with a friendlier interface.

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  • David Ciran
  • Nov 21, 2023

Mastering Jira Subtasks: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Mar 19

Table of Content

Jira Subtasks - Comprehensive Guide

What are subtasks in jira, how to create subtasks in jira, different methods of creating subtasks, managing subtasks in jira, best practices for using subtasks in jira, advanced techniques for jira subtasks.

Prieview image of this blog

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Breaking down tasks effectively

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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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Manage subtasks in team-managed projects

This page is for team-managed projects

If the lower-left of your project sidebar says you're in a company-managed project , check out these company-managed project articles instead.

Learn more about the difference between company-managed and team-managed projects.

In Jira, an issue can have subtasks that can be assigned and tracked individually. This allows you to break down the work in your project to smaller, more manageable pieces.

Learn more about converting issues into subtasks or subtasks back into issues .

Add a subtask issue type

Subtask issue types are different from regular issue types. By default, team-managed projects have subtask issue types enabled. If your project doesn’t have the subtask issue type, you’ll need to add it:

Navigate to your team-managed software project.

Go to  Project Settings  > Issue types .

Select  Add issue type .

Select  Subtask .

Create subtasks

You can create subtasks under any standard issues, like stories, bugs, or tasks. Note that you cannot create subtasks under epics or other subtasks.

When viewing an issue

On the board or backlog, select an issue.

Select Add a child issue

Enter a description for the subtask and select  Create .

Adding a child issue from the issue details.

On the board

On the board of your team-managed project, next to  Group by , select  Subtask (project admins only).

Select  Create issue ( + ) to create a subtask under that issue.

Grouping a board by subtask.

View subtasks on the board

Note that only the project admin can access this setting.

Navigate to the board in your team-managed project.

In the  Group by  dropdown, select  Subtasks . The headers for each swimlane will be your regular issues, and the cards underneath each header represent your project's subtasks. You can then move those subtasks between columns like you would any other issue.

When a parent issue is cleared, its subtasks are also cleared, regardless of each subtask’s status. This means that if a subtask belongs to a parent issue that’s been cleared from the board, the subtask won’t be visible.

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The same can be done with comments on discussions and notes. Create a task, and it will appear in the project's first task list.

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  1. How to add or create a subtask in Jira

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  1. Solved: How do I convert an existing task to a sub-task of

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  2. A Complete Guide to Jira Subtasks

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  3. Creating issues and sub-tasks

    Select More > Convert to sub-task. In the Step 1. Select parent issue and sub-task type screen, type or select the appropriate parent issue type and the new issue type (i.e. a sub-task issue type). Select Next. If the issue's current status is not an allowed status for the new issue type, the Step 2.

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  7. How To Create A Subtask In Jira

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  10. Automating sub-task generation in Jira in 5 minutes

    After saving you need to give your automation a name & click on the 'Turn it on' button: Now when you create a new ticket in this project with a name that starts "New Starter:" sub-tasks ...

  11. Manage subtasks in team-managed projects

    On the board or backlog, select an issue. Select Add a child issue. Enter a description for the subtask and select Create. On the board. On the board of your team-managed project, next to Group by, select Subtask (project admins only). Select Create issue ( +) to create a subtask under that issue.

  12. How to create subtasks in Jira for a project?

    In order to create a subtask you need first get into the content of the parent Jira issue (issue screen). For example in the following screenshot you have several options to create a subtask: You can click on Create subtask action and it will show up the Subtasks section with the default subtask type, where you can enter the summary.

  13. Subtask's Due Date, People Page Improvements, Comment to Task, and

    All its contents will be copied to the new task. The new task will be placed in the same task list as the original task, but you can easily move it anywhere else. The same can be done with comments on discussions and notes. Create a task, and it will appear in the project's first task list. ActiveCollab 8.0: Duplicate Notes

  14. Solved: How can I add Subtask to a task

    follow below steps, Click Issue ID ( TST-4633 as of below screenshot) so that ypu will navigate to the task. click more button. click 'Create sub task'. hope this helps :) Reply. 2 votes. Max Foerster - K15t. Community Leader.

  15. HOw to automatically create Task and Subtask for a

    Create an Isssue Created trigger on an EPIC type to create all Tasks for the epic. Manual triger on a Task which as EPCI as parent, to create sub tasks ( more than 10) By doing so, I have notice that it can works the the automation rule can be really big depending on the number of task to create in addition to set predefined field for each of ...

  16. How to create new tasks to with sub-tasks when sto

    1) When story is created -. - Create or clone as a new task (type QA story) (this one works) - Assign new QA story to epic QA (Does not work, field parent I have no idea is works corretly) - Create new subtasks (Manual tests) to the new tasks - it is only creating subtasks to the trigger one. When I try do separate automation to add subtasks to ...