JIRA Workflow – An Overview


JIRA is a tool used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management by most of the software development teams. The basic use of this tool is to track issues, enhancements, and bugs related to user’s software and mobile apps. The JIRA dashboard consists of many useful functions and features which make handling of issues easy.



JIRA Workflow is a set of statuses and transitions that an issue moves through during its life cycle and typically represents processes within user’s organization. JIRA workflow dictates how an issue can be progressed in a project. There are few non-editable in-built workflows; however, a user can reuse these workflows to create their own. The complexity of the workflow can be configured as per user needs.

User can also create user’s own workflows from scratch, or import workflows from Atlassian Marketplace. Workflows can be associated with particular projects and, optionally, specific issue types, by using a workflow scheme.

User will need to log in as a user with the ‘JIRA System Administrator’ global permission to access and manage workflows.

Below is an example of a default workflow:

Default Workflow


JIRA workflow elements comprise of Statuses, assignee, resolution, conditions, validators, post-function’s and properties

  • Statuses: It represents the positions of the issues in a workflow
  • Transitions: It is the bridge between statuses, the way a particular issue moves from one status to another
  • Assignee: It dictates the responsible party for any given issue and determines how the task would be executed
  • Resolution: It explains why an issue transitions from an open status to a closed one
  • Conditions: It controls who can perform a transition
  • Validators: It validates the transition as per the status of the issue
  • Properties: It describes the properties of every transition



There are a multiple ways user can start a new workflow viz. cloning an existing workflow, creating a new workflow or importing a workflow.

1. Cloning an existing workflow: Select an existing workflow & customize it by either adding or updating steps and transitions

2. Create a new workflow: Add a new workflow by providing a name and description. The user can create and customise the workflow by adding or updating the steps and transitions

3. Importing a workflow: Import Workflow from Atlassian Marketplace by selecting the workflow as per user’s requirement



1. Log in as an user with the JIRA Administrators rights

2. Choose the cog icon at top right of the screen, then choose Issues. View the list of all existing workflows by selecting the ‘Workflows’ option

list of JIRA workflows
List of Workflows


3. User can setup a workflow in two ways

3.1 Recommended Approach: Copy an existing workflow using the ‘Copy link’.

3.2 Advanced Administrator’s Approach:

3.2.1 Create a new workflow using the ‘Add Workflow’ button

3.2.2 Enter a name and description for the workflow

3.2.3 Once the add button is clicked, the workflow opens in edit mode. If a user is viewing the workflow in Diagram mode, then he/she can see the incoming transition as ‘Create’


Editing an existing JIRA workflow

In order to edit a JIRA workflow the user has to :

1. Log in with the JIRA Administrators global permission. Choose the cog icon at top right of the screen, then choose Issues. View the list of all existing workflows by selecting the ‘Workflows’ option.

2. Open the workflow in edit mode using edit link (under Operations).

There are two types of edit modes, Diagram and Text.

  • Diagram edit mode — known as the Workflow Designer in earlier JIRA version
Diagram Edit Mode

  • Text edit mode — known as the View Workflow Steps page in earlier JIRA versions


Text Edit Mode

Diagram edit mode is the default editing mode. JIRA remembers user’s last edit mode and uses the same edit mode for the user’s next workflow.

3. Add or update the workflow’s steps as per the requirements


Using JIRA workflow, a user can easily create, update or customize a tracking methodology as per the user requirements. The graphical models and role based access provides ample amount of flexibility to define a workflow of any complexity. Additionally, the system empowers the user with features like automatically generated triage email requests, linked issue creation, export and imports options for JIRA Cloud applications etc.

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