Jira Workflows and Schemes — How to Use Them in Your Projects

by | Nov 23, 2022 | Jira

Jira Workflows Concepts

Jira workflows give teams the ability to specify the procedures needed to complete their work effectively. By defining and deploying workflows in Jira, teams can set up standardized processes for all the work they do. 

Besides software development projects that use Scrum or Kanban frameworks, workflows can also handle other processes like managing customer service tickets, hiring new employees, managing content, planning events, and pretty much any process you can think of. 

They are one of Jira’s most effective features because they keep everyone informed of the steps needed to complete a particular type of work.

workflow types

Workflows make it easier for each team member to understand their responsibilities, upcoming tasks, and the current state of the work of their coworkers.

workflows and projects

Workflows improve transparency, which naturally instills a sense of responsibility in the team. Healthy workflows provide teams with real-time insights into the progress of work, allowing them to be proactive in making decisions and preventing or minimizing delays or other disruptions to the efficient completion of the planned work.

workflows and progress

Statuses and Transitions

Workflows consists of statuses and transitions. Transitions connect statuses and enable work items to move from one status to another in a controlled way.

transitions and statuses

In this very simple workflow, for example, there are three statuses: “to do,” “in progress,” and “done.” There are also transitions that let issues move from one status to another.

simple Jira workflow example

In a more complex workflow like this one, there are a few more statuses and transitions, as well as more rules about how to move from one status to another. For example, the only way to get to the Done status is through the Ready for QA status.

moderate Jira workflow example

Workflows can get really complicated, like the one below. There are no technical limits to complexity but the efficiency of a workflow this complex is questionable.

complex Jira workflow example

Also, other workflow elements like conditions, validators, properties, triggers, resolutions, and post-functions give you even more control over when, how, and by whom a work item can move between statuses. 

workflow elements

Jira has a good number of predefined workflows. They are part of project templates that come with Jira instance. But that’s not all we can do. We can change existing workflows and make new ones that fit our needs.

Workflow Schemes

All of that is great, but we didn’t discuss how workflows relate to projects. The concept of tying workflows and projects together was created to achieve two goals.

  1. Different issue types often have distinct workflows.
  2. Different issue types often use same workflows across numerous projects.

Jira developed the idea of a workflow scheme to offer a scalable solution for these two goals.

workflow, workflow scheme and projects

A workflow scheme is a set of relationships that link different issue types with specific workflows. Workflow A, for instance, handles stories and bugs and includes steps for when an issue is in QA. Workflow B, which does not include QA step, is responsible for handling tasks and epics.

A workflow scheme consists of one or more workflows and relationships between those workflows and various issue types. When we process a particular issue type, the associated workflow is activated.

workflow scheme

Before we can use a workflow, we have to add it to a workflow scheme. A project must have a workflow scheme. A workflow can be part of more than one workflow scheme, and a workflow scheme in Jira can be linked to more than one project.

workflow scheme for multiple projects

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