Breaking down a story to subtasks



  • When using Jira, we can create a ticket with subtasks. I can see the subtasks being moved along the columns, but I don't understand the proper way to handle the parent task. It can be confusing if the parent task is moved to a particular state while the subtasks are in different states. How is this supposed to be used? For example, is the parent task meant to be "invisible"? If so how? The context is the best way to break down a big story into subtasks, and it seems a story with subtasks is the proper way but seems a bit confusing.



  • Personally, I prefer treating the parent story as I would if there were no subtasks.

    That means, as soon as someone starts working on one of the subtasks, the parent story moves to In Progress. It will stay In Progress as long as any of its tasks are being worked on or could be picked up. In fact, an advantage of having the story marked In Progress is that it becomes clearer that this story's unstarted tasks should take priority over another story that hasn't been started yet.

    Similarly, if all of its (remaining) tasks are currently Blocked, that means the story is Blocked. You also could argue that it's blocked if any of its tasks is blocked. Just define a clear rule and follow that.

    You can apply similar rules for other columns. For example, the story as a whole is Ready for Testing once all its tasks are either Done or themselves Ready for Testing.

    And of course a story can only move to Done when all its tasks are Done.




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