How to amend a JIRA workflow

Overview of amending JIRA workflow

In order for JIRA to work the way you work as a business then you’ll need to get to know it’s ‘Workflow’ customisation. Beware this is a powerful part of JIRA and always make backups before starting work here.  There mainly two parts to a workflow.  Status and transition.  A status is where a JIRA ticket is within your workflow.  A transition is how you get from one status to another.

How to get to the JIRA workflow designer

  1. Log in to JIRA with a user that had Admin privileges
  2. Go to the cog on the top right and select ‘ ISSUES’
  3. On the left-hand menu select ‘ Workflows’
    If you’re not sure which workflow you are using see the footnote
  4. From the list of Workflows, find the one you’d like to Edit and click ‘Edit’

Using Text  or Diagram view

There are two ways to use the Workflow designer, you can use text view or diagram view.  I personally prefer Diagram view.  Check for yourself and feel free to use either.  I’ll use the Diagram view for the remainder of this document.

You may notice that I have set my steps out in order and I always try to have transitions in, going into the left three nodes and outwards transitions into right-hand nodes.  I just feel it’s cleaner.

Adding a new workflow step

  1. Click ‘Add status’
  2. Choose a status from the dropdown list
    You’ll see it appear in the designer below
  3. Select (grab) the right-hand node of the step (status) before this new status and drag it to the left node of the new status (this creates a transition
    A window will pop up
  4. Give your new transition a name.  (E.g. Check quality) and a description
  5. Leave the screen field blank (for now)
  6. Select (grab) the left-hand node of the new step (status) drag it to the right node of the next status (this creates an outgoing transition)
  7. Being a tidy JIRA master I always move the step to the right place in the lists and indent it (as shown)
  8. Click ‘Publish Draft’
  9. Create a backup copy as directed

Note:  NEVER add status without an in going transition

Adding a new status

If when you choose to add a status from the dropdown list (as in #2 above) then you can add a new status

  1. Type the name of the new status (in title case)
  2. Hit Enter
  3. Click ‘Add’
    a new window will pop up
  4. Add a description
  5. Choose a category
    Blue to normally a starting (list) status, yellow is in the middle, green is at the end or finished.  Most Status that you add will be yellow (in Progress)
  6. Click ‘Create’
  7. You’ll see it appear in the designer below
  8. Select (grab) the right-hand node of the step (status) before this new status and drag it to the left node of the new status (this creates a transition
    A window will pop up
  9. Give your new transition a name.  (E.g. Check quality) and a description
  10. Leave the screen field blank (for now)
  11. Select (grab) the left-hand node of the new step (status) drag it to the right node of the next status (this creates an outgoing transition)
  12. Being a tidy JIRA master I always move the step to the right place in the lists and indent it (as shown)
  13. Click ‘Publish Draft’
  14. Create a backup copy as directed

Adding conditions to a transition

A condition is a great way to stop people moving issues for many reasons, a regular one is to not allow is someone to skip a step unless they are in the admin group

  1. Open your workflow that you want to change in edit mode, go to the diagram view
  2. Click on the transition that you want to add a condition to, The line will turn blue if single clicked
  3. Click on ‘Conditions’ on the right
  4. Click ‘ Add condition’
  5. Choose the condition (e.g. User is in Group)
  6. Click ‘Add’
  7. Set any parameters that need to be set (e.g. Group)
  8. Click ‘Add’
    You’ll see the new condition in the list
    If you want to go back to the workflow screen.  This is not easy to do.    It’s the link after ‘Workflows’  it’s the name of your workflow
  9. Click ‘Publish Draft’
  10. Create a backup copy as directed

Adding triggers to a transition

A trigger is a great way to automate the tranisitions of a workflow when you’re using Git ior Bitbucket.  JIRA does this by inked pull requests etc. to JIRA and when JIRA recievs information from Git it can automaically trigger a transaction

  1. Open your workflow that you want to change in edit mode, go to the diagram view
  2. Click on the transition that you want to add a condition to, The line will turn blue if single clicked
  3. Click on ‘Trigger’ on the right
  4. Click ‘ Add trigger’
  5. Choose the trigger (e.g. Pull request successful)
  6. Click ‘next’
    You’ll see the new trigger in the list
    If you want to go back to the workflow screen.  This is not easy to do.    It’s the link after ‘Workflows’  it’s the name of your workflow
  7. Click ‘Publish Draft’
  8. Create a backup copy as directed

Adding a screen to a transition

You might have seen a screen pop up when you move from one status to another (transition).  This is a screen associated with that transition.

  1. Open your workflow that you want to change in edit mode, go to the diagram view
  2. Double Click on the transition that you want to add a condition to
    A new window opens
  3. Choose a screen from the dropdown
    These screens are configured under ‘Screens’ on the left-hand column.  For this, we’ll presume you already have a screen you want to re-use
  4. Click ‘Save’
  5. Click ‘Publish Draft’
  6. Create a backup copy as directed

Removing transitions

Sometimes it is necessary to remove transitions, especially when you add a new one.

  1. Open your workflow that you want to change in edit mode, go to the diagram view
  2. Click on the transition that you want to add a condition to, The line will turn blue if single clicked
  3. Click on ‘Delete’ on the right
  4. Click on ‘Delete’

Note:  NEVER leave a status without an in going transition

Footnote – How to find out which JIRA workflow your project is using

  1. Go to the cog (top right)
  2. Select ‘Projects’
  3. Click on the project name that you want to change the workflow for
  4. Click ‘Workflow’ on the left-hand menu
    All Workflows for that project will be listed
  5. Click the pencil icon to Edit it.

Beware!  Workflows can be shared by other Projects, making changes to a workflow is global for all Projects that use it.

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