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How to create Epics with Jira Greenhopper Plugin

Mar 07, 2013
Belen Padilla
Belen Padilla

At Oshyn we recently upgraded the Jira plugin Greenhopper to the latest version, 6.1. This new version introduces a new functionality: Epics. I’ll take you through how to create an Epic in an existing Jira Project and show all the actions that can be done with an Epic, including: add a new story to the Epic, add an existing issue to the Epic, remove an issue from an Epic, and finally how to complete an Epic.

What is an Epic?

Epics represent big feature areas in a project. My project is “Oshyn’s Mobile site” and the main features are:

  • Home Page
  • Search
  • Promotions Page

Each Epic is composed of several stories that can be completed over one or more sprints. My Epic “Search” contains these stories:

  • Search Autocomplete
  • Search Results
  • Search Results Pagination
  • Search Results Filtering

Create a Scrum Board

Epics apply to Scrum projects where work is planned in Sprints, so first we need to create a Scrum Board in Jira. Follow these steps:

  1. Login to Jira
  2. In the top menu, click on Agile > Getting Started
  3. Click on “Create a new Scrum Board” link
  4. Insert the Board name and select the project

Boards are created containing all issues in the selected project.

Create the Epic

  1. In the new board click on “+” sign in Epics panel.
  2. Insert Epic name and summary.

Give Color to the Epics

In the Epics panel, click on the triangle icon at the right side and choose the desired color.

Associate user stories with the Epic

With Greenhopper, you can add a new story to the Epic or add an existing one.

Create a new story

  1. In the Epics panel, click on the triangle to the left of the Epic name.
  2. Click on the link “Create issue in epic”

In the new window, fill all the needed information for the story.

See the new story is linked to the Epic in the image below:

Now see the Backlog in the board:

The story associated with the Epic shows the Epic name with the chosen color.

Add an existing story or issue to the Epic

To add existing issues to an Epic, a user can simply drag the issue to the Epic and drop it there.

Here is the Scrum Board after I created all the stories needed for the Epic: “Search”

Removing an issue from an Epic

There are two ways to remove an issue from the Epic:

  1. In the board, drag the issue to the link “Issues without Epics” in the Epics Panel.
  2. In the board, click on the Issue link and on the right side you will see the Story information. In Epic field, click on the “x” to remove the Epic.

Completing an Epic

In the panels menu, click on the rectangle on the right side and select “Mark as Done”.

If your team has not completed the stories in the Epic a warning will be shown.

As I have shown in this post, it is very simple to create Epics and associate stories to them. Besides the simplicity of using Epics, here are other advantages of using Epics in Jira:

  • The team is aligned and has a clear idea of what needs to be completed.
  • Epics allow you to visualize team activity and progress.
  • Teams can focus on completing an Epic by clearly knowing which stories need to be completed.
  • The project manager can organize the project backlog by just dragging and dropping issues to Epics.


  • Atlassian (2013). WHAT'S NEW IN GREENHOPPER 6.1.
  • Rosie Jameson (2013). Working with Epics.

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