Preparing Your Initiative


A Jira Initiative is what you traditionally might call a "project" in the real world. An Initiative is a big-picture goal with milestones, tasks, a timeline, stakeholders, etc.

  • An Initiative for Event Professionals might be planning a wedding or throwing a barbeque – each with a long list of tasks and objectives that need planning and execution.

When you create your Initiative, there are many fields where you can provide more information about it. Before you begin, it’s best to have a clear idea in your mind of what your Initiative will entail. Once you have your initiative planned out, you’re ready to create it in Jira, which we walk through on the "Managing Issues" page.

When you create an Initiative in Jira, there are a number of fields you can modify to provide more information.

Let’s look at how an example team, Event Professionals, might think through an Initiative of planning a wedding.

Issue field descriptions and real-world examples
Field Description Wedding Example
Summary The name of the Initiative (in traditional terms, the name of the "project"). Mary and Sanju Wedding
Description A longer description of the Initiative. Planning for and throwing Mary and Sanju Wedding
Sponsor Typically someone in a leadership role (e.g. an executive or director) who sets the Initiative's budget and pulls in resources as necessary. Bride and Groom’s Parents
Manager The person who is in charge of getting the Initiative done, including managing resources, keeping track of the timing, etc. Bride and Groom
Resources List one or more people who will work on this Initiative as necessary (e.g. subject-matter experts). Bridesmaids, groomsmen, siblings
Stakeholders List one or more people who are somehow invested in the completion of this Initiative (e.g. a client) Mary, Sanju
Target start Hopeful start date 05/03/2021
Target end Hopeful end date 06/02/2021
Start date Actual start date 01/31/2021
End date Actual end date 06/02/2021
Labels Use one or more labels to help you categorize this issue. You can create new labels or use existing ones. Party, Summer, Formal
Linked issues

Determine the relationship between this Issue and another one. Available relationships include: is blocked by, blocks, clones, is cloned by, duplicates, is duplicated by, causes, is caused by, relates to. 

The “Issues” field below is then used to specify which Issues this is related to.
Issue Used together with the previous “Linked issues” field. This is where you specify what other existing Issues this particular issue is related to. COVID Pandemic
Security level Determines the visibility of this Issue. Choice: Confidental or None.
Selecting “Confidential” limits visibility to users in the Issue’s Assignee and/or Resources fields.
Attachment Attach files to the Issue. Attachments will be accessible to anyone who can view the Issue. Pictures of desired dresses


Once you have the details surrounding your Initiative, you’re ready to break it down into a hierarchy of objectives, ranging from major milestones to bite-sized sub-tasks. Each level in an Initiative is called an issue. In Jira, the different levels of issues in a project might have different names than you’re used to.

For Event Professionals’ Wedding initiative, the task hierarchy might look like this:

Diagram of issue hierarchy

The final type of issue in Jira are Risks:

  • Events or concerns that could potentially go wrong and cause a delay or block on the issue.
    • For example, the desired caterer or venue might already be booked for a different event or cancel at the last minute.

Each Jira issue, or task, within your initiative can be assigned a target and actual start date and end date. These timings can be adjusted throughout the project either by editing the issue directly or via a Plan that has been set up to include this project, which also lists your issue hierarchy. For more information, see the page on "Using Plans".

A plan view in Jira

When considering timing, two important things to take into consideration are:

  • Dependencies.
    • Do any tasks depend on another?
    • Dependencies are configured in Jira by the “Blocked By” field when creating issues.
    • For example, the task “Create Seating Cards” cannot be started until the task “Split Guest List Into Tables” is complete.
  • The critical path, also known as the best case scenario.
    • This is determining the minimum amount of time the entire Initiative will take to complete if nothing goes awry.
    • This will help you enter your Target Start Date and Target End Date when creating the Initiative.
sample project timeline