Master Subtasking in Backlog for Optimal Task Organization

Depending on the size of your project, tasks in Backlog can start to get out of control if you don’t decide how you’re going to group and organize them.

With task detail options like due date, assignee, milestone, and version, you’re off to a good start. But there’s a powerful organizational tool that many Backlog users fail to fully take advantage of subtasking.

By introducing this simple hierarchy to your tasks, you can keep related tasks sorted together and your entire project more organized.

Here’s a quick tutorial to help you master subtasking in Backlog.

*The subtasking feature is only available on paid plans.*

Understanding subtasking

In Backlog, the subtasking hierarchy is made up of “parent issues” and “child issues.” You can assign as many smaller child issues to a parent issue as you’d like.

Keeping smaller tasks under one parent issue allows for:

– Easier tracking of task delegation and progress,
– Simpler overviews of related issues, and ultimately
– Smoother management of large projects.

Breaking down tasks into smaller parts also makes it easier to assign particular parts of a task to different people and track those parts independently.

Note: To begin using the subtasking feature for a project, the Project Administrator needs to check the “Enable subtasking” box on the Project Settings page.

Checked "Enable Subtasking" box

Subtasking issues

There are several methods for linking issues together, both by creating new issues and by connected existing ones. We’ll walk you through each option.

Adding a new issue as a child issue

There are two ways to add a new issue as a child issue.

1. From the Issue page

  • Select the “Add child issue” icon in the subtasking section of the Issue page.Adding a new issue from the Issue page
  • Click “Add new child issue.”Add new child issue
  • Fill out the details of your new issue.
  • And save.

The issue added will become a child issue to the original issue.

Note: If the issue is a child issue itself, the new issue will be a child issue to the same parent issue.

2. From the Add Issue page

  • Select the “Browse” button next to the “Parent issue” box.Select Browse
  • Search for and select the appropriate issue you would like to designate as the parent issue.Select parent issue
  • And save.

That issue will now appear as a child issue to the parent issue you selected.

Note: The parent issue must be in the same project.

Assigning an existing issue as a child issue

There are two ways of setting an existing issue as a child issue.

1. From the Issue page

  • Select the “Add child issue” icon, and click “Add existing issue.”Add existing issue
  • Search for and select the appropriate issue you would like to add as a child issue.Search for existing issue

The selected issue will be added to the Subtasking section of the parent issue page you selected.

Note: If the issue is a child issue itself, the new issue will be a child issue for the same parent issue.

2. From the Edit issue page

  • Open the Edit issue page by selecting the “Edit” icon in the upper-right-hand corner.Edit Issue
  • Select the “Browse” button next to the “Parent issue” box.Edit issue browse
  • Search for and select the appropriate issue you would like to designate as the parent issue.Edit issue select parent issue
  • And save.

That issue will now appear as a child issue to the parent issue you selected.

Note: The parent issue must be in the same project.

Assigning/Remove a parent issue

A parent issue can be assigned or removed by editing any issue.

From the Issue page,

  • Select the “Edit” icon in the upper-right-hand corner.Edit Issue
  • Select the “Browse” button next to the “Parent issue” box.Edit issue browse
  • Search for and select the appropriate issue you would like to designate as the parent issue OR delete the parent issue key.
  • And save.

Your child issue will be added to or removed from its parent issue depending on your selection.

Remember: The parent issue must be in the same project.

Closing a parent issue

When you change a parent issue’s status to “closed,” a dialog box will appear asking whether you want to close all issues contained in that parent issue or just the parent issue itself.

Close all issues

When you select “Close all issues,” the statuses of all child issues will also be changed to “closed.”

When you select “Close only parent issue,” only the parent issue’s status will change to “closed.” All other child issue’s and their statuses will remain the same.

Final Thoughts

Subtasking is useful and often under-utilized. Adding a simple hierarchy to a set of tasks helps your team remember how everything fits together, and it helps you track them together.

 

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