Why Accurate Jira Epic Progress Reports Are So Important
If you’ve ever wanted to track Jira Epic progress based on completed story points or time spent, you’d have found it’s not the easiest process.
Whilst it isn’t hard to work out the progress of your Epics in terms of the number of issues completed, this approach can give you a false reading if you’re using estimates.
One issue can be estimated at 1 story point and another at 10 story points. If one out of two issues is complete, it’d seem like your Epic is 50% done in Jira.
But if it was just the 1 story point issue, it’s really only 10% done.
This problem also occurs when using time estimates. The Story with an original estimate of 1 hour is treated the same as the Story with an original estimate of 8 hours.
This problem is compounded if you’re trying to work out the progress of a group of Epics. Those error riddled calculations roll up to give you a distorted view of how your initiative or release is going.
If you really want accurate insights into how your Epics are progressing, you’re going to need to track Epic progress in a more granular way.
Track Epic Progress With Jira’s Built-In Epic Report And Epic Burndown Report
Jira’s Built-in Epic Report
One way to track Epic progress based on story points or time spent is to use Jira’s built-in Epic Report feature.
This lets you select any Epic or Epic Link and track the total number of story points completed or total time logged. It gives you an indication of how far away your Epic is from being completed based on the estimate progress of its child issues.
This is a useful report if you don’t have many Epics.
You get to see exactly how much of your Epic has been completed and how much work is left to be done.
But if you want to track the estimate progress of multiple Epics as a group, Jira’s built-in report may not be enough. Jira’s built-in report only lets you track the progress of one Epic or Epic Link at a time.
This can be a problem if you have lots of Epics and many different Epic Links.
Jira’s Built-in Epic Burndown Report
Another option for tracking Epic progress is Jira’s built-in Epic Burndown Report. Like the Epic Report, you can track the total number of story points completed or time logged against an Epic or set of Epic Links.
You can also track the story points remaining or remaining time estimate.
But the burndown report lets you go a step further.
You can forecast how many sprints will be required to complete an Epic or set of Epic Links. This is a handy feature if your team is using sprints and completing an Epic over many cycles.
However, like the Epic Report, you can only look at one Epic or set of Epic Links at a time. If you want to track progress of multiple Epics and Epics Links at the same time, you’re out of luck.
Track Epic Progress Across Multiple Epics In Jira With Agile Docs
Another way to accurately calculate the percent completion of your Epics is with Agile Docs.
Agile Docs creates an estimate tree which rolls up your estimates from the smallest sub-task up to entire projects or filters. You can easily see how far along each Epic is based on the percentage of story points completed or time logged.
Unlike Jira’s built-in Epic Report and Epic Burndown Report, you can track the estimate progress of multiple Epics and Epic Links on a single page.
You also get a handy tree view to help you visualise how all the parts of your project fit together.
In the example above, the Epic ADK-108 contains 2 stories. One is complete, the other is in progress. If you were calculating progress in terms of the number of issues completed, it would be 50% complete (1/2 issues complete).
But the completed story (ADK-113) had a story point estimate of 3 and the one in progress (ADK-109) contains 2 sub-tasks which are estimated at 9 and 4 story points respectively. The 4 story point point sub-task is complete and the 9 story point sub-task has not yet begun.
This means the story ADK-109 has 4 story points completed out of 13 and the parent Epic ADK-108 has 7 story points completed out of 16. This works out to be 44% complete, instead of the 50% complete we would have worked out from just the number of issues completed.
This can then be combined with the rolled up story points values of the other Epics in your project to determine the progress of the entire project is 10% ( 11 / 106 story points)
Agile Docs breaks this down in a simple way so we can easily see how the estimate at each level rolls up to the level above.
Generate a Consolidated Jira Epic Progress Report
To view a consolidated Epic progress report, uncheck “Expand All Levels”. This will show a condensed view of your Epics so you can view the estimate progress of multiple Epics at a glance.
From here you can sort Epics by their rolled up story point or time tracking values to see which Epics are lagging in any segment.
The ability to sort Epics by their estimate progress is not possible with Jira’s built-in Epic Report or Epic Burndown Report.
Embed Your Jira Epic Report In Confluence
If you want to share your Epic Progress reports with the rest of the team, you can embed your Epic Progress Report in Confluence.
This lets you share your estimate progress report with colleagues quickly and easily.
Agile Docs lets you use your saved filters to bring up any set of issues you like. You may have a saved filter which brings up each Epic in your initiative, or even Epics across multiple projects.
Use Rolled Up Epic Estimate Fields In JQL Queries
You’ll then have access to the following numerical fields in Jira on each issue:
|Story Point Total||Story point total of issue|
|Story Points Completed||Story points completed in issue|
|Story Point Progress (%)||Story point % progress of issue|
|Time Spent Total (hrs)||Total time spent in issue|
|Time Remaining Total (hrs)||Total current estimate of issue. This corresponds to the total time spent + time remaining of the Issue|
|Original Estimate Total (hrs)||The total original estimate of an Issue|
|Time Progress (%)||Time % progress of Issue. This corresponds to the time spent / current estimate of the Issue|
These fields can be used in JQL queries or displayed inside Epics.
For example, to find every issue with more than 40 story points completed, you could create a filter using the expression “Story Points Completed” > 40. You could also set the fields “Story Points Completed”, “Story Point Total” and “Story Point Progress” to display in your filter.
You can export this table as a csv for use in excel or copy a link to it and share it with stakeholders.
Access Jira Epic Completion Percentages Inside Issues
You can also display rolled up estimate fields inside each Epic.
The story point completion percentage, percent time logged against the current estimate, story points completed, time spent total, time remaining total and original estimate total are all available to be displayed inside issues.
This gives a quick reference for any team members which visit the Epic without needing to go to an external dashboard or report.
Accurate Reporting Means Better Product Decisions
It’s hard to make good product decisions when you don’t know where your team is at. Using the number of issues completed to track the progress of Epics means you never know whether an Epic is a week or a month away from release.
Start tracking the progress of your Epics by their estimate progress today.