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Dependencies: visualizing issue links

When planning work across teams, it’s important to manage the dependencies between different pieces of work. This allows you to see and remove blockers so that your teams can execute smoothly.

In Easy Agile Programs, you can visualize links between Jira issues as dependency lines.

This means that an issue link like “is blocked by” will show as a line between the two issues in Easy Agile Programs.

Jira DC issue blocks and is blocked by.png

The app will use 1 issue link type from Jira; by default, this is “blocks” / “is blocked by”. The link type can be configured for each Program; see “Configuring dependency link types” below.

Use the Program board page to see an overview of the dependencies across your Increment or Release Train.

Program board spaghetti.png

On the Team planning page, you can track both in-team dependencies and dependencies with other teams.

Team planning spaghetti.png

Add another team from your Program using the “Other teams” button in the top right. If there are already dependencies with that team, you’ll see colored numbers describing the health of those dependencies.

Team planning add another tema.png

Use this to visualize how your team’s work depends on or enables other teams.

Team planning cross-team dependencies.png

By seeing the potential blockers and sequencing work as needed, you can enable smoother cross-team work towards your shared goals.

A dependency line shows which issue needs to be done first, and which issue is dependent on it and must be done second.

  • red line is shown when the second issue is scheduled before the first issue: this plan has a Conflict.

  • An orange line is shown when both issues are scheduled in the same sprint: this plan is At risk.

  • green line is shown when the issues are scheduled in the right sequence: this plan is Healthy.

A 🔗 link icon or black line on an issue card shows an external dependency: this means that the other issue isn’t currently visible on this page.

Team Planning page external dependency line.png

The other issue might be:

  • Not scheduled yet

  • Scheduled in a team board you’re not currently looking at

  • Hidden by the currently-applied filters.

On the Program Roadmap page:

  • An icon will show on features when they’re linked to a feature scheduled in a different Increment. The app does not currently display dependency lines between Increments.

  • Visualising links to not-currently-visible issues (like the external dependencies on other pages of the app) is not possible on this page.

Cross-increment dependency info.png

When you hover over a dependency line, you’ll see an (info) information icon. Click this to see the details of this dependency link.

Team planning issues dependency info icon.png
Dependency details.png

On earlier versions of Easy Agile Programs, there is a (error) cross icon when you hover on a dependency line (instead of an information icon). This will trigger a pop-up asking you if you want to delete this issue link from the Jira issues.

You can switch dependency lines on and off based on their health/color. For example, you might switch off green Healthy dependencies so that you can focus on resolving At-risk and Conflict plans.

Team planning filter Healthy dependencies.gif

You’ll find this option in a dropdown in the app header:

On the Program board, use the “View settings” dropdown to configure dependency health colors.

View settings dropdown.png

On the Program roadmap or Team planning pages, use the “Dependencies” dropdown.

Team planning Dependencies dropdown.png
Program roadmap dependencies dropdown.png

The Dependencies map is only available:

  • on Jira Cloud (i.e. Jira sites with “….atlassian.net” in the URL)

  • on Jira Data Center with app version 6.4.0+

A Jira Administrator can install the latest version of the app.

Use the Dependencies map on the Program board to focus on only the planned work that’s interdependent.

Dependencies map toggle in highlighted, off.png

Instead of showing or hiding the dependency lines, this allows you to filter issue cards based on whether they have dependencies.

Dependencies map open.png

We recommend using this view to identify the dependencies that could become blockers or bottlenecks in your Program. At risk or Conflict dependencies, an issue that blocks many other issues, or a chain of issues that must be done in sequence could all pose a risk to the planned work.

Use the checkboxes to filter issues based on the health of their connected dependencies.

Dependencies map switch off Healthy.gif

Note:

  • Other Filters (e.g. Status, Team) will not be applied to this view.

  • Team-level issues will always show, even if you’ve switched them off in the “View settings” dropdown.

Easy Agile is working on more features for dependency visualization and reporting!

Let us know what you think of the beta version of the Dependencies map, or keep an eye out for more on updates.easyagile.com.

Open the Filters panel on the Program board to filter the page based on Dependency health, Status category, or Team/board.

For example, you might choose to show issues with At risk or Conflict dependencies so that you can assess these potential risks.

Program board Filters drawer open with Filters drawer highlighted.png

Note: If two issues visible with these filters also have a dependency of a different color, that other link will show too.

There are two ways to create dependencies between issues:

  1. Create a dependency between two team-level issues on the Team planning page.

  2. Add an issue link to an issue in Jira.

It’s currently only possible to create dependencies between two team-level issues within the app.

On the Team planning page, switch to “Create dependencies” mode using the button in the header. The button will be dark when this mode is enabled.

Create dependencies mode button.gif

In “Create dependencies” mode, click two issues to create a new dependency:

  1. The issue that requires something

  2. The issue that unblocks the first issue

In newer versions of the app, you’ll see help text on the line that says what link type and direction you’ll create.

Create dependencies in team.gif

This issue link will be added to the issues in Jira.

Jira DC issue view showing is blocked by.png

Add another team to view and manage dependencies across teams.

Use the “Other teams” button in the header to add another team to the page.

Team planning add another tema.png

You can use “Create dependencies” mode to create cross-team dependencies as well.

Create dpeendenices across teams.png

Add an issue link in Jira to see that link on the issue in Easy Agile Programs. To do this, edit the issue in Jira.

Jira Cloud (has “….atlassian.net” in the URL)

Jira Data Center

Use the 🔗 “Link issue” button:

Jira Cloud issue view Link issue button.png

This might be shortened to the 🔗 Link icon on small screens:

Jira Cloud issue view Link issue short button.png

Under the “More” menu, use the “Link” option.

Jira DC issue view More dropdown Link highlighted.png

See Atlassian’s guide for Jira Cloud.

See Atlassian’s guide for Jira Data Center.

The issue link type will need to match the Dependency link type configured for the Program.

  • View the details of any existing dependency to check the issue link type it uses.

  • A user with Manage Programs” permission can see the Dependency link type in the Edit Program menu.

If you have the latest version of the app, you’ll also see the issue link type named in the Dependencies map panel on the Program board page.

Dependency map with link type highlighted.png

When viewing the Dependency details modal, you’ll have the option to delete a dependency link. This will delete the issue link in Jira.

Dependency details delete highlighted.png

If you’ve made a mistake, watch for a flag in the bottom left of your screen with an “Undo” button.

Dependency deleted flag undo.png

You can also remove the issue link from the issue in Jira. The dependency line will be gone the next time you load or refresh the Easy Agile Programs app.

On earlier versions of Easy Agile Programs, there is a (error) cross icon when you hover on a dependency line (instead of an information icon). This will trigger a pop-up asking you if you want to delete this issue link from the Jira issues.

When creating or editing a Program, you can choose the issue link type from Jira to use for dependencies.

Use the “Edit program” button in the top right of the Program roadmap page to edit the settings for an existing Program.

Edit Program button highlighted.png

The “Dependency link type” settings are at the bottom of this form.

Edit Program Dependency link type.png

The dropdown will show all issue link types configured for your Jira site. This will include Jira’s default link types and any custom link types configured by a Jira Administrator.

Easy Agile Programs will use “blocks” / “is blocked by” by default.

Note:

  • You can only select one issue link type for a Program. This means all teams in the Program will need to use the same issue link type in Jira. Other Programs can use a different issue link type.

  • A Jira Administrator can disable issue linking for the whole Jira site. This means issue links won’t be visible at all in Jira or Easy Agile Programs. See Atlassian’s guide Configure issue linking for Jira Cloud or for Jira Data Center.

If dependency lines aren’t working as expected, reach out to the Easy Agile support team!

Use “Flip directions of dependency link type” in Edit Program if the link health colors shown in Easy Agile Programs don’t match the link text. This setting only changes the visualization in the app, not the issue link data in Jira.

For example, say Issue 1 needs to be done before Issue 2.

An issue link in Jira says that Issue 1 blocks Issue 2.

Jira DC Issue 1 blocks Issue 2.png

(tick) If Issue 1 is scheduled first, the dependency link between them should be green: they’re in the correct order.

Issue 1 blocks Issue 2.png

(error) If issues scheduled in the correct order show a red dependency line, use “Flip directions of dependency link type” to fix this.

Issue 1 Conflict dependency with Issue 2.png

This setting will not change which order dependencies are created in “Create dependencies” mode on the Team Planning page.

To create new issue links, you’ll need the “Link Issues” permission. If the issues you want to link are from different Jira projects, you’ll need this permission for both projects.

If you don’t have permission to create issue links in Jira, you’ll see an error when trying to create dependencies in Easy Agile Programs.

A Jira Administrator can update these permissions by editing the Permissions Scheme for the project(s). See Atlassian’s guide for Jira Cloud or for Jira Data Center.

The “Linked issues” field might be hidden on the Issue Screen. This doesn’t stop the “Linked issues” section showing in the Jira issue view, but does prevent apps like Easy Agile TeamRhythm from loading issue link data.


From v6.0.0, the Jira impediment flag is visible across all screens of the app.

The impediment flag is currently view-only. To add or remove the flag, you will need to go to your Jira backlog.

If you’d like to be able to add/remove the flag from within Easy Agile Programs, please reach out to us via support.

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