We're sorry, the browser you are using is limiting the functionality of this website. To get the best experience, we recommend that you switch to an up-to-date fully supported web browser. If you feel that you have received this message in error, please contact us.

Multipart article

The Professional Guide to Jira Workflows

Try Smartsheet for Free

Much of the power of Jira comes from its workflows, both the simple default workflows and the custom workflows that you create to correspond to your organization’s needs. Although potentially beneficial to your process, custom Jira workflows are a significant undertaking. In this article, we provide tutorials to help you get under the hood of JIRA to create, fine-tune, and implement your workflow. In addition, our article “The Essential Guide to Jira Workflow Best Practices” discusses workflow concepts and provides example workflows.

Jira Options: New, Existing, or Downloaded Workflows

With Jira, you have options for how you find your workflow. You can create your own, copy an existing workflow and edit it, or download a workflow from Atlassian Marketplace or elsewhere.

Keep in mind that if you copy a workflow that is already in use with projects (called an active workflow) and want to make changes to it, you will be editing a draft copy. When you’re ready to save changes, Jira asks if you want to save the original, unedited version as a backup.

How to Create a New Workflow in Jira

  1. Open Jira. 
    Jira Workflow Left Pane

  2. Click Issues, and then click Workflows.
    Jira Workflow Workflow Button
  3. To create a new workflow, click the Add workflow button.
  4. Type in a name and add a workflow description. The new workflow opens and is ready to edit.

How to Configure a New or Existing Workflow

You can add states and transitions to new or existing workflows. Keep in mind that some restrictions are placed on the editing of active workflows. You edit Jira workflows in the Workflow Designer, using either the Diagram or Text view.


Use the diagram format for an overview of your workflow as you build it. The text version expedites adding labels and descriptions to steps and transitions. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll work in the Diagram view. For more information on planning and creating a new workflow, see The Essential Guide to Jira Workflow Best Practices.

  1. Click the Add status button to add your first status. Name your new status. Important: You can reuse an existing status found in active workflows, but any changes you make to it will affect other workflows. Click Add.
  2. Repeat the previous step to add the next step in the workflow. You can create all the steps at once and then add the transitions, or you can add transitions as you create each step. You can click and drag the step boxes to arrange them in a pattern that shows the logic of the workflow. Keep in mind that you should publish the finished diagram to your team so they can understand the workflow.

  3. To add a transition, click Add transition.

  4. Specify where you want the transition to go. Name it and click Add.

  5. When using a workflow, you may want to return a work item to a previous status. To do this, you must add an extra transition between steps. After you add all the statuses and transitions forward and back (where appropriate), your workflow should look something like this:

    Your new workflow appears on the Workflows page at the bottom in the Inactive list.

Delete a Step

You can delete a step only if it has no transitions.

Jira Workflow Delete Step
  • Click the Delete Step link.

Add a Transition Screen

If you need user input during a transition, you can display a screen on transition. Jira calls this a View screen.

  1. In your workflow, click the Edit button.
  2. In the Diagram, select the transition you want to change. Click the Edit button.
  3. Select a screen from the Screen box. Default Screen and Resolve Issue Screens show the complete form for the issue with all available fields. The Workflow Screen allows you to assign the work item to a user and add a comment. Click the Save button.
  4. Click Update.

Add a Trigger

  1. In your workflow, select the transition where you want to add a trigger. Click Edit.

  2. In the Workflow Editor, select the transition again. In the properties panel, click Triggers.

  3. Click Add Trigger.

    Jira Workflow Triggers
  4. Select the trigger type, and then click Next.

Add Conditions

  1. In your workflow, select the transition to which you want to add a condition.

    Jira Workflow Select Transition
  2. In the properties panel, click Conditions.

    Jira Workflow Properties Menu
  3. Click Add Condition.

    Jira Workflow Add Condition
  4. Select the condition you want from the list.

    Jira Workflow Conditions
  5. Click Add.

Add a Validator

  1. In your workflow, select the transition to which you want to add a validator.

  2. In the properties panel, click Validators.

  3. Click Add validator.

  4. Select the validator and click Add.

    Jira Workflow Validators

Customize and Apply a Post Function

  1. In your workflow, select the transition you want to edit.

  2. Click Post Functions. Click Add Post Function.

    Jira Workflow Add Post Function
  3. Select the function you want. Click Add.

  4. On the Add Parameters page, specify any new settings. Click Add.

  5. Click Add

How to Activate the New Workflow

  1. Create a new project or open an existing project.

  2. Click Project Settings. Click Workflows.

  3. Click Add Workflow.

  4. Click Add Existing. Select the new workflow. Click Next.

  5. Click the types of issues you want to associate with the workflow.

  6. Click the Finish button.

  7. Click the Publish button.

    Jira Workflow Publish Workflow
  8. On the Publish Workflows page, you’ll be asked to associate the current status of each item with the new status. It’s OK if you have more new statuses than are available to map.

  9. When you’re done making the matches, click Associate. The issues are migrated to the new workflows. Click Acknowledge.

  10. Click Board Settings.

  11. Arrange the unmapped statuses. Create and rename new columns as needed. Learn more about Jira Kanban boards.

Get Project Teams on the Same Page with Jira and Smartsheet

After you’ve created your Jira workflow, you’ll likely find out why Jira has emerged as a great tool for managing Agile software development and IT projects, particularly for technical teams. But if you have a cross-functional project that requires collaboration between technical and nontechnical stakeholders, you may notice issues with visibility into the work done in Jira.

This is where the Smartsheet for Jira Connector can help. Smartsheet is an enterprise work execution platform that is fundamentally changing the way businesses and teams work. The familiar Smartsheet interface that is designed for how people actually work leads to rapid and broad adoption across your organization. Easily link Jira data to new or existing sheets in Smartsheet and give business users instant visibility into tasks tracked in Jira.

Users can view, share, and edit a set of issues linked between Jira and Smartsheet, and all data is updated in real time, in both systems. Contact us to learn more about managing projects with the Smartsheet for Jira Connector.

Discover how Smartsheet can help maximize your Jira efforts today.

Try Smartsheet for Jira Connector

Discover why over 74,000 brands trust Smartsheet to get work done.

Try Smartsheet for Free