JIRA - Workflow

In JIRA, workflow is used to track the lifecycle of an Issue. Workflow is a record of statuses and transitions of an issue during its lifecycle. A status represents the stage of an issue at a particular point. An issue can be in only one status at a given point of time like Opened, To Do, Done, Closed, Assigned, etc.

A transition is a link between two statuses when an issue moves from one status to another. For an issue to move between two statuses, a transition must exist. In a simple way, a transition is some kind of work done on the issue, while status is the impact of work on that issue.


As of now, an issue is created and opened. When the assignee starts working on the issue, the issue moves to the In Progress status. Here, the transition is starting the work, while the status of the issue is now progressive.

JIRA workflow has the following stages to track as soon as an issue is created −

  • Open Issue − After creation, the issue is open and can be assigned to the assignee to start working on it.

  • In Progress Issue − The assignee has actively started to work on the issue.

  • Resolved Issue − All sub-tasks and works of that Issue are completed. Now, the issue is waiting to be verified by the reporter. If verification is successful, it will be closed or re-opened, if any further changes are required.

  • Reopened Issue − This issue was resolved previously, but the resolution was either incorrect or missed a few things or some modifications are required. From Reopened stage, issues are marked either as assigned or resolved.

  • Close Issue − The issue is considered as finished, resolution is correct as of now. Closed issues can be re-opened later based on the requirement.

JIRA Workflow can be referred as a Defect Lifecycle. It follows the same concepts; the only difference is that it is generic for all issues rather than limited to Defects only.

The following diagram shows a standard workflow −

Standard Workflow

A transition is a one-way link, if an issue moves back and forth between two statuses; two transitions should be created.

Example − There are two-way transitions between closed and re-opened statuses. A closed issue can be reopened if any modifications are required at any time until the project completes, while a re-opened issue can be closed directly if additional work is taken care in another issue and no specific work has been done on the re-opened issue.