How we automated a workflow with Jira sub-task templates

Apps, Atlassian

27 June 2017 • 11 min read

    Originally published June 27, updated November 9, 2020

    During the last year, the size of our team doubled. Going through onboarding with so many new hires was a challenge for administrators, HR managers, and team leaders. Every month, we needed to create a number of a big bunch of identical issues assigned to different people. At some point, we decided to automate the whole process. To make it through onboarding of new employees rolling in to the company, we needed to implement a new hire workflow that would automatically create a number of specific sub-tasks with different assignees, descriptions, summaries, and other fields. We went for one of our apps, Issue Templates for Jira, which already did good in a similar case

    Create Jira sub-tasks template

    We’ve been using Issue Templates for Jira since the beginning of the app and we love it not only because it’s our “child”. It enabled us to create consistent request forms with some preset variables that would be automatically filled. Of course, we perform regular audits of the repository to know if we need to update some of the variables to meet the needs of our employees. This way, we don’t have to spend so much time on creating the issue – for standard tasks we prepared issue templates with autocompleted fields, meaning that we only need to fill in some additional information. However, onboarding demanded a completely new approach.

    To streamline our workflow, we needed a template that automatically adds all the sub-tasks to a parent issue whenever a new employee is hired. After we created the issue templatedefined set of fields autofilled in the template, and added variables like [Full name], [Department] or  [Location] to the parent issue, we needed to also enable the option to copy sub-tasks from the issue template to newly created requests based on this template. This process looks slightly different on Cloud and Server, and seeing as our company uses both, we’ll take a closer look on how to make it work.

    Jira Cloud

    In our Cloud instance, we only needed to follow 3 simple steps to configure a template with subtasks. First, we went to the project we had chosen as a template repository and clicked on the issue template we had created for onboarding. There, we used the toggle to enable Copy Subtasks option, and then, we selected more ( ••• ) and clicked Create sub-task. After creating a first sub-task, we added more by clicking ( + ) in the Sub-tasks section of the issue.

    Now, every time we hire someone new, we only need to choose Create from Template from the side menu to easily create a new issue with automatically copied sub-tasks.

    On this animation, we show how easy creating subtask templates is in Jira Cloud.

    Jira Server

    The procedure looks very similar to the one on Cloud instance. The only difference is that we didn’t enable the Create Structure function. Instead, we added this post-function to the workflow.

    1. Go to the Template repository project and choose the template you want to edit.
    2. Open More and tap Create sub-task.
    3. Complete fields in sub-template pop-up window and click Create.
    4. Open newly created sub-task, click on Set of fields in Issue Templates Details section and select fields (or saved set of fields) from the drop down.
    5. Click Create conditions. Optionally, you can add  a condition when given subtask should be created. Type preferred transition into the tab, e.g. ‘ON_CREATE’, ‘ON_CLOSE’ or ‘IN_PROGRESS’. Click on pencil in Copy sub-task tab and select Stage from drop down list. Take into account that Stage is an option and that it requires configuration on the post-function side.
    6. Here, you can add a stage to sub-task to automatically generate a sub-task, when a template issue passes a transition in workflow.
    7. Choose Create Criteria Query (optional). You can use Jira Query Language (JQL) to create sub-tasks.

    Just like in Cloud, we continued adding other sub-tasks to the template to create a complete workflow for a new hire.

    Further automation

    We also added information about an assignee to the parent issue or its sub-tasks, as well as automated creating users on the corporate LDAP server for the new hires, adding them to Active Directory groups, and putting in their attributes with Active Directory Attributes Sync app. To display the AD attributes on issue view, we created a dedicated custom field from the app in the Jira Administration panel and chose the appropriate fields to display. Then, we went back to the Workflows in Project Settings and added another post function, this time to update data on create transition in AD.

    Active Directory create user postfunction


    The next time we hire a new employee, all we need to do is create a new issue from that template and we can be sure that all sub-tasks will be copied exactly as we defined them. There’s no need to create individual issues for standard tasks like “Create a company email address” or “Create username and password for computer access”. Now, thanks to Issue Templates for Jira and the addition of Active Directory Attributes Sync on Server, covering the whole onboarding process takes us no longer than 10 seconds. 

    If you’d like to learn more about Issue Templates for Jira Server or Cloud, take a free 30-day trial from the Atlassian Marketplace, or read Server and Cloud documentation. You can also book a live demo via Calendly, if you’d like to see the app in action. 

    Read more on Issue Templates for Jira: 

    Also published on LinkedIn and the Atlassian Community.

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