Jira issues as key results or actions/initiatives

By on August 13, 2018

One of the common mistakes while doing OKRs is turning tasks into key results.

Jira is a project management platform that tracks day-to-day tasks of users. Since UpRaise for Employee Success is an OKR tool developed for Jira, we often hear a question. That is, how Jira issues relate to OKRs?

Below we try to address this question with the help of a feature highlight. Recently, we’ve upgraded Employee Success to allow this flexibility in the OKR structure.

Feature highlight

We think there are some situations where Jira issues qualify as key results. At the same time, we don’t intend to force our thinking on the teams.

Below are the two supported approaches to structure OKRs.

  • Jira issues as key results


If you do plan to link Jira issues as key results, we recommend only linking Epics. It would be too much of an overhead to link even simple Jira tasks to objectives.

Here, idea is to link only those Jira issues which are of consequence in achieving the objective.

In this case, change in Jira issue resolution does impact progress of the key result & objective.

  • Jira issues as actions

If you belong to the school of thought that says, Jira issues shouldn’t be key results – we have you covered.

Just configure the OKR settings so that the Jira issues can link to key results in the form of actions. Some other systems call this layer initiatives, as well.

Do note that when Jira issues link to key results as actions, they do not impact the KR progress.

Here is how the configuration looks like under advanced OKR settings –


This approach now lets us scale the system further with third party integrations. The actions can not only come from Jira but also any other tool that can add value.


Every team is different & thus the possibility to adopt varied approaches. But make sure to brainstorm & debate both ways of doing OKRs. What makes the most sense for you & how your process can scale over time.

Don’t hesitate to experiment but do make informed assumptions before starting the experiment.

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