Introduction

Dependency Map is a tool for analyzing dependencies and other relationships between issues in your Jira projects. You can highlight different aspects of your project by configuring Dependency Map to use different link types, Jira fields, and diagram layouts.
Since the issues that are shown in your maps are fetched using standard Jira filters, you can choose precisely what to include and what to leave out.

Getting started

After Dependency Map has been installed, a new menu item (“Dependency Map”) will become visible in the Apps menu of Jira and in the Project sidebar.

The Apps menu and the project sidebar

Click “Dependency Map” to open the start page, which lists all available dependency maps.

To open an existing map, click the entry in the list of available maps.

The visibility of a dependency map is the same as the filter it is based on. So if you create a map based on, for example, a public filter then that map will be visible to all users on your Jira server. To limit the availability of a dependency map to a specific set of users or user groups, set the availability of the filter accordingly.

Start page displaying all available maps

Creating a map

To create a map, click “Create Dependency Map” on the start page. This opens an empty diagram page, with the configuration slide-in visible on the right hand side.

Select a Jira issue filter in the “Filter” dropdown.  Type parts of the issue filter name to search for matching issue filters.

As soon as a filter is selected, the diagram will be rendered, displaying the issues.

Enter a name in “Map name” and click “Save” to save the map.

To modify the Jira fields that are used for the rows and columns, select the wanted field in the “Columns field” and “Rows field” dropdowns. You can leave either both or one of the Columns or Rows fields empty to get a map with the issues layed out in an “ungrouped” layout.

To modify the content displayed in the issue boxes, add/remove fields in the “Issue content” entry.

Use the “Issue color field” to control which Jira field is used for coloring of the issue boxes in the map.

Configuring maps

To modify the configuration of a map, open the configuration pane on the right hand side of the map, either by clicking on the button (<) or just hovering over the slide-in. Clicking the (<) button makes the configuration slide-in stay open, otherwise it will be automatically hidden when moving the pointer away from it.

The diagram will be updated automatically when you change the configuration settings. This allows you to directly review your changes. To save the changes, click “Save” or click “Revert” to revert to the saved configuration.

To create a copy of a map, click “Save As”, enter a new name in the dialog and click “Ok”.

 

Layouts

Maps can have different layouts. The layouts are selected by the fields in the Column and Row fields. If you leave both empty, the map will use an ungrouped layout. If you select a field for either column and/or rows, you will get a matrix layout.
The ungrouped layout attempts to keep all issues at a similar distance from each other and organizes the issues so that link arrows point downwards or sideways, when possible. Issues which have no link to/from other issues are placed at the bottom of the diagram.
To try out different layouts, simply modify the column/row field selection while viewing the map. Below is an example of an “ungrouped” map, where both the columns and rows fields are left empty:

The map below shows an example where Status is selected as the Rows field (the columns field is left empty):

 

Link following

All Dependency Maps are based on a Jira filter. When a Map is loaded, the filter will return a list of issues to display in the Map.
Sometimes, however, you may want to include issues that are linked to/from those returned by the filter. For example, let’s say that you have a Map based on the Board filter of your Jira Project. This will display all issues in your project, but dependencies to/from other projects will not be included (since those issues are not covered by the filter).
To solve this, you could create a new filter that adds all issues from those projects, but that will result in a Map that displays issues that you aren’t interested in. A better option is to use the Follow links (outside the filter result) option.

The following images illustrates how it works:

Follow links: No

Follow links: 1 step

Follow links: 2 steps

Configuring issue colors

When selecting a field for the “Issue color field”, colors are automatically assigned to the available values for the field. If you, for example, select “Priority”, the priority values – Highest, High, Medium, Low, Lowest – will be displayed with a set of default colors. The color mapping is displayed in the “Issue color” legend and can be customized in the map configuration form.

Click the “cog” icon ⚙️ above the “Issue color field” to open the customization section:

To customize the color for a field value, click the button labeled with the field value and select the desired color in the palette. For a different color than those available in the color palette, you can either enter the hex code or the RGB value for the color.

Tip: use e.g. https://www.color-hex.com/ to find more colors.

When a color is customized, the color button is marked with a (*).

To revert to the default color for a customized value, click the “Revert to default” button (which also displays the default color).

How to work with a dependency map

Once the map is shown, you can navigate it using your mouse and/or trackpad.
To pan, click the left mouse button and drag (or use the pan gesture on your trackpad).
To zoom, use the scroll wheel (or pinch gesture on your trackpad). If you zoom in far enough you will see the Summary of the issue, instead of just the issue key.
To select an issue, click on the issue. To select additional issues, hold control or command and click on the issues. In addition to highlighting the selected issues, Dependency Map will also highlight their links, and any linked issues:

The “Link type” legend shows what links are displayed in the map:

To show or hide links, click the checkbox next to the link type in the Links box. Note that selecting issues will still highlight the links to/from those issues.
The Issue color and Link type legends can be moved by simply dragging them.
To edit an issue in Jira’s standard issue screen, click the issue key at the top of the issue box (e.g. PX-72 in the example above).
The Issue Color legend shows how the colors of the issue boxes are mapped to values.

Toolbar

Dependency Map has a toolbar at the top of the page with the following buttons:

  • Enable/disable editing – click the lock icon to enable editing.
  • Undo – click to revert changes. The tooltip displays details about what will be undone.
  • Redo – click to reapply previously undone changes. The tooltip displays details about what will be undone.
  • Reload issues – reloads the latest changes to issues and updates the map. The Undo/Redo stacks are cleared.
  •   Share map – click to share the map. Copies a direct link to the map to your clipboard.
  • Give feedback – let us know what you think and propose new features.

Undo Redo Reload Share map Give feedback

Dragging and dropping issues

Dependency Map supports changing issue fields by dragging and dropping issues in the diagram. This is available when the issues are organized in rows and/or columns.

A change is done by dragging an issue from one cell to another. This allows the user to change either one or two fields.

A change can be reverted by clicking “Undo” (as long as the reverse change is permitted – see Limitations).

An “undone” change can be “redone” by clicking “Redo”.

A typical workflow can be as follows:

  1. Open a map.
  2. The map opens in a read-only mode, this to prevent unintended changes when viewing the map.
  3. To start updating issues, click the “lock”icon next to the map title.
  4. To change an issue, select it and then drag and drop it on the desired cell. The background of the cells are then colored as follows:
    • Blue – indicating that the issue can be dropped here
    • Grey – indicating that the issue cannot be dropped here
    • Green – indicating that the issue is over a cell where it can be dropped
  5. Example map showing Priority by Assignee. Shows how the issue AE-5 is dragged from the Medium priority column and can be dropped on the High priority column, as indicated by the green cell background

Drag and drop to change field value

  1. When the issue is dropped, the change is committed and a status message appears in the lower left corner summarizing the committed changes:

Changes to issue AE-5 successfully applied.

Change of Status not permitted due to the workflow.

  1. To undo a change, click the “Undo” icon in the top right corner
    • Tip: The tooltip displays what will be undone.
  2. To redo a change, click the “Redo” icon in the top right corner
    • Tip: The tooltip displays what will be redone.

Row/column merging

Values that are displayed equally will always be in the same row/column. This can happen when a diagram shows issues from multiple projects.

One example is Sprint, which can have the name “Sprint 1” in both project A and B, and will be displayed in one row/column labeled “Sprint 1”.

Rows/columns merged from multiple values are displayed with a * after the value. Hovering over such a value lists all merged values.

Sprints

With sprints, the merging of values is taken one step further. In addition to the general merging of sprints with equal names as described above, sprints containing “Sprint N” anywhere in the name will be changed to just “Sprint N”. So “ABC sprint 1”, “ABC sprint 2”, “Sprint 1 xyz” will become “Sprint 1 *” and “Sprint 2”. Hovering over “Sprint 1 *” will list the original names “ABC sprint 1”, “Sprint 1 xyz” together with state (future, active or closed), start and end date for each sprint.

This shortening of sprint names can be turned off for the map by un-checking “Merge sprints” in the configuration form.

Example of a map showing sprints from 2 projects – note the hover showing the details for Sprint 3:

 

 

Example of the same map, but with the “Merge sprints” option unchecked:

Resolving merged sprints

When dragging an issue over a cell which represents multiple sprints, the cell will become green if the issue may be moved to any of the sprints represented by the cell. When the issue is dropped, a dialog is displayed listing all valid sprints, where the user can click on the desired sprint to assign to the issue. If any of the listed sprints are closed – those sprint buttons are disabled and grayed out.

The merging of sprints can be disabled by unchecking the “Merge sprints” checkbox in the map configuration.

Tips and tricks

Before an issue can be changed, Dependency Map needs to get the current issue data from Jira. As this takes little while, the color indications in the map do not appear directly. If you first click on an issue before dragging it, Dependency Map fetches the issue data and gives you quicker feedback on where the issue can be moved.

What’s next

In coming releases we will add support for adding/changing/removing links between issues. We will also add support for fields that can have multiple values (e.g. Labels). See the roadmap for updated plans.

Limitations

  • Undo is only possible if the reverse change is permitted. Exceptions to this include (but not limited to):
    • Workflow not permitting a status transition
    • Assignee cannot be set to an inactive user
    • Issue cannot be moved to closed sprint
  • The history of changes are cleared when reloading the page.
  • With this release, fields which can have multiple values (e.g. Labels) can not be changed with drag-drop.