A neat feature in GreenHopper is the ability to colour cards based upon JQL. Over the past two days I’ve visited two great customers and each of them came up with a novel way to use the card colours in their environment. I wanted to share them ASAP so you can start using them Monday morning. It’s Friday 651pm in San Francisco and I’m about go watch the Sydney Swans win the AFL Grand Final at the pub – this is so cool it couldn’t wait until Monday.



The cool folks at Twitter wanted to show dependencies between different projects on a high level board. To give some context, I showed them how the Jira product management team uses a Kanban board to track the progress of their epics. As you can see below there are a number of swimlanes, once for each of the themes. Epics then flow across the board within each theme:

The epics on the board are linked to stories on a Scrum board for each sub-team. Think of one big Jira team broken into an Ecosystem team, Customer Love, and so on. As work progresses on the stories the product owner updates the epic on this board to show where that epic is currently in the workflow. ‘Cool, yeah we get that…’ I could imagine them.

Then there was a lightning bolt!

Chris from Twitter wondered whether he could leverage card colours in conjunction with the hasLinks() JQL function from the JQL Tricks Plugin to colour the cards on a board such as the one above, only that the colours would be based upon the type of link. For instance, if Epic A was in the Ready for Deployment column and it had a dependency on Epic B which was In Progress the Epic A card could immediately go red. Cool idea, very very cool idea in fact. Kudos!

A great visual indicator for the product management team to know when things are not progressing as planned and something is high risk. Draw attention to that problem early and automatically. Thanks Chris, we’ll take that one and use it ourselves!


The next cool idea came from a chat with Dan and David at Medallia who have software development teams using Kanban. The question came up – ‘how do we ensure that there aren’t too many big stories in progress at once?’. Limiting work in progress, I like it, very smart. Card colours to the rescue.

This is a neat way to improve team visibility. Also a great way to roll up work from multiple sub-teams into a big board and see where the work is piling up. You could add colours for the bugs too, and add in conditions as well. For instance, you may want to know when there is a big story in the QA column: “Story Points” = 8 and status = “In QA” -> turn it black.

So, some cool ideas that you can start using Monday morning. For now, enjoy the rest of your weekend.

For an ever expanding list of ideas, or to share your own, please see this GreenHopper Knowledge Base article maintained by John Garcia of our Jira support team. Gold!

Get fancy with card colours in GreenHopper