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Top-level Planning Template

Plan, track, and report on big chunks of work, such as a program or initiative.

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best for

Software development

Project management


key features

Custom issue hierarchy

Advanced planning

Custom reporting

What is a top-level planning template?

The top-level planning template is pre-configured to help teams of teams manage large, cross-functional efforts, such as a program or initiative. With an expanded issue hierarchy and a plan that visualizes everything in one place, teams can easily track and report on work spanning multiple projects and understand how their work rolls up to the big picture.

What does the top-level planning template include?

Plan work above the epic level

In the issue hierarchy screen, you’ll noticed we’ve added an additional hierarchy level above epic, called an initiative. This allows you to structure and break down larger chunks of work in Jira. Optionally, you can rename the initiative or epic level to match any methodology, such as SAFe.

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Coordinate org-wide initiatives

In the Plans tab, you’ll notice we’ve created a new plan. A plan provides a shared space for planning and tracking cross-functional work. To start planning, create initiatives directly in your plan and then add all the related teams and projects involved in delivering these initiatives.

Backlog screenshot

Communicate live updates

As issues are updated and completed in Jira, the plan automatically updates in real time with zero maintenance. To report updates to stakeholders, you can create custom views tailored to your audience or use our pre-configured top-level planning view.

Backlog screenshot

Increase visibility

Keep teams aligned and focused on the right things by enabling teams to see how their work contributes to larger business initiatives.


Collaborate across teams

Create a single source of truth where everyone can see who’s doing what and when, and reports can be customized for different stakeholders.

Code release ship

Scalable structure

Organize and visualize relationships between work items from the day-to-day tasks to quarterly initiatives, spanning multiple teams and projects.

How to get started with the top-level planning template

This template uses Jira Premium to help you plan work across multiple teams and projects.

What your template comes with

This template creates:

  • A new issue level above the epic, called “initiative”

    • This allows you to group epics under an initiative and see underlying work nested within your plan.
  • A new project

    • The project is where the initiatives you create live.
  • A new plan

    • The plan is pre-configured with the new project as an issue source so you can see your initiatives in the plan. You can then add related projects, boards, and filters as issue sources and link underlying issues to the parent initiative.
Create an initiative

To start, create your first initiative. Think of an initiative as a big chunk of work that multiple epics contribute to. For example, if your epics are things like “Build New functionality”, “Market new features”, and “Measure impact of release”, then your initiative might be something like “iOS Design Revamp”. Create one now; you can always add more later. Learn more about initiatives.

Add issue sources to your plan

Next, add an existing project, board, and/or filter to this plan. In a plan, we call these issue sources. For this template, we recommend that you use issues from company-managed projects, and that they contain at least one epic. Learn more about issue sources in Plans.

Link your epics to initiatives

Finally, reparent your existing epics to the new initiatives. This creates an association using the Parent field, linking the two issues. You’ll see that the initiative now shows the data from the epics contained within. This is called a roll-up; the plan infer values of parents from child issues, and they’re useful for keeping your plan up to date. As you add more epics to the initiative, the estimates and dates will update along with it. Learn more about roll-ups in Plans.

Review and save changes to your plan

Plans is a sandbox environment, meaning you need to save your changes before you’ll see them on any boards or projects outside your plan. Learn more about saving changes made in Plans.

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