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(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)


So far, you have seen and used JIRA as a traditional issue-tracking system, where users can log issues and transition them through workflows. With the recent increased adoption of agile development methodologies, it is clear that JIRA by itself is not enough, and this is where GreenHopper comes in.

GreenHopper adds the power of agile methodologies to JIRA, by providing a new user interface to help you and your team plan and visualize the tasks you have at hand. GreenHopper is a separate product and does not come with JIRA. So the first step for us is to install it via the Marketplace.

Getting GreenHopper

GreenHopper is a commercial add-on provided by Atlassian. We can discover and install add-ons directly from JIRA through the Universal Plugin Manager. Perform the following steps to install GreenHopper via the UPM:

  1. Browse to Universal Plugin Manager.
  2. Select the Find New Add-ons tab.
  3. Search for GreenHopper in the search box. This will locate the add-on GreenHopper – Agile project management for JIRA.
  4. Click on on the Free Trial button if you want to evaluate GreenHopper before purchasing, or click on the Buy Now button to purchase directly. This will prompt the UPM to start downloading and installing the add-on.
  5. Click on the Get License button when prompted, and follow the steps to either generate a trial license or purchase a full license:

After you have successfully installed GreenHopper, there will be a new item added to JIRA’s top menu bar called Agile, as shown in the following screenshot:

Starting with GreenHopper

Before we start using GreenHopper, the first thing you need to understand is that GreenHopper adds a new user interface to JIRA, allowing you to better visualize the data you already have in JIRA. For example, an issue in GreenHopper is the same as an issue in JIRA, and you can go back and forth between the two user interfaces.

Now that the relationship between GreenHopper and JIRA is clear, we need to familiarize ourselves with a number of new terminologies that we will be using.


Scrum is an agile software development methodology, where the development team plans and works on the project iteratively and incrementally to complete the project.

You can read more on Scrum at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum(development).


Kanban is a methodology where the focus is to visualize and limit the amount of work that is in progress. Kanban allows the project team to focus on delivering custom value.

You can read more on Kanban at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum(development).


A board is what GreenHopper uses to display and visualize issues in JIRA. You can think of it as a traditional white board, where you will have sticky notes representing the tasks to be completed.


Following the preceding white board analogy, a card is the sticky note that represents the task to be done. With GreenHopper, a card is an issue, visualized differently:


Stories or user stories represent requirements or features that are to be implemented. They are usually written in a non-technical language and describe what needs to be done and whom the requirement is designed for (e.g. the end user, the administrator), in a few short sentences.

In GreenHopper, a story is represented as an issue of type User Story.


Sprints also known as iterations, are used in iterative agile development methodologies, such as Scrum. A sprint has a specific duration (that is, a start and end date) and is usually between one to four weeks, in which the team works to deliver a portion or an improvement of the whole product or project.


An epic is a large user story that has not yet been broken down into smaller, more manageable stories, usually a group of related stories. Epics should be broken down into their component stories during the planning session, before becoming part of a sprint.

In GreenHopper, an epic is represented as an issue of type Epic.


The backlog contains all the issues that have not yet been included in a sprint.

Working with boards

To start working with GreenHopper, you need to get familiar with boards. You can view and access boards from the Manage Boards page, by pulling down the Agile menu and selecting Manage Boards. From the Manage Boards page, you will see all the boards that are shared with you. The following screenshot shows three boards, two are shared with Sample Project, and one is not shared at all, making it a private board:

GreenHopper has two types of boards, Scrum and Kanban. The Scrum board is designed to support the Scrum methodology, where teams plan and work in sprints. Scrum boards have access to all three modes mentioned above.

The Kanban board is designed to support the Kanban methodology, where teams focus on managing and constraining their work in progress. Since Kanban does not have a planning session like Scrum, its boards do not have the Plan mode.

There are three modes for GreenHopper boards, namely Plan, Work, and Report:

  • Plan: This is where you plan your sprints. This mode is only available to Scrum boards.
  • Work: This is where cards (issues) are progressed (workflow transition) from one column (issue status) to another.
  • Report: This contains a number of built-in reports and charts such as the Burndown chart (Scrum) and Control chart.

The following screenshot shows an example of a Scrum board in the Plan mode:

Creating a new board

There are two ways to create a new board. You can create either a new Scrum or Kanban board. Perform the following steps to create a new board from presets:

  1. Bring down the Agile menu and select Manage Boards.
  2. Click on the Tools option at the top-right and select Create Board.
  3. Choose to create either a Scrum or Kanban board.
  4. Provide a name for the new board.
  5. Select the project the new board is for.
  6. Click on the Create button.

When creating a new board based on the presets, GreenHopper will automatically generate the necessary JQL queries based on the selected project. For a Scrum board, it will include all the issues in the project, while for a Kanban board, it will include all the issues that do not belong to a released version.

Creating a new board based on the presets is simple and fast but each board is linked to a project only. You can also create a new board with a filter, and this way, you can control what issues will be added to the board. One thing to keep in mind is that you can only create Kanban boards this way. You cannot create a Scrum board with a filter.

Perform the following steps to create a new Kanban board with a filter:

  1. Bring down the Agile menu and select Manage Boards.
  2. Click on the Tools option at the top-right and select Create Board.
  3. Select the Advanced option.
  4. Provide a name for the new board.
  5. Select a filter you want to use.
  6. Click on the Create button.

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