Jira backlog sorting by due date

Good Jira hygiene and automation are crucial for an engineering Scrum team. A disorganized board and backlog will make it unnecessarily difficult to focus on shipping new increments of usable software. When I’ve had the privilege of serving as the Scrum product owner, it’s my responsibility to own and operate the board. I prefer for the board to be as orderly as possible, with minimal time needed to keep it in order.

When I’ve encountered a disorganized Jira board or project, I’ve always thought right away of Anthony Bourdain in Kitchen Confidential where he describes a line cook attempting to work in a similar manner:

If you let your mise-en-place run down, get dirty and disorganized, you’ll quickly find yourself spinning in place and calling for backup. I worked with a chef who used to step behind the line to a dirty cook’s station in the middle of a rush to explain why the offending cook was falling behind. He’d press his palm down on the cutting board, which was littered with peppercorns, spattered sauce, bits of parsley, bread crumbs and the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates quickly on a station if not constantly wiped away with a moist side towel. “You see this?” he’d inquire, raising his palm so that the cook could see the bits of dirt and scraps sticking to his chef’s palm. “That’s what the inside of your head looks like now.”

One very useful Jira config change you can make is to auto-sort the backlog. This keeps things organized for longer with a minimum of effort.

  1. In your Jira board go to Board Settings > Edit Filter Query

  2. Set the filter to order by due date:

    project = MYPROJ ORDER BY DueDate DESC

  3. Now your backlog will be automatically sorted in descending order by the Due Date of all Jira tickets at all times. When new tickets come in, they’ll be placed in the correct relative order. Tickets with no Due Date are listed at the end.

I’d also recommend adding the Due Date as a visible field in the Backlog items. Do this by:

  1. Navigate to your Jira board
  2. ... > Board settings > Card layout > Backlog > add in Due Date

Once you’ve made these changes, it will require no extra work to keep the Backlog in sync with your Jira Advanced Roadmaps.

Jira Advanced Roadmaps