In Jira, (probably) in next-gen board, when specifying relationship between two issues, I have the following choices:

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-- i.e. specifically "[A] depends on [B]" and "[A] is blocked by [B]".

What is the difference? Does "is blocked by" imply some stronger kind of dependency? Or are meanings of these items just project-dependent (i.e. no universal guideline)?


Jira links are broadly used, as far as I can see, for an information-only purpose.

All in all, it boils down to how your team uses it.

With that in mind, it'll strongly depend on what is considered a "dependency" and a "blocker" in your context.

Given the following scenario:

foo depends on bar

foo is blocked by baz

One way of reading it is as:

  • Foo cannot be started until bar is completed
  • Foo was started but baz happened (an external factor, probably) and it's blocking it's progress

Which could be derived into:

  • Depends are used for known or planned activities
  • Blocks are used for unexpected activities
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  • 4
    Simplified examples: "Icing a cake" is dependant on "baking a cake" - you can't ice a cake you don't have. "Baking a cake" can be blocked by "roasting a chicken", because your oven is currently unavailable / in use. – Chronocidal May 23 '19 at 8:39
  • @Chronocidal I'd agree with using block for the mentioned scenario, but it is a bit different from what's written in this answer - it certainly doesn't have to be "unexpected". – NotThatGuy May 23 '19 at 12:24
  • I would say "cannot be started or finished". Making a cake is dependent on having every required ingredient, but you can certainly start without having an ingredient which you only need at the end (although whether you should start is another question entirely). – NotThatGuy May 23 '19 at 12:27

I have always looked at them in the following manner: Depends On indicates a relation and order of a task to another, and Blocked By is a task progress status.

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  • I agree with this. "Blocked by" is a current status, dependencies are forever – JollyJoker May 23 '19 at 10:32

Dependencies and blockers are the same thing. The difference in tag typically means whether the event was planned for or not, whether it presents an unusual problem to be solved, whether it is escalated for different sets of eyes and/or hands, and possibly which bucket of dollars is being used to work it.

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