DEV Community

Sh Raj
Sh Raj

Posted on

Creating Sub-Issues in GitHub Issues: A Guide

Creating Sub-Issues in GitHub Issues: A Guide


Managing a project on GitHub can be a complex task, especially when dealing with large projects or multiple contributors. One effective way to organize and streamline your workflow is by breaking down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable sub-issues. This guide will walk you through the process of creating sub-issues in GitHub Issues, helping you to better manage and track your project’s progress.

Why Use Sub-Issues?

Sub-issues can be incredibly useful for several reasons:

  • Improved Organization: Breaking down large tasks into smaller parts helps to keep your project organized.
  • Clearer Focus: Contributors can focus on specific tasks without getting overwhelmed by the bigger picture.
  • Enhanced Tracking: Sub-issues allow for more granular tracking of progress and bottlenecks.
  • Better Collaboration: It’s easier to distribute smaller tasks among team members, enhancing collaboration and productivity.

Creating Sub-Issues in GitHub

While GitHub does not have a built-in feature specifically for sub-issues, you can still effectively create and manage them using a combination of existing features. Here’s how:

Step 1: Create a Main Issue

  1. Navigate to Your Repository:
    Go to the repository where you want to create the issue.

  2. Open the Issues Tab:
    Click on the "Issues" tab located at the top of your repository page.

  3. Create a New Issue:
    Click on the "New issue" button to open a new issue.

  4. Describe the Main Task:
    In the issue description, outline the main task or project. Be as detailed as possible to provide context.

Step 2: Create Sub-Issues

  1. Open New Issues for Sub-Tasks:
    For each sub-task, create a new issue following the same process as above. Clearly describe each sub-task and how it fits into the larger project.

  2. Link Sub-Issues to the Main Issue:
    In each sub-issue, include a reference to the main issue. You can do this by typing # followed by the issue number of the main task. For example, if the main issue is #10, mention it in the sub-issue like this: Related to #10.

  3. Link Main Issue to Sub-Issues:
    In the main issue’s description, create a checklist of all the sub-issues. This can be done using markdown:

   ### Sub-Issues
   - [ ] #11: Sub-task 1 description
   - [ ] #12: Sub-task 2 description
   - [ ] #13: Sub-task 3 description
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Step 3: Use Labels and Milestones

  1. Apply Labels:
    Use labels to categorize your issues. For example, you could create a label called “Sub-issue” and apply it to all sub-issues. This makes it easier to filter and view related tasks.

  2. Set Milestones:
    Milestones are useful for grouping related issues and tracking progress towards a goal. Create a milestone for the main task and assign both the main issue and all sub-issues to this milestone.

Step 4: Track Progress

  1. Update the Checklist:
    As sub-issues are resolved, update the checklist in the main issue. This provides a visual representation of progress.

  2. Close Issues:
    Once all sub-issues are completed, you can close the main issue. This signifies that the overall task is complete.

Additional Tips

  • Use Templates: Create issue templates for common tasks to ensure consistency and save time.
  • Automate with GitHub Actions: Use GitHub Actions to automate repetitive tasks, such as closing the main issue when all sub-issues are closed.
  • Communicate Regularly: Keep your team informed about progress and any changes to the project by regularly updating issues and commenting as necessary.


Creating sub-issues in GitHub is a simple yet effective way to enhance project management. By breaking down larger tasks into smaller, manageable parts, you can improve organization, focus, tracking, and collaboration within your team. While GitHub does not have a dedicated sub-issue feature, using the steps outlined in this guide will help you to efficiently manage and track your project’s progress.

Top comments (1)

dreama profile image

This is a fantastic guide, very clear and informative! Quick question: do you have any recommendations for integrating GitHub sub-issues with project management tools like Trello or Jira? Thanks for the great post!