The period mode determines whether a task is scheduled manually or automatically, which gives you the option of deciding how much control you want over task scheduling in a Box. By default, tasks are automatically scheduled (the Period mode is set to 'Auto bottom-up' for all newly added tasks when you create a new Box), but you can change this. The App can schedule the task based on dependencies, tasks structure, and other factors. To learn more about the scheduling rules, go to Manual and auto-scheduling.

There are four different modes explained further below:

  • Auto bottom-up
  • Auto top-down
  • Lock
  • Manual

The 'Auto bottom-up' task mode is applied to tasks with empty date fields to avoid data corruption when the tasks are structured automatically using presets.

In the case of Sprint and Version tasks synchronization, the 'Auto top-down' is set by default.


  • You can enable the Task period field in App configuration - go to App configuration (wrench icon at top right)  > BigPicture configuration > General > Tasks. Only Jira administrators can access this page. The App creates a select list (single choice) custom field 'Task modes' during the installation.
  • The App admins can set the default mode in the Administration.
  • The Box admins can change the period mode in the Box configuration.

Setting the task period mode

Inline editing

You can use inline editing to change the period mode of a task:

Keep in mind, change of a task period mode can have a significant scheduling impact. If needed, switch to a different module to assess the situation before making a change.

Gantt module

In Gantt, there are multiple ways of changing the period mode. 

You can change the period mode of a task (or a group of tasks, using the multi-select option) by using the right-click dialog:

You can also select multiple tasks and click on the three-dot menu in the middle:

Available period modes


Use this mode to plan tasks manually. Tasks in manual mode behave according to the following rules:

  • Parent task in 'manual mode' shows the start/end date of the issue as set in Jira.
  • Children tasks can exceed the start/end date of the parent tasks, and it will not change the start/end dates of the parent task. You can enable the period warnings to see the recalculated position of the parent task.

For example, The OA-135 task exceeds the start/end dates of the parent Epic task OA-5. Both tasks are in manual mode, and the Epic finishes on the 29th of April. The period warning indicated that it should finish on the latest end date together with OA-135, which is the 1st of June.

Lock mode

Use this mode to prevent users from moving the task using the App or editing the synchronized fields (start/end dates or time tracking estimates). Locked tasks behave according to the following rules:

  • Users can not move a task in 'lock mode,'
  • Dependencies do not reschedule a task.

For example, The OA-135 is locked, the end-to-start link does not move the task so that it starts after the OA-36.

Auto top-down mode 

Use the top-down approach to plan at the high level first and then gradually move to lower levels. In this mode, the parent task determines its children's earliest start and latest finish dates.

Tasks in this mode behave according to the following rules:

  • Parent in 'auto top down' puts boundaries on its children start and end dates, i.e.:
    • start date of any child >= start date of the parent
    • end date of any child <= end date of the parent
  • You can schedule the parent task to start on a non-working day.

For example, The OA-15 Epic starts and finishes on non-working days:

Auto bottom-up mode

The bottom-up approach to planning goes from the specifics to general or, in other words, starts with the most detailed level.

Tasks in this mode behave according to the following rules:

  • Parent in 'auto bottom up' adjusts automatically based on its children, i.e.:
    • start date of the parent = earliest start dates of the children tasks
    • end date of the parent = latest end date of children tasks
  • If the parent is in 'auto bottom-up' mode, but a superior element in WBS does not allow it, the children may not be allowed to change the start or end date.

For example, The OA-15 starts on the 9th of April, which is the earliest start date of all the children stories, and finishes on the 7th of April, which is the latest end date of all the children stories.

General rules and outcomes

The general rules and outcomes are presented in the table below:

Period mode

Task impacted by other tasks or dependencies?

Task impacted by non-working days?

Does moving the task affect children?

Task start / end date editable /movable?





Auto top-down

Yes, by either

  • parents
  • dependencies

Auto bottom-up

Yes, by either

  • parents
  • children
  • dependencies

Period mode of new tasks

When you add a new task to the App in the context of a Box, only the default period mode of that Box applies.

When you add a new task to the App without any Box context (e.g., a new task is created at the task source), the default period mode is selected automatically. For this, the App considers the default period modes of all Boxes that the task falls into and then selects the dominant one, following the prioritization below:

  1. Locked,
  2. Manual,
  3. Top-down,
  4. Bottom-up.