A large user story that awaits decomposition into smaller stories prior to implementation.  Epics are typically stories that are far off on the development horizon, usually lower priority items. When an epic story works its way up the backlog, it is usually decomposed into smaller stories.

NB: One can easily be tempted to associate the term ‘epic’ with importance; in Agile, epic relates only to size.


Mike Cohn coined the term epic as it relates to Agile.

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8 Responses to Epic

  1. Pingback: Planning for the year to come – life list | The Beginning of an Unusual Life

  2. Khalid Mehmood says:

    To understand epic please review below examples.

    For HR team an epic may be named as a “Q1 Hiring”. to find how many new resources hired.

    For Support team considering deployment of ITIL. Epic name “FLR” can be used to identify how many issues resolved by providing First Level Resolution.

    • Khalid, I’m not sure these are relevant examples. An Epic is a large body of work that the project owner and team have identified but are not ready to work on. If you were building a software game you might have “Multi-player support” as an Epic since it’s a feature the product owner would like to include but it involves far reaching design and implementation considerations. Another example might be an accounting software application that has an Epic of “Smart phone support”.

  3. ViMethod says:

    Is there any relevance between a Theme and an Epic?

  4. Chris Sims says:


    Originally, an epic was a single large story. A theme was a collection of related stories. These days, the meanings are often interchanged. I suspect this is because some of the popular ‘agile project management’ software products use the terms backwards. As long as all the people you work use the words to mean the same thing, all will be fine. 🙂



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