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What Is a Sprint Backlog? Definition and Complete Guide

Jun 27, 2023 Bookkeeping

The functionality required for each step could be turned into tasks (with subtasks added for more complex steps). User stories provide the development team with a key understanding of the impact of the product on the user, providing context for what the team is building and why. A key component of any Agile methodology is people, and user stories advocate for those using the product or service. Savvy product owners rigorously groom their program’s product backlog, making it a reliable and sharable outline of the work items for a project. The product owner then organizes each of the user stories into a single list for the development team.

These might come up during development or testing, slowing your team down. Technical blockers are hazards the team might encounter while developing the product, such as technical debt or a bug. Technical debt is the necessary maintenance and bugs the development team deals with to keep the product running.

  • Flag those issues with a specific resolution like “out of scope” in the team’s issue tracker to use for research later.
  • The team may establish a definition of ready to indicate their agreement on the information they’d like to have available in order to start working on a product backlog item.
  • At worst, the list could grow so long that it becomes nearly impossible to prioritize tasks.
  • On the other hand, companies generally want to avoid having a backlog as it could suggest increasing inefficiency in the production process.

When developers push technical work to the bottom of the product backlog, it builds up and becomes harder to accomplish. Effective backlog management can prevent the buildup of technical debt. When your team stays organized and takes on technical work in smaller, daily increments, you’re less likely to accrue interest on a huge piece of work.

Tackle complex tasks first

One Product Backlog is used to describe the upcoming work on the product. As described in the Scrum Guide, the Product Backlog is an emergent, ordered list of what is needed to improve the product. In many cases, these lender backlogs resulted in situations where delinquent borrowers were able to remain in their homes for several years without making any mortgage payments. The housing recovery did not begin in earnest until such backlogs were mostly cleared.

This allows team members to help each other when necessary to deliver the tasks on time. A backlog is a prioritized list of epics, features, requirements, bugs, and other tasks that need to be completed during your project. Backlogs can be used in any type of project, whether they are short-term projects or long-term initiatives.

  • Customer success, support, and quality assurance are likely already collecting much of this information.
  • This happens if a team adds every idea that gets suggested for addressing the outcome but never explores the ideas or removes the items that won’t be delivered.
  • That means many of those spaces have gone months without new tenants.
  • Your team chooses which product backlog items to work on in a sprint and puts them on the sprint backlog.
  • A product backlog item only needs to be fully described when a team is about to start work on it.
  • To successfully sort through the backlog and complete items in a reasonable time frame, you and your team must work together and follow the Scrum guide.

Your team may feel inclined to complete simple tasks first so they can remove them from the product backlog and shorten the list, but this is a less efficient form of project management. The product backlog will continue to grow, so tackling complex tasks first is often the most effective. Organizing and prioritizing tasks is vital to help your team focus on what is most important. To organize and prioritize tasks in the backlog, start with user stories. Once this is complete, you can order all other tasks based on their importance in the user story. Once the team has prioritized tasks, they can further break them down into subtasks.

Typically, the project manager and their team decide on these tasks during a sprint planning meeting. A sprint backlog provides a team with a clear focus for the short term while a dynamic product backlog provides a mechanism for the team to collect and remember ideas for future consideration. Keeping a stable list of product backlog items in a sprint backlog protects the team from changing priorities and interrupts, at least for a short (usually 2-week) period. The sprint backlog consists of product backlog items that the team agreed with their product owner to include during sprint planning. The team owns the sprint backlog and can determine whether new items are added or existing items are removed. This allows the team to focus on a clear scope for the length of the sprint.

Recommended Terms

No matter your profession or your goals, there’s a course that will equip you with the skills and resources to practice agility in a real-world context. An Increment is a concrete stepping stone toward the Product Goal. Each Increment is additive to all prior about raise grants Increments and thoroughly verified, ensuring that all Increments work together. The Developers who will be doing the work are responsible for the sizing. The Product Owner may influence the Developers by helping them understand and select trade-offs.

What Does the Product Backlog Contain?

Today, it’s not just technology that is changing every three months. The entire world literally changed between February 2020 and March 2020. The idea of «Just in Time» requirements isn’t just a good idea anymore; it’s almost a necessity.

Backlog Refinement

Once backlogged items are prioritized, you can build out a sprint based on the highest-priority items. Use any takeaways from the last sprint to determine which items to include. If the backlog is not up to date, the project team may find it challenging to prioritize work.

If you use them effectively, they can help you accurately predict future sprints and manage expectations. A well-crafted and maintained sprint backlog increases sprint efficiency. Jira Software’s Scrum template includes several tools to help you plan sprints effectively. There’s also a helpful tutorial page on how to get started creating a sprint backlog with Jira.

Sprint planning is also more than creating a sprint goal (The Why) and deciding what product backlog item (PBI) will be worked on (The What). It is also about creating the plan for creating those PBIs (The How). For more information about what should be accomplished during sprint planning, see my article on Effective Sprint Planning.

The backlog contents, format, and type are determined by backlog guidelines. Backlog refinement focuses on adjusting, estimating, and ranking the issues. Adjustments can be small things like adding descriptions and large edits like splitting or combining issues. Adding estimations often happens in backlog refinement aided by the dev team. Lastly, ranking the backlog in a clear, well-understood manner helps the dev team know what is the highest-priority.

Product backlog items act as placeholders for future conversations about an option for achieving your desired outcome. That means a team doesn’t have to have an idea fully fleshed out before adding it to the product backlog. When a product backlog item is initially added to a product backlog it only needs to have enough information to remind the team what the option was.

What is backlog grooming? Definition and benefits

A view into the backlog can also provide a preview of what’s to come. It allows technical teams to begin thinking about how they might implement those items. Moreover, they can mitigate any conflicts, dependencies, or advanced work required.

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