Product Backlog

Agile QuickTip: Limit Your Agile Teams Product Backlog

Limit Your Agile Teams Product Backlog

Limiting the number of items on your product backlog might make your product owner, and in fact your entire Scrum team, more focused.

Many Agile product owners that I work with complain about their product backlog being really long. They mention that it’s cluttered with stale ideas, old feedback, or requests that they haven’t got around to, and perhaps never will. This can make their backlog unwieldy, and difficult to manage or visualize. As stakeholders bring new requests and suggestions every day, the backlog only gets longer and more difficult to stay on top of.

One idea that you might try is to limit the number of spots in your backlog. Limit it to 100 or 150 items, whatever works for you. Only the top 100 items ever get onto your backlog. There are a few benefits to this:

  • It allows your backlog to become more transparent and a lot more visible for all the members of your team.
  • As a product owner, you become more intimately familiar with the items on your backlog, actively deciding which items need to be there, and which should not.
  • If your stakeholders regularly propose a lot of requests for enhancements or features, it can encourage them to cut down their ideas to the most important or valuable. As they know that each idea will be competing to make it to the top 100, they are likely to only suggest the best one or two.

By limiting the number of items on your Agile team backlog, you could start enjoying a lighter load that is easier to manage and visualize within your Scrum team.

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