Product Backlog

Common Habits That Keep You From Sustaining A Healthy Product Backlog

A product backlog orders tasks into a list and prioritizes them, so the developers know which items to deliver first. The roadmap and its requirements provide the foundation for the backlog, which usually consist of the following elements: user stories, bug fixes and features.

Although the whole scrum team works jointly on the product backlog refinement, the Product Owner owns it and is typically responsible for sustaining its items. Of course, just like every other component of a Sprint, the backlog can also run up against obstacles. Below we’ll spell out the most common mistakes a Team can make to hinder progress, and how it can keep the tool running healthy.

 How To Maintain A Smoothly Operating Product Backlog

After the product backlog is determined, it should be frequently monitored to prevent or rule out any impediments. It’s the Product Owner’s task to regularly review the tool prior to iteration planning sessions to make sure that the appropriate priorities are in place, and insights from the previous iteration has been included.

As the product backlog expands over time, Product Owners decide, which items to put into the “near-term” and the “long-term” category. The former contains items that are featured on top of the list and are more detailed. Consequently, the latter category is for tasks that are less comprehensive and important.

Apart from being a huge to-do list, a backlog serves another significant function. It constitutes a link between the Product Owner and the developers. The former might alter the prioritizes within the backlog on account of the refinement of estimates and feedback. However, it’s not advisable to make significant changes once processes are in motion, since they have a potential to interrupt the developers and cause them to lose focus. According to a study conducted on interruptions affecting developers, it’s best to keep the water as still as possible and allow some ‘quiet time’ for the experts to concentrate on their duties. This way, developers got 80% of their work done within a couple of hours. 

Related: Agile QuickTip: Limit Your Agile Teams Product Backlog

Common Blockades Affecting The Product Backlog Management

  • Update blackout: The product backlog is restricted to local use and is shared rarely. This practice keeps interested parties from receiving news.
  • Importance threshold set too narrow: It’s quite a frequent mistake that Teams only put maximum effort into those items that are directly connected to customers. As a result, prioritization may get distorted and the overall work only half efficient.
  • Lack of modification: If the Product Owner builds up the initial backlog and fails to modify it based on feedback coming from customers and developers, it could cost the success of the project.

Wrapping It Up

A product backlog is used to give the Team guidance on how to deliver a successful project. In order for this to happen, adequate planning and organization is key. Only with these assets is it possible to keep the tool running in order and facilitate productivity and the ability to handle constant change. 

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