The difference between product, sprint, and release backlogs LogRocket Blog


what is backlog

They spend a lot of their time on strategic initiatives such as conducting market research, studying their existing products’ usage data, and talking with their sales teams and customers. PMs then translate what they learn into a product roadmap, which is a high-level strategic plan. Once the backlog gets larger, product owners can group the backlog into near-term and long-term items. Near-term items need to be fully fleshed out before they are labeled as such. This means complete user stories have been drawn up, collaboration with design and development has been sorted out, and estimates from development have been made. Longer -term items can remain a bit vague, though it’s a good idea to get a rough estimate from the development team to help prioritize them.

From there, we can divide the user stories and categorize them into buckets, such as releases or sprints. You may choose to have more than one release backlog representing the next and one or two future releases. The product backlog must be groomed and emergent, with items added, removed, and refined regularly. This universal repository contains every possibility for what the product may add or change in the future. New ideas get added as feedback from the market, and customers continually roll in through various channels.

The product backlog forms part of a product’s long-term strategic plan and evolves with the product. These are some of the questions we’ll be answering in this project management glossary article. With Motion’s Project Manager feature, everyone stays on the same page. It doesn’t merely list tasks — it integrates them into each team member’s calendar.

And, if they actually distill it down to the fundamental parts of their wedding ceremony on what they want to achieve, they might actually just stop right here, right there after church. And in fact, if I were them, I might go to Vegas to achieve that. When you’re forming that vision, when you start getting those requirements together, it’s important to group them in terms of how much is going to cost to deliver an item. So relative to one another, is it expensive, or is it less expensive? And then, of course, the perceived value that you think your customers are going to get out of that particular requirement or feature.

what is backlog

The solution here is to provide guidelines for user story submissions to ensure all team members know how to get their message across. This is the product backlog, and, in many ways, it’s more important than the roadmap itself — at least on the day-to-day level. Read on to find out what a product backlog includes and how to create one for your team. The point is, the team should focus on creating value faster instead of precisely maintaining the product backlog. That said, it’s the product manager’s responsibility to decide what makes it to the top of the list.

During the sprint planning event, the scrum team commits to a sprint goal — the “why” of their sprint. This is a single objective and a stepping stone toward the product goal. Because all the work for a product flows through the backlog, the product backlog provides a base for iteration planning. As your team prioritizes tasks with guidance from the product owner, they’ll also determine how much work they can commit to in a specified block of time. An essential component of managing the product backlog is prioritizing tasks.

Product backlog vs. sprint backlog

These product backlog items are distinct pieces of work that have yet to be delivered for a product. While any developer can use a product backlog, they’re most often used by Agile teams. In Agile projects, the teams dedicate their time to product creation and make adjustments as their project progresses. Because of the flexibility of the Agile methodology, tasks on the product backlog aren’t set in stone, and you’re not expected to complete every one of them. Plus, Agile teams will regularly undergo product backlog refinement to re-prioritize tasks as needed. Although there is no official backlog refinement event, agile teams often find it helpful to set aside time to review the backlog together.

In other words, backlog is a record of what needs to be done and in which order it should be done. These processes all work together to improve your backlog management and ensure your projects run smooth. Product owners dictate the priority of work items in the backlog, while the development team dictates the velocity through the backlog.

  1. The presence of a backlog can have positive or negative implications.
  2. Product teams that use the agile development framework divide their work into sprints.
  3. Backlogs are ever-changing documents that help simplify product development by outlining specific tasks.
  4. User story maps are excellent for initial backlog creation, but they can also be really powerful to help organize work into releases and even sprints.
  5. The sprint backlog MUST be adapted at least once a day to reflect the latest plans by the developers.

You can easily create a scrum backlog to build a queue of issues, which is extremely helpful when planning and executing sprints. 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. Team capacity and sprint goals determine the priority of items in a sprint backlog. A product backlog is the list of items to include in a given product, such as new features, customer requests, bug fixes, and other improvements.

What is a sprint backlog? How to create one, with examples

A user story names the problems you want to solve and why they matter. Product Backlog refinement is the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items. Refinement can occur at any time during a Sprint, in a more formal meeting or meetings, on an ongoing basis or as needed. Refinement is not mandatory, however it is a good practice to consider in order to increase transparency and make work items more precise.

what is backlog

Well, if that’s the case for that vision, then instead of having a pickup truck, you’re obviously going to get a minivan. This plan is a plan made by the developers and for the developers. If a great idea is added to the bottom of a backlog of thousands, who will ever see it? Again, keeping a lean backlog (and limiting the number of sub-backlogs) can prevent this problem from ever rearing its head. We’ve all heard of ‘scope creep’, and a backlog is a great way to actually visualize this phenomenon in action.

Because they’re often used to capture every idea for product-related tasks, backlogs can quickly get unwieldy. We’ll show you have to create one to better manage your project. The key to creating a backlog is to make a blank template that you can use for each of your sprints. In your template, you should include columns for each of the functionalities listed above. Now that you know what’s included in a sprint backlog, how exactly do you create one?

Schedule Work In Sprints

The team develops a sprint goal to support concrete progress toward the product goal during the sprint. 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. The product roadmap is the foundation for the product backlog.

The following table highlights key differences between the product backlog, sprint backlog, and release backlog. It’s also common for product teams to have a third backlog, known as the release backlog, which contains all the work required for a particular release. The product backlog is the single authoritative source for things that a team works on. That means that nothing gets done that isn’t on the product backlog. Conversely, the presence of a product backlog item on a product backlog does not guarantee that it will be delivered. It represents an option the team has for delivering a specific outcome rather than a commitment.

Product Backlog – What is it & How to create one

Product backlog items take a variety of formats, with user stories being the most common. The team using the product backlog determines the format they chose to use and looks to the backlog items as reminders of the aspects of a solution they may work on. For example, suppose a theme for a coming sprint is simplifying the checkout process. Product managers (PM) must focus on high-level objectives to solve problems for their target market.

Depending on the size of your organization, you may have one central product backlog or multiple product backlogs for different teams. Some scrum teams choose to use a scrum board with status columns, but there are many other ways to visualize a sprint backlog. Lists, spreadsheets, whiteboards, pictures — numerous tools can support your collaboration. Teams can experiment with different techniques for visualizing, sharing, and seeing the status of items on the sprint backlog.


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