Make the Product Backlog DEEP

This means that sometimes backlogs contain too many items. If the items are not organized based on the business need, it becomes difficult to manage and lose their transparency. It also becomes difficult to predict where the product is heading. The product backlog contains the task-level details required to develop the product as outlined in the roadmap. The backlog should be groomed regularly by organizing, prioritizing, and removing items. A well-attended backlog keeps product teams agile by challenging feature importance and keeping everyone’s priorities in sync.

deep backlog

DEEP identifies four key attributes of a high-functioning product backlog. It’s a simple tool that product owners or product managers can use to manage the product backlog and user stories effectively. Your team can maximize its efforts by prioritizing the backlog items that will provide the most value to customers at any given time. Since this will change depending on the current needs of your customers, you need to continually adjust and refine your priority order. It is critical to emphasize that a backlog should never be considered as finalized. A DEEP product backlog is an outcome of a grooming or refinement session, a recurrent event that allows the product team to refine details and estimates and to order or re-order items.

Task-level backlogs are a great tool for daily task management and team synchronization. Items in this backlog might include tasks such as “create social media posts for next week,” “design a new product brochure”, etc. A product backlog is a prioritized list of all desired product functionalities. It is the most essential part of project development, it affects a lot of things downstream the project, and it’s the single source of information of what goes into the product. Everything that is going to be developed in a product is listed in the product backlog in order of priority.

Backlog items must be detailed enough to provide direction to those execution team members who have capacity to begin working on them. Value of work items from the customer’s perspective is taken into account. To do so effectively, the MO needs to have a good understanding of the customer profile as well as the organizational priorities related to this persona.

Scrum Artifacts

Together, these health indicators provide an accurate overview of how well your team and MO take care of your marketing backlog. As we discussed earlier, the team will be pulling work items out regularly, so the MO needs to ensure they always have a steady supply of clearly defined things to work on next. The exact speed at which this needs to happen will depend on the length of a Sprint for Scrum teams, and how quickly Kanban teams process their Ready column. For marketing teams who serve multiple stakeholders, business units, or other teams, this can get tricky.

  • Backlog items must be detailed enough to provide direction to those execution team members who have capacity to begin working on them.
  • Omer is an innovative product manager with the ability to listen to customers, translate market needs into functional specifications, and drive product strategy.
  • If you have multiple MOs, you lose time in negotiation and it may be impossible to arrive at a meaningful consensus.
  • Without sizing each item, you’re not taking the ‘cost’ of items into account and risk overrating high-value, high-cost items, and underrating lower value, lower-cost items.
  • Also, a detailed product backlog highlights dependencies between the tasks, as well as the tasks that can be performed simultaneously without damaging the process.
  • The Development Team is responsible for the estimates of the items in the Product Backlog.

It’s also called story time, pre-planning, and backlog management. A few years later, in 2008, Kane Mar, a scrum trainer, gave one of the first formal descriptions of the term. He called it ‘story time’ and recommended that these should be implemented as regular meetings in Scrum teams. The earliest known use of the term, ‘backlog grooming’ was on a Yahoo group in 2005. In that year, Mike Cohn, one of the well-known contributors of the scrum world, spoke of it on Yahoo.

A product backlog captures the details about all we are planning to do, to achieve our vision. It is a prioritized list of everything that is deemed necessary related to required initiatives, projects and even the smaller things like requests and tech debt. They should be small enough to be processed by a single person within 1-3 days.

Below is a step-by-step guide to creating a product backlog. The backlog owner should review all entries to ensure that prioritization is correct and that the latest team feedback has been incorporated. ● Current market conditions and trends, i.e., market demand the product and expected short-term/long-term changes. With the information gleaned from retrospectives and stakeholder feedback, you can update the backlog to reflect what you’ve learned along the way.

Product backlogs vs. sprint backlogs

Completing several projects from this backlog, in order of priority, may contribute to the completion of an entire epic. So avoid all those issues and prioritize the team’s projects against its everyday work. Then we add that we don’t just mean all your projects or campaigns or initiatives, we mean literally ALL YOUR TEAM’S WORK. First, we need to get clarity on the definition, because the word “backlog” sometimes carries baggage.

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This version of the marketing backlog is extremely useful for linking team effort to strategic company initiatives, and should live somewhere public and accessible. Agile marketing team than a functioning marketing backlog, yet this particular practice is hard to get right. Backlog refinement is about creating shared understanding on what the Product will, and won’t, do and on what it will take to create it.

Estimated (E)

In the next section, I introduce practical components that can be used as a toolbox to create different formulas for effective prioritization. Regular refinements increase the chances of creating a product that adds real value to the users. In essence, it helps to keep your product backlog healthy. Even if the person responsible for the product backlog is the product owner, all team members must have access to it and be able to add ideas.

For huge backlogs, it can be inefficient to manage the priority of items that are unlikely to happen within a three-month window. It is not vital to keep the bottom of the backlog organized as long as we know that enough of the top is accurate to cover a couple deep backlog of Sprints. The Product Backlog is prioritized when the highest priority items are on top. The Product Owner determines priority by considering both risk and customer value. This estimation unit should account for complexity, uncertainty, risk, and effort.

Benefits of a DEEP Product Backlog

The entire delivery team or key representatives if it’s too large. Communicating to the team after the session is over about the necessary things. Schedule the meeting and invite the right people, also make sure that they attend. Corrections to the existing estimates based on the new info available. These are completed stories that are ready for deployment and release.

Scrum team members should keep technical debt in mind and offer suggestions on how to pay it back. When all team members can contribute, the application can benefit from everyone’s areas of expertise. An overly exhaustive product backlog is a common mistake.

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It leverages the benefits of collaboration in detailing user stories and defects. D – Detailed Appropriately – Items should be stated in very clear terms so that the team and everyone involved have no issues in understanding. The product owner and/ or other representatives of the product team.

deep backlog

Think of it as of a Russian doll – a story within a story. Product Roadmap is about a longer-term development, it usually consists of a timeline that can span into years and presents the big picture. Meanwhile, Product Backlog is a chunk of this timeline that represents one or a few upcoming Sprints. When the roadmap represents grandeur strategy, the backlog focuses on tactical solutions and work that must be done in the upcoming weeks and months. User Stories are not equal – each item can have a different size, importance, and level of description’s detail.

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In college, I took an English course that required us to write twenty different papers in a single semester. Worried about my chances of success, I started looking into alternative options, and I learned it was a core requirement and unlikely to be easier under another professor. After seriously considering dropping the course, I accepted my fate and decided to make a heroic attempt to pass this class. Product backlogs are discussed in much more detail in Succeeding with Agile.

Step 1: Start with a product roadmap

When we approach refinement as a collective responsibility, there is an intrinsic shared understanding of the required work. It means the right level of detail of product backlog items. If your team is going to implement something after four months, it is probably not worth spending much time defining it in detail now. And vice versa — if they are going to pull an item for the next sprint and there are still many unknowns-this is a problem. Easy Agile TeamRhythm transform your flat product backlog, prioritizing based on value to the customer and bringing the customer journey to life. They help teams organize and prioritize user stories while visualizing the customer journey.

It’s not a miss that we didn’t detail it enough; it’s a good thing that the Product Owner spent their efforts on more valuable items. A product backlog is mainly made up of smaller components which are referred to as product backlog items . When every single task is included in the product backlog and is kept up to date, development teams can use them as an efficient basis for iteration planning.

Creating a DEEP Product Backlog

As you refine your backlog and add more details to top-priority items, you can improve your estimation. A good option is using story points to zoom in on the details. They can help you accurately and practically reflect the reality of an item from the customer’s perspective. Backlog refinement isn’t a luxury task reserved for when you get a chance to tidy up. Refinement is a key part of product backlog management that ensures a backlog always has the most recent, up-to-date information. We may not be wrong to say that product professionals create backlogs that are estimated and prioritized in most cases.

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