A backlog is an essential part of Agile software development. It allows teams to organize and prioritize their work to ensure they deliver valuable and usable products. In this article, MOJEO explains what a backlog is and the rituals involved.
The backlog process consists of three major components:
1. Product backlog: this is the list of User Stories that must be developed to complete the project. It is important that these User Stories are prioritized based on the value they add to the customer and/or the business. The Product Owner is responsible for managing the Product Backlog and setting priorities.
2. Sprint backlog: this is the list of tasks that the team has planned to perform in the current sprint. The team chooses tasks from the Product Backlog that will enable them to deliver valuable and useful products at the end of the sprint. It is important that the team adhere to the Sprint Backlog to ensure that they achieve the sprint goals. Read more about a Sprint Backlog here
3. Release backlog: this is the list of User Stories planned for the next release. The Product Owner is responsible for managing the Release Backlog and setting priorities. It is important that the Release Backlog reflects the priorities of the Product Backlog and that the User Stories are ready to be developed.
The backlog process also includes several rituals, including:
1. Product backlog refinement: this is the process by which the team works with the Product Owner to refine the Product Backlog. Its purpose is to ensure that the User Stories contain sufficient detail and are prioritized based on the value they add to the customer and/or business.
2. Sprint planning: this is the process by which the team comes together to select the tasks they will perform in the current sprint. The team uses the Product Backlog to select tasks that will enable them to deliver valuable and useful products at the end of the sprint.
3. Daily stand-up: this is a short daily meeting where the team gets together to discuss the progress of the work. The goal is to make sure everyone is aware of what needs to be done and to discuss any obstacles that may impede progress.
Briefly, a Backlog is a dynamic list of tasks, functions and work items organized in the form of Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog and Release Backlog. The backlog process consists of several rituals, including Product Backlog refinement, Sprint planning and Daily stand-up, that contribute to achieving valuable and useful products for the customer and/or the business.
The relationship between backlogs and roadmaps
In short, backlogs represent everything the team can build, while roadmaps indicate what the organization has prioritized. However, a theme-based visual roadmap is not a simple list of backlog items for each upcoming release.
When properly executed, the roadmap captures the relative prioritization and timing of key strategic themes. The high-level overview of the roadmap does not reflect specific and detailed items of individual backlog items.
Instead, the product team must first agree on a roadmap. Once the team has chosen the roadmap, the backlog serves as a source for specific development items. Tasks are most useful for achieving the goals and objectives of each theme. The product team can consider related backlog items for individual sprints and larger epics. The team plans the highest-ranked items first.
With a purpose-built roadmap tool, individual backlog items link to key themes in the roadmap. The backlog itself is displayed as stakeholders zoom in on the details of each item. The roadmap provides context for the prioritized backlog items within the larger strategic goals and timeline of the overall product roadmap.
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