Scrum Artifacts

Product Backlog

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.

People who are involved in a particular project look at the product backlog for various reasons. The stakeholders who want to know what is coming in the next product, get that information from the product backlog. Product owners are the people who control and primarily manages the product backlog. The team working on the project look at the product backlog, to get information about the work required for the upcoming sprints.

A product backlog is mainly made up of smaller components which are referred to as product backlog items [PBIs].

PBIs are mainly product features, also referred to as user stories. Defect repairs (Bugs / Bugfixes) can also be PBIs. Fixing of bugs that were found in a done user story.

Technical work can also find its way into the product backlog as PBIs,

Other technical work may be in the form of moving user data from one location to another location.

Unlike what most people believe, a product backlog is not just limited to user stories, anything that the product owner deems necessary to be in the product is found in the product backlog.

D.E.E.P.

Good product backlogs should be D.E.E.P. This acronym summarises the characteristics of a good product backlog.

D - Detailed appropriately.

This is not just limited to the user stories, but everything in the product backlog should be clear, and the specific problem to be fixed, or the state to be attained should be stated vividly

E - Emergent.

A product backlog is never done, it’s always updated now and then: new requirements continue to pop up, and these new tweaks are continuously added into the product backlog.

E - Estimated

There should be an estimate of how long it will take for a specific PBI will take to finish, and how much it will cost should also be estimated.

P - Prioritized

The most urgent things must be at the top of the project backlog, the least important things are at the bottom. In other words, there should be a clear distinction between crucial PBIs of the project and less crucial PBIs.

How to create a good product backlog?

Product backlog creation is a continuous activity, it’s never entirely done. This is the reason why it is referred to as product backlog grooming. A product backlog is continuously monitored and updated. Grooming of a project backlog involves chopping bigger PBIs into smaller PBIs, which can be done in one spirit.

Due to the emergent in nature of the project backlog, when a new feature: user story is identified, the project owner will insert the new PBI into the project backlog, with a prioritization that he sees fit. Sometimes the grooming process involves dropping some PBIs that are no longer relevant. Estimation of when a PBI is going to be finished: this usually consists of the team working on the project, is also an essential part of the grooming process.