What is a Product Backlog?
Product Backlog can be defined as an organized or sorted list of all the required products necessary for delivering the output with the source of the product changing continuously as per the project’s demand. The responsibility of the product backlog and product backlog management lies with the product owner, and the product owner has myriads of responsibility related to product backlog like content and source of the product, availability of the product, prioritizing the product, bugs, technical works and maintaining the daily to-do list. It is an incremental list prepared by continuously adding the preliminary requirements and the other needs to the initial version of the product.
Continuous changes are made in the product during the evolution of, and the process continues until the project is completed and the product is delivered to the stakeholder or the owner. In other words, it is dynamic and undergoes changes during the product development process. The backlog assessment makes the product reasonable and useful, and flaw-free as long as the product exists. It can be an agile or scrum product backlog as per the project’s requirement and the product owner.
The backlog bridges the gap between the product owner and the development team. The product owner and the development team open up on a common communication platform to accomplish the product. It is the duty of the product owner to prioritize work in this backlog at any time as per the feedback collected from the customers/clients and the new requirements. The development team then starts working accordingly as per the product backlog provided by the product owner. When the two product owners and the development teamwork are in sync, it helps boost the focus and team morale. The changes should be kept minimum once the work is in progress to create less disruptions in the functioning of the development team.
A well-organized product helps reduce the ambiguity of tasks, and product updates among the team members and makes planning the next step easy. This helps to save a lot of time on the team, which can be utilized for other fruitful work. Furthermore, a good backlog helps to broadcast the product updates to the team, which in return helps to set the expectations right.
Key Points to Remember
There are two important cornerstones for product backlog development which are roadmap and requirement. A roadmap can be called the draft or outline, which describes the entire project into several smaller segments called an epic, and each epic can contain different user stories. The user stories are then organized into a list by the product owner, making the development team’s work easier and less time-consuming. The product owner then prioritizes the epic and can choose to deliver the complete epic. There are several factors that may affect the prioritization of the epic during product development, such as:
- Urgency raised by the client/customer.
- Implementation process
- The urgency of collecting feedback and jumping onto the next iteration
- Synchronization between the work items
Template/Contents of a Product Backlog
Difference between a Simple Task List and a Product Backlog
- It is incremental in nature and dynamic, which means that the upcoming requirements are being added to the initial version of the backlog.
- This values the customer’s feedback.
- The client or the customer suggests improvements, and thus constant updates are being added to it.
- The items in the backlog are organized and prioritized as per the customer’s needs.
- It grows rapidly and is a documentation of the agile or scrum to-do list.
- It contains no low-level tasks as the documentation becomes large and difficult to manage.
Maintaining this backlog is very essential as continuous updates and improvements in the backlog grow very rapidly. It is the responsibility of the product owner to review and maintain the product regularly to ensure this backlog is well organized and updated. The product owner must regularize these backlogs before moving on to the next epic/iteration or phase. If the backlog is not defined and prioritized before the next work plan meeting, it may lead to abort the next phase creating chaos and confusion. Thus it becomes necessary for the product owner to review the product every day or every alternate day.
- Maintaining this becomes necessary so that there is no confusion regarding the next task. If items on the backlog are not well organized before the next phase, then it may lead to the abortion of the next stage.
- Adhering to the Backlog task is also important to complete the current task. If other tasks and projects are creating disturbances or too many new items appear on the Product, then addressing those items on the backlog becomes necessary.
- Dedicate on part of the backlog to the new improvements and ideas and the other to the bugs detected in the created product eliminating the hustles and dilemma. To simplify this backlog, assign an age limit to the ideas and scrap the ideas beyond that age limit.
Thus maintaining and reviewing it regularly will help you make the unmanageable colossus product into a manageable and structured outline/guideline. A lean and managed backlog will accelerate and catalyze product development, implement innovation, and achieve higher customer satisfaction. This will help you to deliver the best of class service possible.
This has been a guide to Product Backlog. Here we discuss the purpose, Merit, key points, difference between a Simple Task List and a Product Backlog, etc. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –
- Agile for Beginners
- Project Manager Responsibilities
- Agile Business Analyst
- Scrum Project Management