We have worked with hundreds of companies and helped refine their product backlogs in product management. Whether you are a start-up or an enterprise, get in touch with us for a free consultation and see how you can benefit from our product development services. While a plan with stated goals is critical to intelligent backlog grooming, that doesn’t mean it has to stay the same. The product owner must keep an open mind and listen to what others in their team say to make changes as required.
I weighed my choices as I stared at the due dates for the twenty assignments. Product backlogs are discussed in much more detail in Succeeding with Agile. In his book Agile Product Management with Scrum, Roman Pichler points out that the Product Backlog needs regular attention. The key to a healthy Product Backlog is to perform refinement regularly. The Big Design Up Front approach claims we can predict all outcomes, plan contingencies, and execute perfectly. Traditional project management has given scope creep a bad name.
Committing to the unknown – Agile
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.
Estimates for higher-priority items or items at the top of the backlog need to be more accurate. We can afford to be less precise with lower-priority items because they are assumed not well understood yet. Estimates are not final and often expressed in story points or ideal days . Knowing the size of the items helps prioritizing and planning the release.
- The longer or shorter the planning horizon, the larger or smaller the work items.
- Neither should the sessions be for getting clarity on other inter-team issues.
- Description — what’s the primary purpose of the product backlog item.
- Items at the top are a higher priority, and items toward the bottom are a lower priority.
- In the software world, the team can choose to go with the speedy code to free up more time for feature development.
- Since this will change depending on the current needs of your customers, you need to continually adjust and refine your priority order.
It’s best to put aside an excessively detailed product backlog handed down to us and develop a fresh one from the roadmap based on the DEEP principles. Items may need to be added, re-prioritized, https://globalcloudteam.com/ or removed altogether. The Product Owner will naturally let lower priority items fall to the bottom of the list as they focus on getting clarity around near-term Product Backlog Items at the top.
What is DEEP in Product Backlog?
In this analogy, the Scrum master is the sommelier, providing guidance, context, and feedback throughout the sprint. A product backlog represents all of the goals and desired outcomes within the development of a product. They are the specific tasks a team hopes to complete when they set out to design or improve upon a product. Better sprint planning and retrospectives with user story maps in Jira. As Pichler advises, we should summon the courage to tell how lengthy and overly detailed product backlogs can make our work harder rather than easier if presented with one. We may make clearer how such backlogs can hurt our ability to deliver a winning product.
It discourages the “kid-in-a-candy-shop” behavior when the business side clamors that everything is of high-priority or of equal importance. This estimation can be done by comparing relative sizes of large epics. Maintaining the product backlog is the primary responsibility of the product owner or product manager. Part of that process involves refining details and estimates and prioritizing items. The Product Backlog lists all features, functions, requirements, enhancements, and fixes that needs to be developed for the product release.
Great products start with great product management
Smaller work items, stories, are typically developed by breaking down larger work items, or epics. Stories are the unit of software design, development, and value delivery. On the other hand, items that are lower on the priority list don’t require nearly as much detail. It’s a poor use of time to add details to lower priority items since you never know how the backlog is going to evolve.
A backlog should have clear implementation timelines for the various efforts/initiatives to address product deficiencies. One thing is for sure that the Product Backlog Refinement meetings are not meant for chitchat or time pass. Neither should the sessions be for getting clarity on other inter-team issues. Note that epics and stories are conceptually different, and should not be mixed or aggregated while developing a rank order. Stories are independent; they offer distinctly different functionality and don’t overlap.
This can cause a messy and chaotic backlog with many outdated items. Nothing gets done unless it’s on the backlog, but simply listing an item doesn’t guarantee that it will be accomplished. Product backlog refinement is the process of selecting which tasks are the most relevant to work on next – so you’re only working on what matters. Some people feel that grooming backlogs once a sprint is essential for productivity. Hence, they remember what was decided from gathering all tasks for the next sprint!
Prioritization only works if the team follows through on their commitments. Ensure upcoming stories are adequately defined by adding additional information and acceptance criteria. O Product Access, i.e., the different avenues through which customers gain access to a non-tangible product, i.e., a service offered in-store, online, or through an affiliate. ● Current market conditions and trends, i.e., market demand the product and expected short-term/long-term changes. When you combine live cohort-based classes with a best-in-class learning platform, you get a next-generation learning experience that teams – and learning administrators – love.
DEEP product backlog
But I recommend that you first prioritise your product backlog by risk. Once the key risks have been addressed, use cost-benefit and dependencies to determine the order in which the items should be implemented. The product backlog should instantly reflect the effects of new developments and changes to a product’s market conditions. Simple and fast, this technique is recommended for projects with a small set of items. Product Backlog refinement is the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items.
It’s constantly changing, growing, and evolving as you plan and build. Agile Product Backlog Grooming, also known as product backlog refinement, is an activity that helps you to improve your product backlog continuously. If you have five tasks, each task on an average should take four hours of ideal time effort or less. The granularity or size of work items should be determined based on how far into the future you are planning a product, i.e., the planning horizon. The longer or shorter the planning horizon, the larger or smaller the work items.
DEEP Product Backlog
Existing items are reprioritized, modified, refined or removed – continually. I hope you find the statement “Product backlog is DEEP; INVEST wisely and DIVE carefully” a useful mnemonic to remember key characteristics of a well-managed product backlog. Mike Cohn specializes in helping companies adopt and improve their use of agile processes and techniques to build extremely high-performance teams. He is the author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, Agile Estimating and Planning, and Succeeding with Agile as well as the Better User Stories video course. Mike is a founding member of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance and can be reached at If you want to succeed with agile, you can also have Mike email you a short tip each week. Let’s examine what each of the four key attributes of a good product backlog entails.
Release planning horizon, work item granularity, estimation, and rank order
This is an ongoing activity to add details, such as a description, order, and size. The key characteristics of a well-organized and managed product backlog are summarized in the image below. They can be used as very useful acronyms to help us remember the key characteristics. In this blog, I will explain how to manage a DEEP product backlog well by INVESTing wisely and DIVing carefully. User stories on the product backlog that will be done soon need to be sufficiently well understood that they can be completed in the coming sprint.
DEEP is an acronym that is used to denote a few main characteristics of a successful backlog of goods. This attribute of an excellent product backlog backlog refinement techniques is especially critical in Agile. As we progress and get new information, there will be a need to make some alterations or modifications.
DEEP in Product Backlog Management
10% of the Scrum Team’s availability and capacity is allocated for grooming. Since grooming is a continuous process in the sprint, the Product Owner continuously updates and refines the product backlog. Maintaining a well groomed DEEP backlog will help you succeed with Agile. The most important and highest priority items are implemented first.
Lesser priority items which can be considered later in time can be found towards the bottom of the product backlog. Teams always complete the highest priority items first to ensure that the value of the product is maximized. You should rank product backlog items in order of their direct significance to core business strategies, e.g., product placement, entry into new/existing market, and so forth. Now that we’ve gone through the theory let’s look at the product backlog example. If the development team does not have all the information they need to produce the best results, they must conduct knowledge acquisition before starting the development work.
This epic-level estimation can be done by comparing relative sizes of epics. There is no need to estimate epics in “swags” or “bigness numbers” which are entirely unrelated to story points. We need to also provide a rough estimate for each item or user story in the product backlog. We need to have a ballpark idea of the amount of effort that would be required for each to guide effective prioritization. All items in the backlog must have estimates, although the level of accuracy can vary.
What Jira Roadmaps Can Do for Agile
Is your product backlog so overgrown that it’s starting to become a hindrance rather than an advantage? Keep reading to add another acronym to your tool belt and learn how to whip your Product Backlog into shape. From developing business strategies for our clients to building teams and ensuring teamwork at every level, he runs the show quite effortlessly.