The Scrum approach to agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. Scrum and other agile methods were inspired by its shortcomings. Scrum emphasizes collaboration, functioning software, team self management, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.

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The Scrum Backlog

Posted by admin under Scrum Basics

Scrum has two types of backlogs, the Product Backlog, and the Sprint Backlog.

The Product Backlog is a prioritized list of customer-centric features. It breaks the big-picture vision down into manageable increments of work called Product Backlog Items (PBIs). These are typically expressed in user story form. Product Backlog Items are not tasks, they represent the what rather than the how. If Product Backlog Items are estimated, they’re estimated in relative units such as story points. Items toward the top of the Product Backlog should be small enough that a team could accomplish several of them (including proper testing, integration, etc.) in one two-week Sprint.

The Product Owner and Team collaborate to refine the Product Backlog continuously (e.g. about an hour per week) in the Backlog Refinement Meeting.

In Large Scale Scrum, multiple teams pull their work from a single Product Backlog. Multiple teams collaborate with the Product Owner to refine the single Product Backlog.

The Sprint Backlog is created during the Sprint Planning Meeting. The team pulls the amount of work they want to do from the Product Backlog into the Sprint Backlog, and further decomposes the PBIs into Sprint Tasks. The team decides the how, and expresses this in the tasks. The best way to represent the Sprint Backlog is a physical taskboard, using PostIt Notes or index cards. During the Sprint, typically at the Daily Scrum Meeting, team members move the tasks around to reflect how they’re doing on them. One purpose of the Sprint Backlog is to limit work in progress (WIP). Humans become ineffective when they worry about too many things at the same time.

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Reader's Comments

  1. Ram |

    Good article. This is more of a question. What happens to a backlog at the end of the project? Does it get transitioned over to the support team and stays on as the product backlog for the product and if it ever gets too big for a support team, then a new project is kicked off to handle the prioritized items?

  2. Vab |

    I checked one of the videos – Backlog refinement meeting. You guys have done a great job in visualizing it. It really helped me in understanding how it happens in real world

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