Product Backlog is the backbone of a good Agile project. It sets the short and long term targets for an Agile team to move towards. Maintaining a healthy and good product backlog is akin to raising your pet. Here is why…
#1 Provide the needed Attention
Like a pet, the product backlog needs constant attention. If you pay periodic visit to it just in time for ceremonies like Review or Planning meetings, the backlog will soon become a mess.
A good strategy is to schedule at least one mid-iteration review of the Backlog – normally referred as Backlog Refinement Meeting. Here are the typical activities performed during this meeting.
The minimum required participants in a backlog review meeting are:
- Product Owner
- Business Analyst
- Scrum Master
- Architect or Development Manager
- Development Team (if estimations are needed)
#2 Keep it Clean
An unclean product backlog starts to stink in a while. Cleaning essentially means to get rid of the stale or items that are no longer required.A Clean Backlog amounts to a Well maintained Agile Project Click To Tweet
If in doubt, reduce the priority of such items to the lowest possible value. This will make sure that they don’t occupy a primary position in the backlog while retaining them in the list.
#3 Feed it Right
Any new item that require the team attention must find its place in the product backlog. Think of the product backlog like a “Master To-Do List” for the development team. They always go back to it for any new work.
To state in other words, anything not making to the product backlog tend to be forgotten or overlooked.Anything not making to the Product Backlog will be ultimately forgotten Click To Tweet
Also, care must be taken to assign the right level of priority so that it is considered with required urgency. If not, it will end up in the bottom with nobody looking at it!
#4 Clean the S**t
As the owner of your pet, it is your responsibility to clean the s**t. With a product backlog, this refers to items that are outdated or irrelevant. It is possible that such items find their way into the backlog because it was deemed relevant.
Ask explicit questions to the product owner about every item that you or your team is not clear about. If there is an indication that the item is no longer relevant, don’t hesitate to take it off the list.
- It is efficient to have just ONE Product Backlog for a Team
- There must be no ambiguity on the Source of Work
- Clear Metric must be used to signify the Priority of every item (most Agile tools provide one)
- Think of it like your pet that need regular attention, feeding and some pampering!
- Maintaining a good Product Backlog is akin to your Pet
- Provide the needed regular Attention
- Keep it Clean and Tidy
- Feed it right with just good contents
- Clean the s**t whenever you notice any!
What are the strategies you use to maintain the sanity of your Product Backlog? Let us know as comments to this post.