Product backlog contains list of desired functionalities of an envisioned end product. It provides the bigger picture than the sprint/iteration backlog. If product backlog is neglected and treated as a dumping ground, it can distort the bigger picture and impact the iteration/sprint planning. In essence, a well-groomed product backlog is a prerequisite for a successful sprint planning meeting. As part of product backlog grooming exercise:

- New items are discovered and described.

- Existing items are changed or removed as appropriate.

- Items are prioritized. The most important items being at the top.

- High-priority items are decomposed and refined for upcoming sprint planning meeting. 

 

But this poses few questions:

- How much time should be spent in product backlog grooming?

- How frequently product backlog grooming should happen?

- What are different ways to product backlog grooming?

- How product backlog grooming exercise can be made efficient over time?

 

In this session, we will touch base on 

- the factors resulting in growing product backlog

- the indicators of unhealthy product backlog

- the impact of unhealthy product backlog on the product development

- the various approaches to take control of the product backlog 

- the tips for maintaing a healthy product backlog

 

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

 

In this session, we will touch base on 

  • the factors resulting in growing product backlog
  • the indicators of unhealthy product backlog
  • the impact of unhealthy product backlog on the product development
  • the various approaches to take control of the product backlog 
  • the tips for maintaing a healthy product backlog

We will also see transition of an unhealthy backlog to a healthy backlog via an example.

Learning Outcome

 

  1. Understand importance of product backlog grooming
  2. Know early indicators of unhealthy product backlog
  3. Learn various ways of product backlog grooming

 

 

 

Target Audience

Business Analyst, Iteration Manager, Product Owner, Project Manager

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

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  • AgileSattva Consulting LLP
    By AgileSattva Consulting LLP  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hameet! what do you refer as  "healthy backlog". What would happen to an idea that is never prioritized by the product owner? Does it discarded or kept somewhere else? 

    For example, if a website has a christmas seasonal greeting! feature. This may not get prioritized until mid year, so what happens to it. 

    curious to understand!

    Deepak

    • Hameet
      By Hameet  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

       

      Healthy backlog is the one that gives an idea around the product direction. One knows what is lying in the backlog. There are no vague tasks i.e. every cards(epic or story) has a high level notes captured. A person looking at the cards should get an idea about the purpose of the card. If a backlog has high number of cards with unclear purpose, it would be a point of concern for me. This situation should not have occurred in the first place. Unhealthy backlog is result of abusing the concept of backlog.

      • Joel Tosi
        By Joel Tosi  ~  4 years ago
        reply Reply

        Hi Hameet,

          I think I understand the problem you are looking to address / discuss but am failing to understand how you are approaching solving the problem.  Correct me if I am wrong, but you are looking to manage a backlog where the end product / goal is moving and uncertain, causing story fluctuation?  Or am I missing something?  I am missing how you are offering to address that challenge.

         

        Best,

        Joel

        • Hameet
          By Hameet  ~  3 years ago
          reply Reply

          Hi Joel,

          Thru this session, I intended to share 

          - Observed early symptoms of unhelathy backlog ( e.g. cards without priority, proper title, etc.)

          - Some backlog visulizations depicting the trend e.g. monthly burnup trend

          - Tips for avoiding the trap e.g. giving appropriate priority and title while adding the card in backlog

          - Share some techniques to groom the backlog e.g. a tweaked version of Merill Covey Matrix ( In cases when backlog has really grown and you are thinking of ways to trim/prune this)

           

  • AgileSattva Consulting LLP
    By AgileSattva Consulting LLP  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    HI Hameet,

     Would you like to present it with some examples? your own examples? some of your experiences? I see a value add in doing so.

    Deepak

    • Sachin goel
      By Sachin goel  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi

      As I understand the focus is on managing the product backlog. Have you formulated some tips / techniques/ strategies to do so effectively? Did you manage to apply / present such in different context / situations and see them still working?

      thanks - sachin

      • Srinath Chandrasekharan
        By Srinath Chandrasekharan  ~  4 years ago
        reply Reply

        Hameet,

        When you say "backlog in control" are you saying that we restrict the backlog. Isn't backlog supposed to be a placeholder for items which are wish lists. To that extent, should we really control the backlog. 

        Can you give an example of a backlog item that you would not want .

        Also, I am unable to relate it to the theme which is offshore-Sitributed Agile. In your experience, does an offshore and distributed teams have a issue with healthy backlog ?

        Your answers would help us to understand your talk better 

        Regards,

        Srinath

         

         

        • Hameet
          By Hameet  ~  4 years ago
          reply Reply

          Srinath,

          By "backlog in control" , I mean being aware of what is lying in the backlog . Any thing that gets added to backlog should have a purpose or business value associated. 

          I won't like to see a card that doesn't have a purpose or business value. e.g. card with title 'Fixing navigation' without any description.

          I didn't realize offshore-distributed-team tag was selected. I have removed that now.


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