What is a Product Backlog?

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Ashutosh Singh

As a bonus, a well-prioritized agile product backlog simplifies release and iteration planning while also broadcasting all activities on which your team will focus, even internal ones that your customers would never see anyhow. In this way, stakeholders and other teams know what to anticipate, particularly when they bring in new work, and your engineering time becomes a valuable fixed asset.

Product Backlog

The definition of the backlog: an itemized list of development work resulting from the roadmap and its needs is known as a product backlog. In order for the team to know what to provide first, the most critical items are shown at the top of the product backlog. As a result, neither the development team nor the product owner is able to move through the product backlog at the same rate as the latter. Instead, the development team works continuously (kanban) or iteratively from the product backlog (scrum backlog).


Don’t utilize different systems to manage defects, requirements, and engineering work items. Keep everything in one issue tracker. Make a single product backlog for the development team’s work.

Start with the two “R’s”: research and response.

Start with the two “R’s”: research and response.

The product backlog item is built on top of the team’s plan and needs. Roadmap efforts are divided into multiple epics, with a corresponding number of requirements and user stories. Here is a hypothetical product’s roadmap: Teams in Space.

The Teams in Space website is the first project on our roadmap, thus it will be divided into epics (seen in green, blue, and teal above), with user stories for each epic.


The product owner then compiles all of the user stories for the development team into a single document. It’s possible that the product owner will decide to provide an epic first in its entirety (left). It’s also possible that booking a low-cost trip that requires tales from numerous epics is more vital to the program (right). Both instances may be found in the paragraphs that follow.

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What factors could have an impact on the priority of a product owner?

  • Customer priority
  • Urgency of getting feedback
  • Relative implementation difficulty
  • Symbiotic relationships between work items (e.g. B is easier if we do A first)

Product owners are responsible for prioritizing the product backlog, but they don’t work alone. The most effective product owners solicit user, designer, and development team feedback to help them all work more efficiently and create better products.

Maintaining a healthy backlog

Once the product backlog has been established, it is critical that it be updated on a frequent basis to remain relevant. Before each iteration planning meeting, product owners should go through the product backlog to make sure the priorities are right and the input from the previous iteration has been implemented. In agile terminology, regular product backlog reviews are referred to as “backlog grooming” (some use the term product backlog refinement).

Product owners must divide the product backlog into short-term and long-term items as it grows. Before being classified as near-term, an item must be completely fleshed out. By this, we mean that we’ve crafted full user narratives, arranged for design and development teams to collaborate on the project, and generated development cost estimates. Although it is a good idea to acquire an approximate estimate from the development team to assist in prioritising long-term tasks, this may stay unclear. These are “rough” estimations that will vary when the team has a better understanding of and starts working on these longer-term issues.

Product owners use the product backlog as a communication channel with the development team. Due to user feedback, revised estimates, and new needs, the product owner has complete freedom to rearrange the work in the product backlog at any moment. Changes should be kept to a minimum after the job has begun, since they may cause havoc on the development team’s ability to concentrate, flow, and remain positive.


When the product backlog exceeds the team’s long-term capabilities, closing items that the team will never get to is acceptable. Keep track of problems in the team’s issue tracker that have a defined resolution, such as “out of scope.”

Anti-patterns to be aware of

At the beginning of the project, the product owner prioritizes the product backlog, but he or she does not change it when input from developers and stakeholders comes in.

Only customer-facing items may be added to the queue by the team.

The product backlog is preserved in the form of a locally saved document that is seldom shared, making it difficult for interested parties to stay up to date.

What is the Scrum Product Backlog?

The agile product backlog in Scrum is a prioritized list of features that contain concise descriptions of every product functionality. If you’re working on a project, you don’t have to start with a significant effort to record all requirements utilizing Scrum. For agile backlog prioritization, a Scrum team and its product owner may begin by adding whatever they can think of.

This product backlog in agile provides more than enough content for the first sprint. The Scrum product backlog allows it to extend and adapt as more knowledge about the product and its consumers become available.

The product backlog in Scrum is a prioritized list of features that contain short descriptions of every product functionality. When employing Scrum, it is not necessary to begin a project with a significant, upfront effort to establish all requirements.

A scrum team and its product owner often begin bespoke software development services by scribbling down whatever they can think of for agile backlog prioritizing. Almost often, this agile product backlog is sufficient for the first sprint. The Scrum product backlog is allowed to grow and adapt as more knowledge about the product and its customers become available.

How can product backlogs help to maintain a team flexible and quick to respond to changes?

Knowing how to groom a program’s product backlog such that it is a trustworthy and shareable summary of the work items for a project is essential for smart product owners.

As a result of product backlogs, discussions and decisions are forced, which helps to keep a program running smoothly.

Stakeholders will raise questions about priorities, which is a positive development. By encouraging debate on the most essential issues, everyone’s interests will be aligned. Talking about the program’s goals helps to create a group priority culture where everyone has the same perspective.

Iteration planning is built on top of the product backlog. A project’s backlog has to cover everything from user stories to bugs to design modifications to technical debt to client demands and anything else. This guarantees that each iteration’s overarching conversation includes everyone’s work items. So, before beginning an iteration, team members may make deals with the product owner on what has to be done.


Product owners set the priority of product backlog issues, while the development team sets the pace for moving through the product backlog. New product owners who seek to “push” work to the team may find this relationship difficult. Find out more about the boundaries and flow of work-in-progress in this article.

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