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Build a Better Backlog

The quality of your product backlog is key to realizing the benefits of Agile.

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Your Challenge

  • Products require continuous additions and enhancements in order to sustain their value. Many organizations struggle to handle the volume in a way that maximizes value.
  • Product owners need tools, and more importantly methods, to help assess, validate, and prioritize their workload (i.e. backlogs and backlog management).
  • Development artifacts, or product backlog items (PBIs), exist at different levels of granularity and readiness for development.
  • A product backlog needs to incorporate the processes of filtering and validating ideas to refine PBIs so that they are ready to be consumed by development teams.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Use a three-tiered backlog. You should only have one product backlog with distinct tiers that contains standards and guiding principles for PBIs and facilitates product planning and delivery.
  • Remember the ABPs of backlog management: Always Be Prioritizing. Good backlog management means you prioritize and then reprioritize as needs change, new items are introduced, and PBIs become more granular. At each level of granularity you must refine the value and effort to re-establish priority.
  • Stick to the minimum required information. Your teams rely on information, but excessive documentation kills productivity. Establish the minimum information needed to effectively plan, prioritize, and execute.

Impact and Result

  • Restructure and reconceptualize your product backlog to not just store backlog items but also facilitate product planning and delivery.
  • Build a product backlog playbook containing the standards and guiding principles for your product’s backlog and associated activities.
  • Define your PBIs, identify necessary participants, and use quality filters to standardize and guide product planning and backlog management.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should build a better backlog, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Get more out of your product backlog

This storyboard will help product owners restructure a product backlog that will not just store and prioritize backlog items but also facilitate the activities, standards, and guiding principles of product planning and delivery.

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