What is a Product Backlog?
Product Backlog is one of the Scrum Artifact. In simple terms, it is the list of items that is needed in the product. Needleless to say that product backlog is the single and the primary source of requirement for changes that may be required to be done in product.
The most and foremost important thing in product backlog is not just preparing list of items needed in the product but also prioritizing the items.
So to be more precise in defining a Product Backlog (PBIs), it is a prioritized featured list which includes short descriptions of all the functionality that is desired in the product.
Prioritization of items in product backlog is mostly influenced due to
- Customer Priority
- Urgency of Feedback
- Implementation difficulty
- Mutual relationship between work items (e.g. A is easier to if we do B first)
Creating a product backlog is not done in a vacuum. It is created seeking input and feedback from customers, designers and the development team to enhance everyone’s workload and the product delivery.
Scrum Product Backlog is derived from the product roadmap and its requirements document. As the most important items are prioritized in PBL, development teams is very well aware of the items that is required to be delivered first.
Product Backlog serves as the connection between the product owner and the development team. Product Backlog is ever evolving. It needs to be updated on a regular basis as the work progresses to keep pace with the product development life cycle.
What is included in the Product Backlog?
Product Backlog comprises the following different types of items
- Technical Work
- Information Attainment
It is the most common type of product backlog. It is something that creates a value to a stakeholder i.e. customer or business user.
Features can be new functionality or an amendment to an existing functionality. It should epitomize the majority of the items in the product backlog.
Features can be further classified further into Basic Features, Linear feature and differentiating feature.
Basic Features are the most features that a product should have. For example Login feature to check say bank balance, fund transfer to another party. Without login feature customer cannot do the said above mentioned work. It’s a must have feature.
Linear Feature are also known as performance features. Such feature fall can be termed as “WOW” feature. The more WOW feature is made available the better it enhances customer experience. Example of Linear feature would be say allowing customers to select denominations for Withdrawal of Cash from ATM.
Differentiating features are high excitement features that set apart from industry. It often generate excitement to customer. Marketing campaigns, Product visibility can be positioned based on these features.
Defects are items which is also included in the product backlog. Defects are bug which is not delivered as per the requirement of the user. Development team or bug fixing team should ensure that defects are attended and resolved in an appropriate time bound frame.
3. Technical Work:
Product backlog can also include items that are technical in nature. For Example upgrading to the latest version Microsoft Office. Other example include upgrading all Computers to windows 7.
4. Information Attainment:
Information attainment is another type of items that is included in product backlog. This involves information attainment. Examples includes prototype, proof-of-concept, research, experiment etc.
Who is responsible for Prioritizing the Scrum Product Backlog?
Product Owner is responsible for prioritizing the items in the product backlog. Though he does the same in consultation with the help of the other Scrum team. Prioritizing is not done in a vacuum.
A good product owner will actively aim to keep the PBL as small as possible. Product backlog management includes but not limited to, ensuring that backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all.
Below is the example of the different Product Backlog
|1||As a user I want to be able to login to my account||1||1|
|2||As a user I want to rest my password||2||2|
|3||After logging I want to my bank statement||3||3|
|4||As a user I want to have filter option for month wise, year wise or flexible option to choose date||5||4|
|5||I should receive an SMS on my registered mobile Number if account is debited or credited for more than 500 INR||6||6|
Take part in CSPO training and Learn about the three scrum artifacts in Agile, including scrum product backlog.
Benefits of Product Backlog
- The chief advantage offered by using product backlog is, it allows the development team to prioritize the task
- When the task is prioritized it leads to an increase in the efficiency of the team's productivity.
- It also promotes flexibility based on which task priority can be adjusted from time to time to complete work on time
- The entire team gets clarity on the task and gets time to discuss among themselves to choose and complete the task based on the complexity.
- Finally, the team gets to know the status of the project and thus aligns to complete the task to reach the final objective.