The product backlog is among the most important artifacts in Scrum. It is through this solution that it is possible to work together, establish responsibilities and track progress. It is also equally important to come up with stories related to the product and discuss particular functionalities. Learn practical information about the user story and backlog – what it is, what it is used for, and who is responsible for it in the scrum team.
Backlog – what is it?
To begin with, it is worth developing the concept of backlog. What is it and what is it used for in companies? Under this term is an inventory of issues that leads to the realization of a specific goal. This tool is used in teams working with Agile methodologies. On the surface, a backlog may seem like just a list of tasks. It turns out that it is a much broader concept, as its scope includes errors, requirements, technical issues and project improvements.
The product backlog contains the features, functionalities and requirements that the product should include. Product backlog develops in the course of evolution, so it is constantly edited and enriched with new elements. In the simplest terms, it is a list of priority tasks that must be completed in order to receive a product. The product backlog includes its description, estimation, value and a specific order. It is a collection of information that enables developers to manage the project more effectively. Elements of the backlog also include tests with a complete description to confirm the efficiency of the product.
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What form can the Product Backlog take?
First of all, the product backlog should be easily accessible to the entire scrum team. It can take various forms, depending on the company’s internal arrangements. The product backlog can appear in physical or digital form.
Physical product backlog
The physical version often uses colored post-it notes, dry-erase boards or electrostatic film. A major advantage of using a product backlog in the form of a whiteboard is to look at the project comprehensively, as a whole. In turn, the ability to move the cards and arrange the space encourages discussion and in-depth analysis of the situation. Backlog in the physical version also has its downsides. The disadvantage of this solution is the limitation of synchronization of elements, when working remotely or working at several company sites. If employees are in different locations, working with a whiteboard, cards or electrostatic film can be cumbersome.
Digital product backlog
The digital product backlog is a more popular solution. In this aspect, many practical tools have been created at the disposal of users. A backlog can be created using, for example, Microsoft Excel or a dedicated Trello platform. Among the more advanced tools is Jira by Atlassian. The software allows for discussions while using the boards.
User Stories – how does it help to organize the product?
We already know what form a backlog can take, what it is and what elements it contains. It’s time to look at the second concept, User Stories. Under this term is nothing more than the creation of a user story. User Stories is related to agile methodology. The idea behind the tool is to create short and simple descriptions of product functionality from the perspective of the end customer or the system user himself. The stories are formulated according to a set pattern that is based on meeting users’ needs. The main idea of User Story is to provoke discussion, encourage the team to ask questions and fully understand the purpose of creating the feature being discussed. This allows developers to find the best solutions to improve their product.
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Who should be responsible for the Product Backlog?
Roles in the scrum team are strictly defined. The Product Owner, or product owner, is responsible for the product backlog. He is the person responsible for working with specialists and the client, whose vision must be realized. The Product Owner’s job is to make sure that there is a clear vision for project implementation, a plan, and key performance indicators. He is the one who determines whether the team is moving in the right direction and how the work is organized. And while the Product Owner is also responsible for the backlog, he can delegate tasks to other members of the project team. It is also the product owner’s responsibility to create User Stories and prepare criteria for approval for each story.
What do you gain by implementing the Product Backlog?
When it comes to using Product Backlog, we can pick out a few key benefits.
– Increased productivity – with the help of task prioritization, teams are able to better manage their time.
– Flexibility – backlogs change depending on the rate of task completion. This allows them to better determine their priorities.
– Better communication – backlogs facilitate the exchange of information and discussion of problems.
– Setting expectations – backlogs create a visual representation of a project at each stage of its development. This allows the team to understand the status and rank of each task.