Significance of Detailed Stories in Product Backlog

The product backlog is an ordered list of things which is needed to be done for accomplishment of the developing products. The product backlog are prioritized in accordance with the business value, probability of risk, roadmap and its requirements. It comprises of user stories, technical tasks, both functional and nonfunctional requirements, defects and other various issues. The product backlogs are owned and managed by Product Owners.

The highest priority items are segmented at the top of product backlog, so that team can concentrate and work on it accordingly. By overviewing the items in product backlog, it is easy to calculate the release plan and a team can decide the number of stories it can plan to accomplish in each iteration. The product backlogs are created and ordered on each iteration basis, which also depends on previous commitments.

Even though the product backlogs are roughly appropriated during the PI planning meeting, this are the items which continuously need to be analyzed and managed during each iteration planning. The product backlogs are formed in a technical nature and appears in user-centric way. This items are explained in terms of user stories with complete information about the work need to be done. It helps to replace the traditional requirements specification artifacts.


Properties of Product Backlog


Highlight the entries - A story in the product backlog should provide value to the developing products, so all stories need to be explained for proper execution. The stories can contain information regarding customer needs, various technical aspects, the work necessary to launch the product, requirements, setting up environment and simple measures to overcome blockers.

Detailed document - The product backlogs are the one which are meant to be changed frequently. During backlog refinement, the requirements in backlog are modified and new requirements are added to accomplish the product successfully. Here all the requirements are updated on basis of iteration planning. Thus product backlog provides complete data necessary for product development.

Distinct level of details - Each story in a product backlog has different levels of details. The stories which is needed to be executed in coming iteration are explained in detail and other stories are just explained in brief. Since the requirements are modified according to the product development processing, there is no sense of detailing all the stories in advance.

Prioritize backlogs - The stories in the product backlog need to be ordered and prioritized according to their iteration planning. The product owner along with his team will decide the prioritization of backlogs. Probability of risk, added value, customer priority and amount are the major aspects for prioritizing the backlogs, this helps to determine the next work in order.

Evaluate the stories - The entries in product backlog need to be estimated in accordance to developing product. The low-level stories or action items need to be eliminated and all requirements are need to be finalised in accordance to customer value. The evaluating of stories helps to prioritize the entries in product backlog and thus allows to plan the releases.

Backlog refinement - All entries in the product backlog need to be maintained regularly. Continuously manage the backlogs with more attention and care. If any new items need to be added for list, they has to be analyzed and described in brief. The backlog stories has to be estimated, prioritized and ordered in advance to the iteration planning.

It is important to keep the product backlog healthy and well maintained. Thus it helps the product owners to easily review the backlogs during each iteration planning in a proper way and it also allows to obtain the correct feedbacks of the previous iteration.

Points to Remember

  • The Product Owner and team prioritizes the product backlog during PI planning, but it changes in accordance to deliver high value to the developing product.
  • The team should decide the limits of their items in backlog and work appropriately, so that it will be easy to deliver the product within a schedule release time.
  • The product backlog should be kept visible for easy reference to everyone.

The product backlog forms the main streams for a team and it acts as a guidance for their work to be done. Thus by continuous refining and maintaining the backlogs, allows an organization to be more Agile.

P.S. We are happy to announce that Temenos+Agility is the title sponsors of Agile India 2016 (Mar 14 - Mar 21, 2016) which will be held at The Chancery Pavilion, Bengaluru, India. If you're attending, we invite you to visit us at our booth and check out our talks by our Founders, Siraj Sirajuddin and Susan Gibson.


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