How to improve your Backlog Management

May 19, 2015

Backlog management doesn’t have to be tedious!

Whether you use Jira Agile or any other tool such as Rally, there are some best backlog management practices. Typically epics, features, stories and bugs/defects live in the backlog. Yet, another way to think about a backlog is that it is a repository of “stuff” that causes us to manage through problems or issues. These things or items can also be deliverables such as documents required for approval. I recommend that you configure your Agile tool to track a wider range of management items which are under active management such as;

  • Risks
  • Issues
  • Deliverables
  • Software product enhancements

The items above do not carry any “points” but they do create “drag” which impedes a team’s velocity. As such they should be prioritized and groomed by the scrum master continuously. The Manage What Matters approach recommends a grooming workflow –

  • Identify
  • Elaborate
  • Organize – categorize
  • Prioritize (focus on drag impact)
  • Complete – Mitigate

A good tip…

To increase the flexibility of this approach you can create a generic item or issue type called “Management Item”. If you are in a meeting and something comes up that you are concerned about, don’t put it just in a note page. Create a backlog item and then come back to it and categorize it more appropriately later.

For my next post I will discuss the relationship between these items and planning as well as the sprints undertaken by teams. Further posts will cover some generic templates for each of the item types above and others that you may want to manage.

In the meantime, if you wish to discuss more about backlog management, then contact us.

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