Backlogs are the simplest, yet extremely effective elements of agile management. The Scrum backlog is a prioritized list, containing short descriptions of all outcomes the team wants to deliver in the future. The backlog is a living document that constantly changes as new goals arise. In Scrum/Agile world, we usually refer to those deliverables as user stories. The backlog contains user stories.
We recommend making a clear distinction between stories and tasks. User stories represent a deliverable outcome, while tasks are actions someone needs to accomplish to push a story towards completion.
Backlogs help the team to collect and plan work ahead in a simple, transparent way. To make a backlog useful, it should meet the following characteristics.
To use the backlog as a planning tool, you need to keep it estimated, so the team has an idea about how much effort is required to implement the work described by the backlog item. In Scrum Mate, we recommend using story points as estimation units. To learn more about estimating with story points this is a great starting point.
Make sure that the most important items are at the top of the backlog. A prioritized backlog makes it clear for the team what work is ahead of them, what is important and what should be postponed.
Backlog features in Scrum Mate
The biggest challenge when working with backlogs is to set the right priorities of backlog items. Scrum Mate offers the most powerful backlog management features on the market to help product owners dealing with a large number of items.
- Handy tools and shortcuts to manage backlog with ease
- Dividers to segment the backlog with milestones
- Topics to manage large initiatives
- Groups to keep the backlog readable
- Advanced tagging to capture several aspects that help you to make decisions
- Email integration to help to collect ideas
- Assign teammates to backlog items to help collaboration