What is a product backlog?

Unpacking the Scrum Magic: Mastering the Product Backlog πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈπŸ“‹

Ever wondered what’s at the heart of a successful Scrum team? Today, we’re diving deep into one of the most fundamental, yet often misunderstood, components of Scrum: the Product Backlog. Stick with me, and by the end of this read, you’ll be wielding your Product Backlog like a pro! ✨

🎯 What is a Product Backlog?

Before anything else, let’s set the stage. The Product Backlog is not just a to-do list; it’s the very DNA of your product. It’s the map, the compass, and the guide rolled into one.

πŸ” Spotting a Stellar Product Backlog

So now that we’ve established its importance, you must be wondering: what does a good Product Backlog look like? And how can we ensure that ours is top-notch?

  1. One List to Rule Them All πŸ“œ Straight from the Scrum Guide’s wisdom, the Product Backlog is described as an “emergent ordered list of what is needed to improve the product”.


Remember, it’s the single source of work undertaken by the Scrum team. So, here’s a common pitfall: Many times, teams end up with a plethora of backlogs – feature backlogs, bug backlogs, infrastructure backlogs… you name it. But the essence of Scrum is to have just one Product Backlog.

This unity brings transparency, clarity about dependencies, and a focus on what truly matters. Think of a buffet, and imagine having everything laid out randomly – overwhelming, right? That’s what multiple backlogs feel like. πŸ₯˜πŸ²

  1. Size Matters… Keep it Lean! πŸ“ A good Product Backlog isn’t one that’s bursting at the seams. In fact, a common error is having backlogs so extensive that, if no more work was added, teams could be busy for months or even years.


This isn’t a treasure trove; it’s more like a graveyard where backlog items are laid to rest, never to be looked at again. An overloaded backlog is not just daunting but is also a maintenance nightmare. Consider this: if your backlog has 500 items and you spend just 5 minutes reviewing each once a year, you’re looking at days of work!

Pro Tip: Keep your backlog streamlined and agile. Aim for around 50 items – this ensures clarity, focus, and actionable insights. Everyone knows what’s in there, understands the objectives, and can actively contribute to refinement and execution. πŸ’‘

🌟 Why It Matters

Having an efficient Product Backlog sets the pace for iterative and incremental product development. With every Sprint, you’re moving towards your overarching product vision, Sprint by Sprint, goal by goal. When your Product Backlog is lean and clear, it no longer looms large, but rather directs focus, enabling faster and more effective product delivery. πŸš€

In the world of Scrum, mastery over your Product Backlog is a game-changer. As we navigate the agile landscape, let’s remember to keep our backlogs refined, focused, and purpose-driven.

After all, in the quest for product excellence, every item counts. Happy Scrumming! πŸŽ‰

If you are experiencing problems managing and ordering your Product Backlog, Scrum.org have just created a Professional Scrum Product Backlog Management course and it’s worth the investment. If you are a previous PSPO or PSPO-A student from Effective Agile, or are going to be purchasing a PSPO or PSPO-A course in the future, you get the PSPBM course free!



About Effective Agile

Ralph Jocham is a Change Agent in Scrum // Agile // Coaching // Evidence Based Management and also a Professional Scrum Trainer based in Europe.

As one of the first Professional Scrum Trainers in the world, Ralph has worked directly with cocreator of #scrum, Ken Schwaber, and has played an integral part in the course development of the #PSPO (Professional Scrum Product Owner) as well as the delivery of all #scrum.org certified courses.

If you’re looking to invest in training that transforms and empowers teams to successfully adopt #scrum or #agile, and create high-performance #productdevelopment environments leveraging the agile values and principles, visit our Professional Scrum Training page.

If you would like to work with Ralph and company as an #agilecoach, #agileconsultant, or powerful change agent to get your team back on track and on the road to high-performance #agile #productdevelopment, connect with Ralph Jocham.

For more great β€˜how-to’ videos, blogs, and insights, subscribe to our YouTube channel and visit our blog for more valuable content.

#scrum #agile #scrumorg #scrumcertification #scrumcourses #scrumtraining #agilescrumtraining #agilekata #agility #businessagility #agileprojectmanagement #projectmanagement #productdevelopment #agileproductdevelopment #switzerland #germany #europe #scrumteam #scrumframework #professionalscrumtrainer #PST #certifiedscrumtrainer #certifiedscrumtraining

Latest Short Videos