Backlog Management Issues and Tips to Keep It Lean

The backlog management process allows the project manager to add, adjust, nurture, and prioritize the backlog items. It ensures that the result offers customer satisfaction. In Agile technology, the backlog is the key tool that helps in project management and prediction.

A lengthy backlog causes frustration because it has lots of information, which is irrelevant and unmanageable. Therefore, it ultimately gets abandoned. Teams will recourse through a volatile sprint planning structure, which will make them lose vision of long-term goals. They will end-up in the task-focused environment. It is easy to think of what is to be done now instead of what needs to be achieved shortly.

Issues caused by an excessive lengthy backlog

  • Maintenance cost – Queues lead to blindness as it appears to be an insurmountable task. Therefore, the entire fat backlog becomes outdated.
  • Value reduction – Backlog with thousands of items becomes insignificant. A big backlog feels like a trash bin. All the work needs to be done but it never does.
  • Inhibited innovation – Reorganizing a lengthy backlog is a chore. Innovative ideas get added in the end or front of the backlog. Adding in front means the whole backlog is invalidated, which at the end means they will not get done.

Backlog management is necessary for accelerating project success. PlanStreet offers a scalable backlog board in Agile. The Kanban board allows users to see their existing and future sprints in sequential order.

How to improve backlog size?

Appoint only one person to take responsibility for the backlog of an only-one team and external stakeholders. The person has to be familiar with the project as well as the power to take decisions related to their assigned backlog without consulting others.

Create a realistic strategy

Create a strategy on backlog management and remember to include your team in the process. Every team member needs to contribute and consistently take part in the process to keep the backlog fresh. The backlog is the roadmap and vision of the project, which everyone needs to be familiar with.

Even use online Gantt chart software to collaborate with everyone involved in the project. It is a tool that offers transparency and clarity among team members.

Make decisions

Contain yourself from adding every idea that pops in your mind on the Scrum board. Ponder on it for more than a week and if still, you find it worthy add it to the backlog. Even consider one in and one out practice, when you find you are nearing the task-in-progress limitation setting. It is hard to remove items but having the capability is a crucial trait for project managers.

Work with age-limit funnel

Project and team backlog can be categorized into several phases or sections, where the limit set for task-in-progress is hard to implement as the time gets closer. A simple way is to dedicate one backlog section to new ideas, whereas the other portion to ideas that are thoroughly groomed and constrained in size.

The new ideas must have an age limit, so those that don’t get prioritized can vanish overtime without swamping this section. When ideas get transferred to the groomed section, it indicates commitment from the project manager that this idea will eventually get implemented.

Never sidestep your own rules

If the task-in-progress limit gets applied stringently, then you may get tempted to evade your own rules. This will instead pack lots of information in every item. Avoid that!

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