The Product Backlog is an ordered list of everything that might be needed in the final product of the project; in other words, parts of the expected final product (a wish list). All items are described in simple business language (non-technical) and all of them are presentable to every stakeholder. They should also be independent of each other, as we need to order them based on their business value. Every requirement and every change in the project will be reflected in the Product Backlog.
Changes in the Product Backlog
The Product Backlog is dynamically changing and improving; it is never complete. We do not wait until the Product Backlog is complete to start delivering the items; the first Sprint starts as soon as the Product Backlog has a sufficient number of items.
The feedback collected in Sprint Review is an important source of changes in the Product Backlog, while it can change any other time as well.
The Scrum Team adds details, estimates, and order to the Product Backlog items all the way through the project, which is called Product Backlog Refinement. It should not consume more than 10% of the time of the Development Team. The Product Backlog is created based on discussion rather than documentation.
Order of Items
The Product Owner sets a number of factors to determine the value of each item for the business (customer). Return on investment is usually one of the factors. All these factors will be summarized into business value (importance).
The Product Backlog items are ordered based on their value, in a way that the higher an item is, the sooner it will be delivered by the Development Team. As the items located at the top of the Product Backlog will be delivered sooner, they will also be more detailed and clear compared to the lower items.
Each Product Backlog item has a work estimate. These estimates are solely done by the Development Team, and are used in comparison to the capacity of the Development Team in a single Sprint, to determine the number of items that will be selected for that certain Sprint. Additional information might be added to each item to help the Scrum Team take control.
The Product Backlog is a representation of the scope of the final product and therefore, there should be only one Product Backlog, no matter how many Scrum Teams are working on the project. This single concept also needs a single responsible person, so there’s only one Product Owner.
- Scrum Guide, a definition of the Scrum framework by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland
- Nexus Guide, a framework for scaling Scrum by Ken Schwaber et al.
- The Scrum Master Training Manual, a free ebook on Scrum, and the Professional Scrum Master™ (PSM™ I) exam
- Scrum Awareness, a free email course on Scrum framework