Importance of priming the product backlog for value-added sprint planning

February 3, 2014

Preparing and maintaining the product backlog can be a very productive habit while getting engrossed during an agile project. In an agile setting, whatever the development team was working on each sprint draws the attention of the weekly and daily focus and quickly becomes integrated.

  • Recognize that requirements charge up forecasting in agile

In agile, requirements drive planning. Requirements are managed in a product backlog of user stories. The user stories are ranked by priority and the highest priority items are detailed out.

Prior to planning/prioritizing the backlog, it is crucial to itemizing out the user stories with conditions of acceptance, and collaborating with the development team on an estimate for each story. As such, estimates can actually help the business to prioritize, so the estimation can happen early and often.

  • Frequently run into software developers pertaining to the latest stories

Meeting often with the software developers to discourse about new stories and requirements that are being under consideration is also very important. Asking questions toward comprehending the constraints is another useful technique. Many a times, it is also significant to extract information as to how a story can be constrained to keep it minor or what meticulous requirements would entail supplementary toil. Some questions which are open-ended can act as follow-up on for estimating it the next time, comes handy in the event no useful information is available.

These kinds of discussions throw up some new perspectives amazingly – such as comprehending previously something minor which actually turn out to be a major story needing breaking it up which provide the much needed information to produce a backlog going to be helpful to developers during sprint planning.

  • Highlight the product backlog in terms of priority and capacity

Prioritize the product backlog items that might be discussed in the subsequent limited sprints. Segregate the product backlog items up into releases or group them together in a general priority. The product backlog items can then be broken down as releases or segregated in a general priority. For the product backlog items for which capacity would be available in the upcoming sprints, the business can set the priorities for them.

  • Factor out the top most precedence product backlog items

Marching forward toward sprint planning, it is imperative to ensure that detailed requirements accompany the product backlog items which are accorded top level priority. User stories capture these in-depth requirements. Apart from that, rough criteria of acceptance necessary to forego to provide the required approval for the story to be deemed “done or completed” should also be in place.

Priming the product backlog keeping in mind the near future should also be accorded significant priority as that would enable the preservation of the persistent impetus fueled by an Agile development methodology in an ever changing world.


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