Posted in Scrum Artifacts

Product Backlog

“It is the single source of requirements for any changes to be made to the product.” (1)


Definition: The Product Backlog is an ordered list of everything that might be needed in the product and is the single source of requirements for the product (2, pg 46)

Owner: Product Owner is responsible

Product Backlog Characteristics

  • Exists as long as the Product exists
  • One single list for everything
  • One Product = One Product Backlog = One Product Owner (2, pg 46)
  • Grows as marketplace feedback is received, product gains value, technology changes etc

Product Backlog Contents

  • Product Backlog Items of all changes to be made to the Product including
    • Features
    • Functions
    • Requirements
    • Enhancements
    • Fixes

Product Backlog Items

  • Description, Order, Estimate, and Value
  • Product Backlog items often include test descriptions that will prove its completeness when “Done”

Product Backlog Refinement

Definition: Product Backlog refinement is the act of adding detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog.

Length: “Refinement usually consumes no more than 10% of the capacity of the Development Team” (1)

People: Product Owner, Development Team

Outcome: Product Backlog items become more transparent through refinement and the top items are deemed ‘Ready’ for a Sprint (i.e. can be ‘Done’ by the team within one Sprint)

Product Backlog Details

  • Greater clarity and detail on the items higher up the order

Product Backlog Estimates

  • ‘More precise’ estimates (1) are made with greater clarity (i.e. higher up the backlog order)
  • Development Team is responsible for all estimates
    • Product Owner may support in collaboration

Product Backlog Order

  • Higher ordered Product Backlog items are usually clearer and more detailed than lower ordered ones

Monitoring Progress Toward Goals

  • Product Owner is responsible for monitoring progress and making this transparent to Stakeholders
  • Remaining total work to reach a goal can be summed at any point
  • The Product Owner tracks work remaining at least every Sprint Review and compares to previous Sprint Reviews to assess progress toward completing work by the desired time for the goal. 

Monitoring Practices

NOTE: No practice replaces the importance of empiricism. In complex environments, what will happen is unknown. Only what has already happened may be used for forward-looking decision-making.

  • burn-downs
  • burn-ups
  • cumulative flows

Extra: Product Journey

  1. What is the business direction?
  2. Focus on who your target customer is (my notes coming soon)
  3. Focus on what the problem is
  4. Prioritise which problem to fix
  5. Form a hypothesis
  6. Test your hypothesis
  7. Communicate your Product Vision
  8. Create the Product Backlog
  9. Prioritising the Product Backlog
  10. Build your MVP
  11. Monitoring progress towards a goal through roadmaps
  12. Refine the Product Backlog


  1. The Scrum Guide
  2. Scrum Insights for Practitioners by Hiren Doshi

Explore Other Scrum Artifacts

Sprint BacklogIncrement

3 thoughts on “Product Backlog

  1. Pingback: Estimation

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