Backlog

The backlog is an integral part of Scrum and is essentially the product owner's control instrument. The backlog helps to define requirements for project development and tracking progress. It is part of of agile project management.

The creation of the product backlogs

To understand why Backlog and Scrum was developed, we need to take a look back at 1996, when Scrum was first introduced by Ken Schwaber of Individual Inc. Schwaber realized whilst the developers worked professionally at a high level, it was not possible to respond promptly to customer requests and implement necessary changes. Schwaber analyzed the problem more closely and found that the developers were confronted daily with so many changes, it was not possible to implement them. Schwaber reacted to this by developing a list in which all change requests were to be summarized under the name Product Backlog.

However, these changes were no longer sent directly to the developers, but were passed on to the product owner. Therefore, the developers could now concentrate on their core tasks, and the Product Owner had the task of prioritizing the list and deciding which functions should be implemented first.

There was a three-part division within Scrum. In addition to the product owner and the individual developers or teams of developers, there was also the Scrum Master, who was responsible for preserving all available resources. The Scrum Master is broadly based and additionally responsible for numerous other problems; they ultimately supervise the entire development process.

The meaning of the Sprint Backlogs

The Sprint Backlog also plays an important role. In the first Sprint Meeting, the product owner presents the requirements of the project to the development team. In the best case scenario, a user or costumer would also attend this first meeting and together with the product owner describe the requirements or required applications. In this phase, the development team is given the time it takes to familiarize itself with the project and the requirements. All requirements are recorded, documented and monitored in the Sprint Backlog.

Before the actual sprint starts, the second Sprint Planning Meeting follows. Here, the team of developers clarifies and explains whether and how the previously formulated requirements can be implemented. Even after this meeting, the results are recorded in the Sprint Backlog, in which the results are divided into "Task to do", "Working in Progress" and "Done".

Differentiation between product backlog and impediment backlog

The purpose of the Impediment Backlog (also known as Scrum Impediment) is to capture and correct everything that interferes with or hampers project development. Such disruptions result, among other things, from the fact that projects often cannot be completed on time or at all. Impediments should therefore help to eliminate disturbances that the development team cannot eliminate on its own. Examples of such disruptions include infrastructural or logistical problems, but also communication which does not always function smoothly. It is the task of the Scrum Master to inform the team about the determined impediments during Scrum meetings and to document them in the Impediment Backlog. In the next step, appropriate measures must be taken to remove all obstacles. It may also be necessary to call on the support of other bodies not directly involved in the project.

The Product Backlog is the connection between Product Owner and the Scrum Team. Criteria such as effort, economic benefits, needs and risks are defined in a prioritized list that defines requirements for the product to be developed. The basis for these basics are user stories and epics, which lead to a to-do list that corresponds to the current product version.

As one of the characteristics of agile project management is flexibility, product backlog should not be seen as a fixed value, as it is usual in classic project management. Rather, this includes the willingness to create new requirements or change existing ones at any time. This creates openness and dynamism in the sense of project work.

Significance for development

Since the implementation of projects is never faultless and the developers themselves should focus on their core areas, the backlog is an indispensable part of the planning and implementation of the Scrum. The additional tools described above improve and accelerate the implementation of projects. In addition, there is a clear division of tasks, which improves clarity and responsibility. This means that projects can be implemented better and faster in the interest of the customer.

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