Product Backlog

Items added to a backlog are commonly written in story format. The Product Backlog is what will be delivered, ordered into the sequence in which it should be delivered. It is visible to everyone but may only be changed with the consent of the Product Owner, who is ultimately responsible for ordering Product Backlog Items for the Development Team to choose.

The Product Backlog contains the Product Owner’s assessment of business value and the Development Team’s assessment of development effort, which are often, but not always, stated in story points using a rounded Fibonacci sequence.

There is a common misunderstanding that only user stories are allowed in a Product Backlog. By contrast, Scrum is neutral on requirement techniques. As the Scrum Primer states,

Product Backlog Items are articulated in any way that is clear and sustainable. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, the Product Backlog does not contain “user stories”; it simply contains items. Those items can be expressed as user stories, use cases, or any other requirements approach that the group finds useful. But whatever the approach, most items should focus on delivering value to customers.

The Product Backlog:

  • Captures requests to modify a product — including new features, replacing old features, removing features, and fixing issues
  • Ensures the Development Team has work that maximizes business benefit to the Product Owner

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