While Agile methodology aims to deliver value to stakeholders quickly and effectively, it also is important to have a tool that helps achieving that goal.Team Backlog is that critical tool which helps Agile teams achieve this goal. By prioritizing work items and focusing on delivering value during each Sprint, Agile teams can stay on track and deliver results.
It’s believed that managing the Team Backlog effectively requires knowledge and expertise. Yes. But Prakya makes it very easy and interesting. In this blog post, we’ll explore Team Backlogs, from the key elements to the best practices for managing them. Whether you’re an Agile team member or a project manager, you’ll gain valuable insights into how to Effectively manage Team Backlog and the Best practices adopted by Prakya.
Key Roles in Managing the Team Backlog
Who manages Team Backlogs?
It’s always a question of who is responsible for managing Team Backlogs. When the term “managing” is used, it always implies a level of responsibility. Traditionally, the “Product Owner” is responsible for managing the Team Backlog. He/She acts as liaison between the team and stakeholders. They create, prioritize, and maintain the Team Backlog, ensuring it reflects stakeholder needs.
Agile Teams at Prakya – Managing Team Backlog at Prakya
Many organizations stick to traditional models as they believe it provides better control over processes and are hesitant to adopt the transparency guidelines of Agile. But interestingly, Prakya emphasizes the importance of consciousness and awareness driving and motivating individuals at any level of the hierarchy. It just does not stick to the decision making of the Product Owner.
The Four Fundamental Team Topologies of Prakya
- Workflow-centric teams that deliver value directly to stakeholders
- Domain-centric teams with deep skills and expertise in specific areas
- Platform-centric teams that develop and provide platform services to other teams
- Adaptable teams capable of learning new technologies and adapting to change
What’s in the Team Backlog?
It is important for one to know that the items in the Team Backlog list are those that need to be worked on, but they do not have a specific time commitment for completion until they are moved into the Sprint Backlog, which must be completed within a given sprint.
Also, any team member can add stories to the Team Backlog, while the Protector or the Product Owner manages it. To know the types of stories that can go into the Team Backlog, they include:
- User Stories or Enabler Stories
- Improvement Stories
- Stories captured during the team’s retrospective.
Understanding the Relationship between Prakya’s Program Backlog and Team Backlog
Generally, multiple teams work together as an Agile Release Train (ART) to deliver a solution. The ART has a Program Backlog, consisting of Epics prioritized by business value. Epics are broken down into user stories, which form the Team Backlog assigned to Agile teams for delivery.
In Prakya, Features are used in the Program Backlog instead of Epics. The relationship between the Program Backlog and the Team Backlog is critical for success in an Agile Release Train.
- Agile teams work on user stories from the Team Backlog, derived from the Features in the Program Backlog.
- User stories must be delivered in the right sequence to ensure Features are delivered in the right order.
- Coordination between Agile teams happens during the ART’s PI Planning event every 8-12 weeks.
- During PI Planning, Agile teams plan delivery of user stories from the Sprint Backlog that contribute to the delivery of Features in the Program Backlog.
- Dependencies between user stories are identified and addressed during PI Planning.
To learn more about the importance of Features in Prakya’s Program Backlog, read our blog article “Why Features are Central to Agile“.
The Elements of Team Backlog
During Program Increment (PI) Planning, ART’s candidate features are split into stories by the teams and scheduled into upcoming iterations in the team backlog. The team backlog includes:
As a customer, I want to be able to check out my cart using Apple Pay so that I can make a purchase easily.
As a developer, I want to refactor the legacy code to improve performance and maintainability.
As a team, we want to implement automated testing for our code to improve our development process.
Spikes for research
Investigate and prototype the integration of a new payment gateway provider to assess feasibility and impact.
Local stories for new functionality, refactors, defects, research, and technical debt
As a team, we want to update our development environment to the latest version to take advantage of new features and improve our workflow.
Key Practices to effectively Manage Team Backlog
Effective management of the team backlog requires following some best practices. Here are some key practices that can help teams to effectively manage their backlog:
Transparency and Collaboration:
One of the critical aspects of managing a team backlog is ensuring that the backlog is visible to everyone, and all team members have a shared understanding of what the team is working on. Teams need to work collaboratively to ensure that the backlog is up-to-date and that it reflects the current priorities and needs of the stakeholders. Transparency in backlog management promotes a shared understanding of what the team is working on and helps to ensure that everyone is aligned with the team’s goals.
To ensure maximum value delivery, it is essential to prioritize the backlog items based on the expected business value, customer feedback, and other relevant factors. This prioritization helps teams to focus their efforts on the most important items first, and it helps to ensure that the team is delivering the most value possible to the stakeholders.
The team backlog should be continuously refined to reflect changing needs and priorities. This refinement process should involve regular reviews of the backlog to ensure that it remains actionable and that it reflects the team’s current understanding of the requirements. This process helps teams to stay aligned with the business needs and ensures that the team is working on the most valuable items.
Regular Backlog Refinement:
The backlog refinement process should be a regular part of the team’s activities. It should be scheduled and performed on a regular basis to ensure that the backlog is up-to-date and that it reflects the team’s current understanding of the requirements. This process also helps to ensure that the backlog is actionable and that the team is working on the most valuable items.
Quality should be a key focus area when managing the team backlog. The team should strive to ensure that each item on the backlog is of high quality and meets the needs of the stakeholders. This focus on quality helps to ensure that the team is delivering value to the stakeholders and helps to build trust between the team and the stakeholders.
In conclusion, effective Team Backlog management is critical to the success of Agile Product. By prioritizing, refining, and continuously updating the backlog, teams can ensure that they are delivering maximum value to their stakeholders. It is important to promote transparency and collaboration within the team to ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives.
Prakya strives hard to make this easy for you, Let alone the Team Backlog management. It makes every process hassle free as it takes the responsibility of doing the backlifting for you. This makes it very interesting to scale your teams or to transform into agile teams. To get in touch with us you can visit prakya.com and also find some interesting blogs by visiting our website.