The Agile Product Backlog for Developers

What is the Product Backlog?

The product backlog is a collection of prioritized requirements that need to be completed in a project. Once everything in the backlog is finished, the product is considered complete. However, a scrum team cannot work on every requirement at once. As such, the product backlog is prioritized. Higher priority requirements are placed higher in the backlog than lower priority requirements. These high priority requirements get worked on earlier in the project.

Priority of requirements is based on several different factors. The most important factor is value. Another way to describe value is how much stakeholders benefit from a requirement. In Agile software development, the top goal is delivering value to stakeholders. Therefore, working on requirements with a higher value is more profitable than lower value requirements. These high-value requirements are worked on early in the project, while other requirements can be completed later.

In addition to value, several other measures determine the priority of requirements. Risk and uncertainty refer to unknown information about requirements. Things like potential setbacks increase priority since working on them early in a project gives more time to sort out issues. Development time, including size and complexity, also determine priority. Larger and more complex requirements require more effort to finish. Placing a higher priority on these requirements gives the team a longer window to finish them. Dependencies, where requirements may rely on each other to work, also increase the priority. Development of modular code means that subsequent requirements can depend on code that is already finished.

Developer Role in Prioritization

The Product Owner is normally in charge of backlog prioritization or managing the backlog items. However, the developer role can help in the process. The value facet is solely the responsibility of the Product Owner. It involves interfacing with stakeholders, which is something that developers rarely or never do. The other measures do benefit from developers, though. Development time relies completely on developers. Being the role who handles the creation of new code, the developer has the experience to make estimates. Given a description and specification, a team of developers usually knows how long any given task should take.

Beyond development time, developers also have the expertise to comment on other measures of priority. With risks, developers have an intuition about issues that may occur or possible setbacks. Among a team of developers, at least one is likely to anticipate an issue, and discuss it with the team. Similarly, developers have a better understanding of dependency. They know what code can be modular, and what tasks benefit most from early development. By writing core code first, later tasks require less work to be completed.

Tools for Prioritization

While prioritizing the product backlog, a collection of prioritization tools may be used. The MoSCoW method is one of the most commonly used prioritization tools. MoSCoW is an acronym for “must have, should have, could have, won’t have.” These are 4 categories to sort tasks into. Some tasks are absolutely required, and so the customer must have them. Other tasks would be very nice to have, but not explicitly necessary, so the stakeholders should have them. Tasks that would add to the value of a product, but are a lower priority than must have or should have tasks fall into the could have area. Lastly, any tasks that will not make it into the next release are won’t have. By placing all tasks into one of these groups, the tasks are sorted into a general order of importance.

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Our Book Recommendations

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Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Developer With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

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Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Developer With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

What is this course?

This ‘Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Developer With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)’ provides an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Developer roles and responsibilities

You will explore the Agile Scrum project life-cycle, including how an Agile User Story is created, to how we know when it is ‘done’

This course is aimed at those with or without prior knowledge and experience of the Agile values and principles

During this course you will learn the tools needed to succeed as an Agile Scrum Developer

What will you learn?

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Developer roles and responsibilities, and you will be able to

  • Fully understand the role of the Agile Scrum Developer
  • Understand the roles involved in an Agile project
  • Create an effective Product Backlog
  • Effectively participate in Scrum Meetings such as the Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review and Retrospective
  • Identify the roles involves in the Scrum Team

What topics are covered within this course

You will cover the following topics during this course:

  1. An Introduction to Agile Project Management (Developer)
  2. The 12 Agile Principles (Developer)
  3. Introduction to Scrum (Developer)
  4. Scrum Project Roles (Developer)
  5. The Agile Project Life-cycle (Developer)
  6. Acceptance Criteria and the Prioritised Product Backlog (Developer)
  7. Initiating an Agile Project (Developer)
  8. Forming the Scrum Team (Developer)
  9. Epics and Personas (Developer)
  10. User Stories and Tasks (Developer)
  11. Implementation of Scrum (Developer)
  12. The Daily Scrum (Developer)
  13. The Product Backlog (Developer)
  14. Scrum Charts (Developer)
  15. Review and Retrospective (Developer)
  16. Validating a Sprint (Developer)
  17. Retrospective Sprint (Developer)
  18. Releasing the Product (Developer)
  19. The Communication Plan (Developer)
  20. Formal Business Sign-off (Developer)
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