Backlog Items

The product backlog consists of a prioritized list of work to be completed. At the beginning of a project, the Product Backlog Items (PBIs) are typically:

As the project progresses, additional types of PBIs are introduced:

Technical rework is typically the result of cutting corners to complete an earlier PBI. Taking on technical debt is a legitimate part of Scrum, but it is critical that technical debt is tracked and addressed. Left unmanged, accumulated technical debt can introduce challenges that make completion of additional features painfully slow.

PBI Attributes

Fully developed product backlog items should:

Backlog Grooming

Throughout each sprint the backlog should be actively groomed (PBIs added and refined). The backlog should contain a mix of fully developed PBIs and more preliminary PBIs. At the beginning of each sprint there should be enough fully developed PBIs to fill at least one and a half sprints.

During sprint planning, the team should decide which PBIs will be added to the next sprint and create a list of tasks under each PBI that enumerate the tasks required to complete the PBI. These tasks should have time estimates associated with them. As a general rule, tasks should range in duration from 2 to 5 hours in length. Each PBI brought into a sprint should be completely fleshed out prior to the start of the sprint. During the sprint you may find the need to add or re-estimate tasks. That's bound to happen, but hopefully your team will find it happening less and less as the year progresses.