A Product Backlog is a list of top-level requirements that are usually associated with a single Project or Product.
With that said, there is no reason why you can not use a Product Backlog to store requirements associated with multiple projects and products. You would in this case want to add an extra column or two into your product backlog to allow you to filter by Product or a particular Theme/Epic.
A product backlog will contain a range of requirements:
- Epics – very top-level requirements or objectives e.g. A new website
- Themes – very large user stories e.g. A new website section
- User Stories – an Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimatable, Small, Testable (“INVEST”) piece of functionality
As products rise to the top of the product backlog i.e. become higher priority, the Product Manager will work with the team to break Themes and Epics into User Stories.
Once broken down into User Stories, the Team will provide delivery estimations and commit to delivering a number of these stories (in line with pre-defined priorities) in the following sprint.
The Product Manager will then begin to define, prioritise and add additional User Stories to the backlog in preparation for the next sprint – this might include new requirements or changes emerging from the previous sprint.
The primary objective of the Product Manager is to deliver value. At a project-level, this value needs to be front-loaded into the development schedule – a side-benefit of this might be a self-funding project scenario. In a product development environment i.e. ongoing development, the value needs to be packed into each sprint.
This Product Backlog template provides the following tools:
- Agile Balanced Scorecard – Tracking Reliability (agile101)
- Agile Balanced Scorecard – Tracking Quality (agile101)
- Using Velocity to measure the Productivity of an Agile Development Team (agile101)