Backlog Health

Backlog Health

The teams should maintain a backlog health by having groomed stories of two future sprints. This can be calculated by multiplying your velocity. For example : Current Velocity is 32. So to have a good healthy backlog there should be at least 64 story points groomed and ready for planning.

Grooming efficiency

To calculate and measure the team’s grooming efficiency the Scrum Master or any one needs to maintain the record of each grooming session , Date , Number of Story points groomed and time taken for the session. The record will eventually give the trend of story points groomed per session and the grooming efficiency based on the average. It also helps to plan the future grooming to calculate how many hours of grooming are needed to achieve the 100% Backlog Health.

Backlog management elements:

  1. Items in the backlog

  2. Prioritisation

  3. Estimation

  4. Managing changes in the backlog

ELEMENT 1: Items in the backlog

Any kind of item with work associated with:

  • Use cases

  • User stories

  • Functional requirements

  • Non-functional requirements

  • Designs

  • Customer orders

  • Risk items

  • Change requests

  • Defects

  • Planned rework

  • Maintenance

  • Conducting a presentation

  • Completing a document

Note: One person or a committee may add items to the backlog.

ELEMENT 2: Prioritisation

Prioritisation is done based on each item on the backlog.Priorities change over time if

  • Stakeholders change priorities

  • Dependencies may emerge

ELEMENT 3: Estimation

Items at the top of the backlog typically have more details known about them. This tends to include an estimate of size, complexity which allows for an idea on how much cost and effort would be required to complete them.

As an item moves up the backlog in priority, the more we learn about what is involved to deliver it. The product or delivery process may give feedback on estimates of similar items that were delivered already. This helps in estimation efforts.

ELEMENT 4: Managing changes to the backlog

The following types of changes occur to the backlog:

New or change items: If new items are added or items are changed, they are re-prioritised relative to all other items on the backlog.

Work capacity availability: Once work capacity is available, items are moved from the backlog considering dependencies between items, current understanding of the item size and complexity.

Removed Backlog: Items are removed from the backlog when they are being completed or they will no longer be worked on or implemented.

Removed items can be re-added for example:

  • stakeholders changed their minds

  • It might be more time consuming than estimated

  • Other priority items could take longer to complete than estimated

  • The resulting work product might have defects

Advantages of having a good backlog depth

  • Great way to align stakeholder priorities to delivery priorities.

  • Only items at the top of the backlog are elaborated and focused on.

  • Effective way to communicate priorities and what is being worked on.