Agile and Scrum Methodology - Product and Sprint backlog

In this post, we are going to see what is a Product backlog and what is a Sprint backlog and the differences between the two.

Product backlog:

The product backlog is an ordered list of everything that might be needed in the product and is the single source of requirements for any changes to be made to the product.

A product backlog contains a list of product backlog items. The items could be in the form of:
  1. Story - short description of what the user wants from the product (eg., As a online retailer I need a catolog of products to be displayed).
  2. Bug
  3. Epic - represents bigger user stories
The items which are of high priority will be at the top of the backlog. The product backlog is maintained and managed by the product owner. 

Progressive Refinement:

It is a process wherein items at the top of the backlog will have more details into it than the ones at the bottom of the backlog. With time, and as and when the the backlog items at the top are completed, rest of the items are detailed out. This is similar to "Progressive Elaboration" technique used in typical project management process.

Sprint backlog:

This is a subset of the product backlog, and contains the items which will be completed by the team in the active sprint. Before the start of the sprint, the team will get together and identify items in the product backlog, which could be completed as part of the sprint. Those identified items will be moved to the sprint backlog. Thus, the items move from Product backlog to the Sprint backlog and get completed. New items should never be directly added to the Sprint backlog. They should always be added to the Product backlog and taken from there.

Sprint backlog is :
  • maintained by the team.
  • can contain additional tasks/stories which are decomposed from the product backlog item
  • updated daily during an active sprint


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