Next, in our series on how Agile eliminates waste in the custom application development process, we focus on Backlogs and how they are used to make projects more efficient and ultimately more successful; meaning more likely to be on-time, on-budget, and exceeding client expectations.
Backlogs are logs that contain lists of User Stories (see part 3 of 5). There are two types of Backlogs, Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog. Both have a specific purpose directed toward eliminating waste and maximizing value.
The Product Backlog is a list of User Stories, generated and prioritized by the Product Owner in order of value and business importance. At this stage, the User Stories are defined at a high level and lack the details needed to turn them into functions. This is intentional; why waste time defining or documenting functions that may never be used or are not sufficient in value?
We prioritize the Product Backlog to identify high value functions (critical path) and User Stories that have the potential to provide the greatest ROI.
The Product Backlog is dynamic; it is constantly changing based on the measurement of business value and business priorities.
We select User Stories with the highest priority, as described on the Product Backlog, as candidates to be included in the next development iteration, also known as a “Sprint”. Next, we estimate how many of those User Stories can be completed within the iteration (see part 1 of 5).
Which brings us to the Sprint Backlog … the selected User Stories are further defined into development tasks that will comprise the Sprint Backlog for the next Sprint or iteration. The Sprint Backlog includes the Stories and tasks that become the planned work for the upcoming Sprint.
A Sprint is a two or three week cycle of planned development work, that will deliver one or more fully functioning features, based on the User Stories in the Sprint Backlog.
After each Sprint is completed, this cycle is repeated. Users Stories are reprioritized on the Product Backlog by the Product Owner, refined into tasks on the Sprint Backlog, and delivered upon completion of the Sprint.
Tying it all together
The process of User Stories moving from the Product Backlog to the Sprint Backlog, ensures that only those Stories or functions with the highest value make it into the Sprint. It eliminates any wasted effort spent on User Stories or functions that brings little or no value to the business, freeing up resources for more valuable work.
And most importantly, your company benefits from more ROI for its IT dollars.
Stay tuned for the final segment on how Agile eliminates waste in the application development process.
How are you using Backlogs to refine your businesses return on ROI?