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What is a Sprint Backlog and When is it Created?

What makes Scrum effective? Is the process followed or is it the team members? The truth is that Scrum is effective because of a combination of these. When the process and the team come together in a systematic approach, Scrum is effective, and the project is successful. The Scrum artifacts add a whole lot of value to the whole Scrum process and help teams deliver value and enhance productivity. In this blog, we attempt to look at one of the most important Scrum artifacts—the Sprint backlog. What is a Sprint Backlog?There are eleven basic elements that make up the Scrum framework. There are: Three accountabilities Scrum Master Product Owner Developers Three artifacts Product backlog Sprint backlog Potentially releasable product increment Five events/ceremonies Sprint Planning Daily Scrum Sprint Review Sprint Retrospective The SprintThe artifacts add a lot of value to the product development and should be managed by the three roles in the Scrum team. The Product Backlog is mainly the responsibility of the Product Owner while the Sprint Backlog is the responsibility of the entire team.The Sprint Backlog is composed of the Sprint Goal (why), the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint (what), as well as an actionable plan for delivering the Increment (how)—Scrum Guide The sprint backlog is an ordered list of tasks that need to be completed in the duration of the current sprint. It is a plan that the developers create for themselves that outlines the roadmap of how they will go about accomplishing the sprint goal.  What is a Sprint goal?   A sprint goal is a Potentially releasable Product Increment that meets the requisite “definition of done” and is delivered at the end of each sprint. The team collectively works towards achieving and delivering the sprint goal and makes sure that it adds value to the product owner and as an increment to the project goal.The developers use the Sprint backlog as a real time picture of the tasks that they plan to accomplish that will lead them to the sprint goal. The sprint backlog is a highly visible living document that helps developers and other involved inspect the progress made in the course of the sprint. It is updated through the course of the sprint as more information is made available.When is the Sprint backlog created?The Sprint backlog is created at the beginning of each sprint. The items on the sprint backlog are decided at the time of the sprint planning meeting which happens at the start of the sprint. The team selects the items, which may be in the form of user stories, from the product backlog. They identify what tasks may be necessary to complete the user story and also estimate the time that may be taken to complete the tasks. Who creates/owns the sprint backlog?According to the Scrum Guide, the Sprint Backlog is a plan by and for the Developers. The developers with the help of the Scrum Master and the Product Owner select the items and size of the tasks in the sprint backlog. It is important that this be done by the team as it is the team members who are responsible for completing these tasks and delivering a sprint goal. So they must be empowered with selecting the tasks on the sprint backlog.What Goes into a Sprint Backlog? A sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog and contains items that the development team selects to complete in the sprint. The team selects user stories from the backlog and identifies the tasks that may be needed to complete that user story. The sprint backlog should also include bug or issue fixes which are also broken down into tasks. It also shows which team member the task has been assigned to, the status of the task and the estimate in number of days to complete the task. The sprint backlog must be updated to reflect any new information that may be available as a result of change in the number of tasks.Sprint Backlog Template:Source: Sprint Backlog TemplateTips to make Your Sprint Backlog a great toolInvolve the whole team:The entire team shares the ownership of the sprint backlog as each team member brings in a unique perspective and knowledge to the project. Create joint ownership:This can be done by sharing decisions and ensuring that all team members are involved in planning and defining tasks for the sprint.Have a definition of done:Ensure that every item on the list has a definition of done, which comprises the acceptance criteria that have been defined by the team.Cover all areas of work:While development may take precedence among all other tasks, it is essential that the Sprint backlog covers all aspects of what is needed in the sprint including architecture, coding, UI/UX, testing, etc.Update regularly:   The Sprint backlog should be reviewed and updated on a daily basis during the Daily Scrum. The team updates tasks progress or tasks that need to be reprioritized or have some dependencies. Doing this helps the team to track progress and adjust their work accordingly to meet sprint goals.Ensure high visibility: Agile software development is built on the foundations of transparency and this has to be reflected in all the artifacts including the sprint backlog. High visibility can be ensured by involving the entire team at the time of sprint backlog creation and allowing the entire team to have access of the sprint backlog. Avoid changes during sprint:   Sprints are typically just 2 or 3 weeks long and making constant changes during this time will waste time and may even prevent the team from reaching the sprint goal. Which is why, the team should avoid making changes in the sprint backlog in terms of adding or removing stories when the sprint is underway.  Difference between Sprint Backlog vs. Product Backlog  Sprint BacklogProduct BacklogA sprint backlog is the subset of the product backlog The product backlog is the single source that lists things that a team works onIt is an ordered list of items that a team targets to deliver during a sprint in order to attain the sprint goalIt is an ordered list of tasks that are needed to be completed to accomplish the final productIt is specific to the Sprint goal of the current sprintIt is specific to the overall goal of the projectIs owned by the developersIs owned by the Product OwnerDefines the sprint goalDefines the product goalConsists of user stories that are broken down into tasks and estimated in terms of time takenConsists of high-level features that are broken down into user storiesA new sprint backlog is created for each new sprintThe same Product Backlog remains and is frequently updated and maintained till the final product is releasedIs smaller in scope than the Product BacklogCovers the scope of the entire projectIdeally the sprint backlog should not be changed during the sprintThe Product Backlog is refined and modified as the project progressesOnly the Developers are allowed to change the Sprint Backlog during the SprintOnly the Product Owner can make changes to the product backlog. If the developers want to make changes, they must take permission from the Product OwnerWhat value does the Sprint Backlog add?The Sprint backlog is among the most important Scrum artifacts, used by a team to enhance value during the course of the agile software product development. Decided at the start of each sprint, the backlog gives the team the opportunity to get together and decide the tasks that need to be completed in terms of priority and feasibility. It helps to keep the team honest in terms of how much work they pick up.The team being empowered to pick up items and populate the sprint backlog, can ensure that members are not overloaded with work. Being a highly visible artifact, the sprint backlog also helps the team and everyone else involved gauge the progress of tasks and resources. 
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What is a Sprint Backlog and When is it Created?

Susan May
Blog
30th Sep, 2021
What is a Sprint Backlog and When is it Created?

What makes Scrum effective? Is the process followed or is it the team members? The truth is that Scrum is effective because of a combination of these. When the process and the team come together in a systematic approach, Scrum is effective, and the project is successful. The Scrum artifacts add a whole lot of value to the whole Scrum process and help teams deliver value and enhance productivity. In this blog, we attempt to look at one of the most important Scrum artifacts—the Sprint backlog. 

What is a Sprint Backlog?

There are eleven basic elements that make up the Scrum framework. There are: 

  • Three accountabilities 
  • Three artifacts 
    • Product backlog 
    • Sprint backlog 
    • Potentially releasable product increment 
  • Five events/ceremonies 
    • Sprint Planning 
    • Daily Scrum 
    • Sprint Review 
    • Sprint Retrospective 
    • The Sprint

The artifacts add a lot of value to the product development and should be managed by the three roles in the Scrum team. The Product Backlog is mainly the responsibility of the Product Owner while the Sprint Backlog is the responsibility of the entire team.

The Sprint Backlog is composed of the Sprint Goal (why), the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint (what), as well as an actionable plan for delivering the Increment (how)—Scrum Guide 

The sprint backlog is an ordered list of tasks that need to be completed in the duration of the current sprint. It is a plan that the developers create for themselves that outlines the roadmap of how they will go about accomplishing the sprint goal.  

What is a Sprint goal?   

A sprint goal is a Potentially releasable Product Increment that meets the requisite “definition of done” and is delivered at the end of each sprint. The team collectively works towards achieving and delivering the sprint goal and makes sure that it adds value to the product owner and as an increment to the project goal.

The developers use the Sprint backlog as a real time picture of the tasks that they plan to accomplish that will lead them to the sprint goal. The sprint backlog is a highly visible living document that helps developers and other involved inspect the progress made in the course of the sprint. It is updated through the course of the sprint as more information is made available.

When is the Sprint backlog created?

The Sprint backlog is created at the beginning of each sprint. The items on the sprint backlog are decided at the time of the sprint planning meeting which happens at the start of the sprint. The team selects the items, which may be in the form of user stories, from the product backlog. They identify what tasks may be necessary to complete the user story and also estimate the time that may be taken to complete the tasks. 

Who creates/owns the sprint backlog?

According to the Scrum Guide, the Sprint Backlog is a plan by and for the Developers. The developers with the help of the Scrum Master and the Product Owner select the items and size of the tasks in the sprint backlog. It is important that this be done by the team as it is the team members who are responsible for completing these tasks and delivering a sprint goal. So they must be empowered with selecting the tasks on the sprint backlog.

What Goes into a Sprint Backlog? 

A sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog and contains items that the development team selects to complete in the sprint. The team selects user stories from the backlog and identifies the tasks that may be needed to complete that user story. The sprint backlog should also include bug or issue fixes which are also broken down into tasks. It also shows which team member the task has been assigned to, the status of the task and the estimate in number of days to complete the task. The sprint backlog must be updated to reflect any new information that may be available as a result of change in the number of tasks.

Sprint Backlog Template:

Source: Sprint Backlog Template

Tips to make Your Sprint Backlog a great tool

  • Involve the whole team:

The entire team shares the ownership of the sprint backlog as each team member brings in a unique perspective and knowledge to the project. 

  • Create joint ownership:

This can be done by sharing decisions and ensuring that all team members are involved in planning and defining tasks for the sprint.

  • Have a definition of done:

Ensure that every item on the list has a definition of done, which comprises the acceptance criteria that have been defined by the team.

  • Cover all areas of work:

While development may take precedence among all other tasks, it is essential that the Sprint backlog covers all aspects of what is needed in the sprint including architecture, coding, UI/UX, testing, etc.

  • Update regularly:   

The Sprint backlog should be reviewed and updated on a daily basis during the Daily Scrum. The team updates tasks progress or tasks that need to be reprioritized or have some dependencies. Doing this helps the team to track progress and adjust their work accordingly to meet sprint goals.

  • Ensure high visibility: 

Agile software development is built on the foundations of transparency and this has to be reflected in all the artifacts including the sprint backlog. High visibility can be ensured by involving the entire team at the time of sprint backlog creation and allowing the entire team to have access of the sprint backlog. 

  • Avoid changes during sprint:   

Sprints are typically just 2 or 3 weeks long and making constant changes during this time will waste time and may even prevent the team from reaching the sprint goal. Which is why, the team should avoid making changes in the sprint backlog in terms of adding or removing stories when the sprint is underway.  

Difference between Sprint Backlog vs. Product Backlog  

Sprint BacklogProduct Backlog
A sprint backlog is the subset of the product backlog The product backlog is the single source that lists things that a team works on
It is an ordered list of items that a team targets to deliver during a sprint in order to attain the sprint goalIt is an ordered list of tasks that are needed to be completed to accomplish the final product
It is specific to the Sprint goal of the current sprintIt is specific to the overall goal of the project
Is owned by the developersIs owned by the Product Owner
Defines the sprint goalDefines the product goal
Consists of user stories that are broken down into tasks and estimated in terms of time takenConsists of high-level features that are broken down into user stories
A new sprint backlog is created for each new sprintThe same Product Backlog remains and is frequently updated and maintained till the final product is released
Is smaller in scope than the Product BacklogCovers the scope of the entire project
Ideally the sprint backlog should not be changed during the sprintThe Product Backlog is refined and modified as the project progresses
Only the Developers are allowed to change the Sprint Backlog during the SprintOnly the Product Owner can make changes to the product backlog. If the developers want to make changes, they must take permission from the Product Owner

What value does the Sprint Backlog add?

The Sprint backlog is among the most important Scrum artifacts, used by a team to enhance value during the course of the agile software product development. Decided at the start of each sprint, the backlog gives the team the opportunity to get together and decide the tasks that need to be completed in terms of priority and feasibility. It helps to keep the team honest in terms of how much work they pick up.

The team being empowered to pick up items and populate the sprint backlog, can ensure that members are not overloaded with work. Being a highly visible artifact, the sprint backlog also helps the team and everyone else involved gauge the progress of tasks and resources. 

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

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