Backlog Management

Purpose:

The backlog is used to record, track, and prioritize remaining work items.

Description:

A backlog occurs when the volume of work items to be completed exceeds the capacity to complete them.
Backlog management refers to the planned approach to determine:

  • what work items should be formally included in the backlog,
  • how to describe the work items,
  • how the work items should be tracked,
  • how the work items should be periodically reviewed and prioritized in
    relation to all other items in the backlog,
  • how the work items are eventually selected to be worked on, and
  • how the work items are eventually removed from the backlog.

In a managed backlog, the items at the top have the highest business value and the highest priority. These are normally the next items to be selected to be worked on.

Periodic review of the entire backlog should occur because changes in stakeholder needs and priorities may necessitate changes to the priority of some of the backlog items. In many environments, the backlog is reviewed at planned intervals.

The changes to the number of items in the backlog are regularly monitored. The root causes for these changes are investigated: a growing backlog could indicate an increase in demand or a drop in productivity; a declining backlog could indicate a drop in demand or improvements in the production process.

There may be more than one backlog. For example, one backlog may be used to manage a global set of items, while a second backlog may be used to manage the items that are due to be worked on within the very near future.

Elements:
Usage Considerations:

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