What is backlog correction and what is it for?
What is backlog correction and what is it for? Agile project management is a technique that can help you lead your team effectively. This technique includes a variety of tools for managing continuous deliveries, including organizing tasks or items into a backlog. To improve performance, you can review and update this backlog; A process called backlog modification.
In this article, we’ll talk about backlog correction, its benefits and features, who’s responsible for the process, and some best practices for doing it.
What is backlog correction?
Backlog refinement is when a product manager reviews the items in his backlog to discuss their importance and rank them according to priority. The backlog is the list of items that have not yet been completed by the project team. Product managers constantly make this correction to update the tasks and priorities of the items and to coordinate with their team on what items they can work on and in what order.
Backlog correction is an essential part of agile project management. This style focuses on delivering aspects of the project incrementally throughout the project life cycle, rather than waiting until the deadline. Backlog correction helps the deliverables cycle by frequently updating items and prioritizing them in the project so you can consistently produce quality deliverables.
Benefits of backlog correction
Here are some of the benefits of backlog modification:
Re-establishes the organization
Backlog modification allows you to stay organized throughout the project. Depending on your project, team members may add or edit items during the project, which can lead to confusion and clutter. A modification backlog allows you to review these edits and updates to standardize them, reassess their importance, and create a ranking system that determines which items are prioritized. Organizing backlogs by holding periodic backlog revision sessions can help you maintain control of the project and keep it within scope.
Backlog modification allows you to reassess your priorities and align your action plan with the team. With an organized backlog, you can eliminate duplicates and correct messy instructions. You can also prioritize things with your team and eliminate confusion and save on unnecessary tasks. With a clean and streamlined backlog, you can hold your planning meetings, provide client updates, and manage individual cases with a sense of clarity and purpose.
In a project involving different team members, it is essential to maintain clear and consistent communication. Hosting backlog revision sessions provides an opportunity for the entire team to discuss their expectations of tasks and share any updates. Holding a meeting on priorities also ensures that everyone receives the same information. This opportunity for clear communication minimizes confusion and aligns the entire team with expectations and deadlines.
Focuses on progress
Constantly refining backlogs keeps you and your team focused on progress. While completing items and producing deliverables during the agile project management process, you can remove irrelevant items from your backlog and focus on creating a plan to move the project forward. Communicating this goal to the team through backlog revision sessions helps everyone consider what’s next and builds momentum for the team and the project.
The difference between backlog correction and sprint planning
Sprint planning and backlog modification are both essential parts of agile product planning. They help product managers, teams, and product owners or customers align their expectations for upcoming tasks. They both motivate the organization and build a team to complete their projects efficiently. As a product manager, you use backlog refinement and sprint planning to reassess your progress and plan for the future.
The difference is in focus. A sprint is a specific period (such as a quarter or a month) to complete a set of project tasks. De-sprinting creates urgency and helps you measure progress more regularly. During a sprint planning meeting, you can assign tasks and deadlines to specific team members and discuss an upcoming period. Backlog modification, meanwhile, focuses on fixing items you might assign during the sprint. You can gather feedback on your backlogs in a refinement session, but you focus on reviewing the details of the items to prepare for a sprint planning session.
Who is responsible for the backlog correction process?
The product manager is responsible for the backlog modification process. He decides what the team needs to complete and sets priorities. Product managers are the best choice because they are more familiar with the scope of the project. They communicate with all team members, vendors, and customers to break the project down into smaller items. Periodically, the product manager can review the items he has created and lead backlog refinement sessions with the team to get feedback and assign new roles.
Who participates in the backlog modification sessions?
The team working on the project participates in the backlog modification sessions. Team members provide insight into how long cases might take and share the progress they’ve made. Who is on the team depends on the industry, but teams typically have employees who work in development, customer support, production, and quality assurance.
Product owners and customers can also attend these meetings to ask questions or receive updates on progress. It can be helpful for the team’s product manager to receive any updates or changes that the owner or customer wants to make in advance so that he can review them during the backlog refinement session. He can then reassess the backlog and factor in any changes to the timeline.
5 characteristics of backlog items
Backlog items are ideas that can add value to the product. Product managers convert these into items, then prioritize and assign them to team members. A backlog item should have these five characteristics:
There are different types of items you can add to your backlog depending on your product needs. These types are:
- Feature (User Story): A feature is an element or capability you want to add to a product or service. These features can be big or small changes, but they must address the customer’s needs.
- Modification: Modification refers to a modification or improvement that you want to make to an existing product feature. Customers may request these items after receipt of the previous deliverables.
- Defect: A defect refers to a problem with a feature you’ve already delivered that has specific acceptance criteria. If there are no criteria that the customer sets for fixing the defect, it is a change.
- Technical Debt: Technical debt is a small defect that you accept to release the product as planned. Since this is a low-priority item, teams can wait until a more convenient time to fix it.
- Technical Spike: Technical spike is a feature that needs further investigation before you can estimate time or effort. A technical spike refers to the intention to conduct research.
When creating an item, make sure it’s specific enough to be actionable by the relevant members of your team. List all aspects of the item to avoid confusion. The more specific you are, the closer the final delivery can be to what the customer envisioned. For example, let’s say a company is designing a calendar app, and in its backlog, there’s a feature item about each event that prompts users to share it with their friends. This can include when you want the notification to appear, what sharing options you want to offer, and visual resources for the layout.
Every item in your backlog is valuable to the customer. Identifying this value can help you prioritize it. Only valuable backlog items can help you stay focused on improving your product and remove distractions from the process. Determining the value of each item can also help you make items more special. For example, if a calendar app has shareable events, links can encourage new users to download the app, which is valuable to the customer. A change item to update the color theme of shareable links has no added value and is of low priority.
When you create an item, estimate how much time your team will need to complete it. Estimates are important when discussing priorities, determining workloads, and communicating expectations to the client. They can also affect how much you pay for the entire project. If you can’t determine an estimate for the item without research, you can create a technical spike, which is a low-priority item that tells your team how long it will take and how many resources it might require.
For each item, set a priority so your team knows what to work on first. These are the main priority levels:
- High-priority items: These items add significant value to the product and may be time sensitive.
- Medium priority items: These items may require backlog or detail refinement to add additional value.
- Low-priority items: These items do not have a strong connection to product value and your team can handle them at the appropriate time.
You can add higher-priority items to the next sprint, which is a regularly scheduled cycle of productivity. Adding items to a future sprint ensures that the team is working on them with urgency and that deliverables may be available soon.
Best practices for backlog correction
Here are some ways to make sure your backlog fix is effective:
Having DEEP items means that each item is appropriately Detailed, Estimated, Emergent, and Prioritized:
- Appropriately detailed: Ensure your items are detailed enough for team members to understand how to complete their assignments.
- Estimated: Each time you create a new item, estimate the time and resources it will require.
- Reader: New information or additions have linked the item.
- Prioritized: Each item has a priority that determines its importance to the project and the client.
Dependencies are information or activities that your team needs before they can perform certain tasks. For example, if a team member can’t complete a task until he asks a customer a question, his case has a dependency. Identifying dependencies can help you resource your team before they get in the way of completing tasks on time.
Here are the types of dependencies:
- Requirements: This dependency occurs when the requirements of the item need further clarification before the team can start working on it.
- Expertise: Relying on expertise is when the team has a question from someone with expertise in a particular area. The team cannot move forward until the expert answers.
- Activity: When your team cannot complete an item until someone else completes an external item, this is an activity dependency.
- Business Process: This dependency occurs when a business process, such as compliance reviews or approvals, prevents your team from moving forward on a case.
- Technical: This is a technical dependency when your team needs a technical change to the product that is not within their scope of authority.
3- Keep customers in mind
When working on a project, focus on its value to the customer. The project provides a service or product that can benefit customers. Remembering this principle can measure specific value for each item you review and help you add features that are customer-centric and prioritize based on customer interests.
Backlog modification is when the product owner and some or all other team members review the items in the backlog to ensure that the backlog contains the right items, is prioritized, and that the items at the top of the backlog list are ready for delivery.
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