Product Backlog without u.w.e. – Convidius
2022

Product Backlog without u.w.e.

Within agile project management, Product Backlog refers to a prioritised list of functionalities. It is considered an “artefact” within Scrum. The regular prioritisation of the Backlog is done in Refinement. In the Refinement, the Product Owner presents the User Stories to the development team for the next Sprint(s). The team and the product owner talk about the respective user story until the team can officially say “we understand”. Only then does the story go into planning and can be included in the Sprint Backlog.

Refinement is like drinking beer: if the crown and the first sips still taste excellent and refreshing, over time the beer warms up, the carbonation dissipates and the rest becomes stale. In the product backlog, such “stale” user stories also arise over the course of the project or product development. Stories that have not been given priority for a long time or have always been too unclear. In very few cases, however, does the team and the product owner have the courage to part with these stories, i.e. to delete them. It could be that they are needed again. These stories are used etc. At each refinement they are briefly taken up and then discarded again. So there can be a sediment in the backlog that makes the refinements inefficient and misrepresents the value of the backlog.

Be bold. Leave u.w.e stories behind. If they are really needed, they will automatically emerge from stakeholder requirements and go back into the backlog. Allow yourself to delete all stories that have been in the backlog for more than 6 months at a sprint length of 4 weeks without moving into a sprint. Use the indexing of tracking tools such as Jira. If you discuss stories with three or four-digit task numbers in the refinement and come across 2-digit ones, you can be sure: this is u.w.e.