Engineering Backlog

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Short Description

Engineering backlog lists the tasks that are prioritized for the development team to execute in the next sprints. Some organizations use this term to present a backlog where the product owner breaks user stories or epics into specific engineering tasks. Similarly, some organizations use engineering backlog as a specific document that contains a list of defects and bugs in the product yet to be fixed. In short, you will find different definitions of engineering backlog in different agile organizations.

Engineering Backlog

When an agile backlog is well-prioritized, it not just ensures smoother planning of iteration and release but also empowers the team to set up a detailed outline of what it is doing to do next. Moreover, it also helps to set up expectations with other teams or stakeholders. You probably have heard about product backlog in agile, but what is engineering backlog? Let’s find out in this article.

What is Engineering Backlog?

A backlog presents a list of pending important tasks that should be completed in order to reach the targeted goal. Similarly, a product backlog is a prioritized list of tasks that are set up from the roadmap and should be executed orderly. Engineering backlog can be considered as a specific version of the product backlog.

Engineering backlog lists the tasks that are prioritized for the development team to execute in the next sprints. The product owner is the one that maintains an engineering backlog. But not every agile organization has the same meaning for engineering backlog.

Some organizations use engineering backlog as a place to monitor and prioritize ideas and suggestions around their products. Similarly, many other organizations use this term to present a backlog where the product owner breaks user stories or epics into specific engineering tasks. Moreover, many other organizations are found to use engineering backlog as a specific document that contains a list of defects and bugs in the product yet to be fixed.

Items in Engineering Backlog

As narrated above, engineering backlog has different definitions and applications in different agile organizations, so the items in it will also vary. However, the common items associated with engineering backlog include:

  1. Defects and bugs in the product.
  2. Prioritized to-do list for the engineering team in the next sprint.
  3. New user stories or amendments in existing ones.
  4. Suggestions for product enhancements by team members (engineers).
  5. Specific engineering tasks from user stories or epics.

Activities Involved in Maintaining Engineering Backlog

The product owner is the one who maintains the engineering backlog. The set of activities involved in maintaining the backlog include:

  • Ensure that backlog tasks/items are easy-to-understand, actionable, and provide a feasible development cycle timeframe.
  • Ensure that backlog tasks/items are arranged in a priority order throughout the development cycle.
  • Continuous review of backlog tasks/items with the product roadmap.
  • Inspect and remove all those tasks/items from the backlog that are no longer required due to any reason.
  • Ensure that the organization’s goals around the product are in line with the team’s present task plans.
  • Conduct frequent grooming sessions with the team around the engineering backlog to ensure that the lined-up tasks for the next sprints are clear to the team and well-prepared to be debated in the upcoming sprint planning session.
  • Refine, change, or update the backlog based on the suggestions from the team during the grooming session, such as adding more descriptions about the tasks/items, changing the priority of some tasks/items, increasing the completion timeframe, etc.

In all the above activities around the engineering backlog, the product owner will play the key role, while the development/engineering team will act as a contributor.

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