All for One Backlog, One Backlog for All

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

One of the important characteristics of Scrum is that there is one, and only one, backlog of work awaiting to be prioritized, developed and completed. Additionally, it is the Product Owner’s responsibility to understand, evaluate and select the individual backlog items that will be added to a current sprint or release. The Product Owner should take input from all stakeholders, including customers, team members, executives, current trends and other internal functions, but ultimately they are the final decisionmaker. This means while the development team can certainly express their opinions about what should be worked on, they can’t actually act on those opinions without the Product Owner's agreement.

This can lead to a feeling of disempowerment by the development team. While a high-performing team should be very collaborative, and allow all voices to be heard, the team may feel like the needs of the technology or the systems are not being supported, or perhaps even valued. This can cause the feeling of “Us vs. Them” which is the precise scenario that Scrum and Agile were meant to prevent. In fact, some organizations try to split the backlog between “product” and “tech” and sometimes give each their own product owner. This is the wrong way to solve this problem.

Splitting or separating the backlogs will only cause …

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