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Team Backlog in SAFe

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

“When there are no backlogs it becomes easier to transform preferences.”

As stated if there is no backlog we can move forward by taking new tasks as there is no pending work remaining. In SAFe, at every step precaution is taken to ensure that every aspect is taken care of, and it includes backlog also. Backlog verification is done at all levels including team, program, solution, and even portfolio. In today’s article, we will learn about Team Backlog in SAFe.


Team Backlog encloses stories origin as of the program backlog and solution backlog from users and enablers. Also, it consists of stories raised from a team context. It also represents all the things required by a team for advancing their share of the system.

Team backlog is the product owners’ responsibility. They need to ensure the investments of conflicting needs are balanced as it consists of both user stories and enablers. They ensure the needs of ART and the team both.

Backlog includes some concepts as

  • It has a single owner ‘Product Owner’, which safeguards the team from many stakeholders.

  • It consists of all the things as there are all items it will get complete and still if not then it will never get complete.

  • It is a list of an item that what to be done and not the items we are committing to complete.

  • Every team member can add stories to it.

  • It contains stories that consist of results of Teams’ Iteration Retrospective.

There are various input sources for the team’s backlog such as:


  • Program Backlog

  • Team context includes

o Refractor

o Maintenance

o Technical departments

  • Other stakeholders

o Other team dependencies

o Other commitments

o Research

The team’s backlog in ART consists of stories that are related to other teams' work and PI objectives. The backlog consists of defects, refractors, new functionalities, research, and depts. This backlog supports feature estimation, capabilities, and epics.

Optimizing Value Delivery and System Health

“It’s not the plan to triumph that is important, but the planning of the backlog makes you win.”


Every agile team faces issues with managing the backlog similar to ARTs while maintaining the internal work. Teams have internal work such as maintenance, technical dept. and refractors etc. along with backlog. They always face problems in managing internal work as mentioned and backlog side by side which can be so challenging to complete along with daily tasks.

A short-lived solution for managing the work and backlog is to solely focus on business functionality. But it is considered a short-term solution as the weight of the slow development speed and increasing technical debt. will create a difference. Teams are continuously involved in bug and defect fixing and enhancement to keep customers happy and invest in evolving solution architectures as well to diminish it. By doing this team can avoid the necessity for complete replacement of the system because of technical uselessness.

Balancing work and backlog at once are challenging tasks for the product owners. To understand the scenario let’s say the product owner is busy prioritizing or comparing the values of unlike things as; defects, refractors, technology updates, redesigns, and fresh stories, etc. And there is no demand upper limit for any of them.

Similar to program backlog teams also have a capacity allocation to keep the time tag of total effort used for every activity. Product owners collaborate with their teams to prioritize the backlog items within each piece of capacity allocation to implement in iterations.

Refinement of Backlog

In the backlog of teams, there should be always some stories available for direct implementation without any risks or surprises. To achieve this level of backlog readiness team uses a flow-based approach i.e. having at least one refinement event of team backlog for each iteration. But one must keep in mind that the refinement event is continuous and should not be restricted to a single event timebox. If needed, teams can repeatedly visit the stories before finalizing and committing them for iterations. Because of this backlog refinement helps in surfacing the problems of current plans which can further be discussed in ART sync events.

“In business, prior clearance ensures forthcoming success.”

By making clear that all your previous mistakes and experiences are learned and works are done then there is no stopping back in the path of moving forward. Managing your backlogs is similar to managing your drawbacks once you conquer them they ascertain the wonders.

About Advance Agility

We, at Advance Agility, are the new-age Agile Coaching, Consulting and IT services company. We enable end-to-end Digital Transformation. Agile execution is integral to our being. We are doing SAFe implementation with small, medium and large organization across the globe. Our vision is to be the leading Agile execution player globally. To keep adding value at every process stage. We are on a mission to empower our clients, move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting human centric approach to business agility. Embracing the change is in our DNA. Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with End-to-end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitor.

Connect with us at to learn about SAFe and SAFe Implementation. Write to us at for any agile training or consulting needs. We are always looking for competent agile trainers as well. So if you are a good trainer or want to become one, do get in touch with us to that we can learn, grow and achieve together



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