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Tips for Backlog Management in SAFe

Updated: Apr 13

“There are no big problems; there are just a lot of small problems.”


When dealing with the product backlog management, lot many small problems arise making the management of prioritization and product backlog an issue. As we know agile backlog is a list of bugs, features, knowledge acquisition, and technical work that is needed to meet the required functionality of the product. That makes the backlog a roadmap of the product. This makes backlog management an important part of agile.


The oversized product backlog list is most of the time problem for a team. This oversizing causes frustration in a team increases time to market and impedes innovation. In agile products, the backlog is the main tool in managing the roadmap and gaining predictability but if it goes uncontrolled it leads to diminishing value. A long product backlog is most of the time a major pain point for the teams. As they become more unmanageable and irrelevant. Teams further avoid addressing them and abandoning those, leading teams to lose long-term goal focus and only become task-oriented team. In this article, we will learn some of the challenges in agile backlog management and techniques to handle them efficiently.


Backlog management in SAFe


Challenges of Overlarge Product Backlog

Hoarding- We as human always has a hard time removing or throwing away anything or ideas. They always try to keep on keeping them along even knowing it’s useless. So to manage the product backlog they must be well aware of it and know what should go out more than deciding on what should go in.


Information- There is a belief that keeping minute track of things will provide a better idea of the scope but the more important is to respond to change in an agile. Thus ensuring that granularity in tracking will reflect it. So there should be a detailed and described solution to a problem where all the necessary information is available and not the useless and unwanted.


Product Owners' time management- Many organizations have few product owners so as per the team size hence have less time for a product owner to manage the backlog. The responsibilities of product owners have a lot many tasks than the time they have so the product owner role should not be taken lightly.


Dependency- To be agile and resolve dependencies in the far future we divide responsibilities into tasks that are not completely value-driven and create a backlog balloon.


Techniques for Improving Backlog Management

As many issues arise due to a large product backlog and it’s hard to manage, having a lean backlog for better functioning of an agile project becomes a necessity. Here are some of the techniques to get a lean backlog and better management for the project.


Product Owner must be clear in their duties

The product owner is the person who decides which task will become product backlog items and also on the priority. So product owners must be clear about their duty and what they are expected to do. They must be sure to provide enough time in prioritizing and managing the backlog items. They must be aware of their duties, team, and project requirements while interacting with stakeholders and teams.



Limit design

To manage product backlog it is necessary to have a set limit for items to be included in the product backlog. The capacity of items in a product backlog must depend on the product owner's capacity of administrating the information. Design in progress must also be considered while setting the limit to avoid pipeline planning for a longer time and constrain innovation.


Decide on a way of managing the backlog

While starting the backlog first of all decide how you will manage the product backlog and be prepared with a simple and clear strategy. It is also advisable to involve the team in this process. Even though the responsibility of a product backlog is on the product owner but the team is also important in contributing to acquiring the results. So everyone must have a rough idea of the product backlog.


Make your own decision

Restrain yourself from entering every idea come up with. Have a thorough thought on the idea you come up with and then proceed with the decision. Once made the decisions and rules on your own be sure that you follow them and avoid bypassing them. To ensure this doesn’t be too strict with decisions and rules you make, firstly go for only some of the needful once.


“A key to achieving success is to assembling strong and stable management.”

When product backlog is managed successfully it will also ensure a step closer to your bigger goal.



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 advanceagility.com to learn about SAFe and SAFe Implementation. We provide various SAFe certification courses along with DevOps, Scrum, Agile Coaching and more trainings. Write to us at contact@advanceagilty.com 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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