Get the App
Broearn Events > Details

What Is Backlog? How to Use it?

Updated 2023-07-27 16:38:25

The concept of a backlog is important in many disciplines, including project management, software development, and product planning. A backlog is a useful tool for teams that helps them prioritize activities, manage workloads, and complete projects on time. This article seeks to provide a thorough explanation of what a backlog is, what it serves, and its benefits.


What is a backlog?

A backlog is a dynamic list or repository of tasks, features, or user stories that must be finished within the scope of a project.


A backlog is a dynamic list or repository of tasks, features, or user stories that must be finished within the scope of a project. It functions as an orderly and prioritized inventory of work items, representing unfinished business. A backlog is a notion that is extensively used in project management, software development, and product planning to keep track of work and ensure its completion on schedule.


A backlog is a live object that evolves during the project lifecycle, not a static document. It is often maintained and controlled by the project team or product owner, and it acts as a point of contact for the project's requirements and deliverables. The backlog contains all of the work items required to complete the project's objectives. Tasks, features, bug fixes, enhancements, and any other units of labor that contribute to the project's progress are examples of these objects. Each item in the backlog is frequently stated as a user story or thorough explanation of the intended capability or outcome.


Understanding a Backlog

The phrase backlog is applied to show the existing workload that exceeds a firm's or department's production capacity, which is commonly used in construction or manufacturing. The presence of a backlog can have both beneficial and bad consequences. A growing backlog of goods orders, for example, could suggest increased sales. Companies, on the other hand, like to avoid having a backlog because it may indicate increased inefficiency in the production process. Similarly, a declining backlog may indicate lagging demand but may also indicate improved manufacturing efficiency. Unexpected backlogs, of course, can jeopardize predictions and production schedules.


Backlogs may also apply to firms that develop subscription-based products/services, such as SaaS (software-as-a-service) providers. In this situation, a backlog is not caused by the company's inability to satisfy demand, but by the fact that the time for performance or provision of the service has not yet been reached.


Backlog in Practice

For example, consider a business that offers customized T-shirts. It has the capability of printing 1,000 T-shirts every day. This amount of manufacturing is typically in accordance with the company's shirts demand, as it receives roughly 1,000 daily orders.


One month later, the company introduces a new T-shirt design that instantly becomes popular among college students. It is now receiving 2,000 orders per day, but its production capability is still 1,000 shirts per day. Because the company is receiving more orders than it can fill each day, its backlog grows by 1,000 shirts each day until production is raised to match the growing demand.


What is the Purpose of a backlog?

What is the Purpose of a backlog?


A backlog can serve various important tasks for a company.


Establish a single point of reference for the team's planned tasks

When a cross-functional team works from a product backlog, they never have to question what to work on next or in what order to prioritize their work. Instead, it represents an agreed-upon roadmap for the team's future steps.


Lead team discussions

Backlogs facilitate cross-functional team interactions. They assist the team in debating how to prioritize development on a project. Furthermore, they comprehend the interdependencies or conflicts that an item may cause, and so on.


Make it simpler to give tasks

When a product team meets to plan work for a future time, a product backlog makes assigning tasks to each member much easier. Because the functions have already been written down and prioritized, the team can assign the highest-priority items to the most suitable members of the group.


Backlog in Agile Management

Backlog is usually use in Agile Management.


The backlog is arranged into multiple sorts of items in Agile management to capture various components of the project. Here are four categories of backlog items commonly used in Agile management:



A feature or epic is a high-level need or a substantial piece of functionality that adds value to the end-user or customer. Epics have a broader scope than user stories and frequently need to be broken down into smaller, actionable pieces. They act as placeholders for larger themes or aims, providing a comprehensive view of the project's capabilities. Epics are often prioritized in the product backlog and revised and divided into smaller user stories during product backlog refinement sessions or sprint planning.


User Story

User stories are brief descriptions of certain functionality or features as seen through the eyes of an end-user or customer. They are written to capture the functionality's value and desired outcome. User stories have a narrower scope than epics and may be completed in a single sprint. They serve as the development team's principal units of work, giving explicit objectives and requirements to guide the implementation process.



A bug or defect backlog item signifies an issue or problem in the software or product that must be resolved. Bugs may be reported by stakeholders or customers, or they may be discovered during the development process. They are used to describe deviations from expected behavior or quality requirements. Backlog items are prioritized based on their influence on the functionality of the product, severity, and user input. They are addressed by the development team during sprint execution or as part of specific bug-fixing sprints.



A spike is a backlog item that is used to study, research, or explore a specific technical or design difficulty. It is an experimental task that seeks to gather further information, examine several choices, or prototype a solution before committing to implementation. Spikes are timed events with a specified aim, such as testing a new technology, investigating a hard subject, or confirming an architectural approach. They assist the team in gaining insights and making informed decisions before to beginning actual implementation work.


All of these large backlog items—epics/features, user stories, bugs/defects, and spikes—contribute to the entire product backlog and provide a comprehensive view of the work that must be completed. They are constantly improved, prioritized, and allocated to sprints in order to steer the development process and assure customer value delivery.


Benefits of backlog

5 Benefits of Backlog


When used successfully, the backlog provides various advantages for project management, software development, and product planning. Here are several advantages of keeping a backlog:


Prioritization and Focus

The product backlog aids in the prioritization of work items based on their importance, urgency, and dependencies. It guarantees that the most important and useful activities are completed first, letting teams concentrate their efforts on the most crucial areas of the project. Prioritization helps to optimize the project's impact and ensures that resources are used efficiently.


Transparency and visibility

The product backlog provides visibility into the scope, objectives, and planned work of the project. It acts as a central source of data that can be shared with stakeholders, team members, and clients. By keeping a visible product backlog, everyone engaged can see what is planned, what is presently being worked on, and what is pending. This transparency encourages team members and stakeholders to communicate, collaborate, and align.


Adaptability and Flexibility

Backlogs enable project performance with flexibility and adaptability. Existing activities can be reprioritized, added, or removed from the product backlog when new requirements emerge or priorities shift. Because the product backlog is dynamic, teams can adjust to changing needs, market situations, and stakeholder feedback. It guarantees that the project stays on track with developing goals and allows for ongoing improvement.


Efficient Resource Allocation

By giving a visual representation of pending, ongoing, and completed tasks, the product backlog assists teams in managing their workload. It allows team members to see their assigned tasks and burden, which allows for better resource allocation. The backlog prevents resource overload or underutilization by ensuring that work is divided fairly and completed within the project's schedule.


Collaboration and Team Engagement

The product backlog encourages team members to collaborate and engage with one another. It serves as a mutual reference point for talks, decision-making, and problem-solving. Team members can help improve the product backlog, estimate it, and prioritize work, which encourages a sense of ownership and responsibility. Collaboration around the product backlog ensures that the different perspectives and experiences of the team are used to drive project success.



Finally, a product backlog is a dynamic and organized repository of tasks, features, or user stories that must be completed within the scope of a project. It's a key tool for project management, software development, and product planning. Prioritization and focus, transparency, and visibility, adaptability and flexibility, efficient resource allocation, cooperation, and team engagement are several advantages of having a product backlog.


In conclusion, a well-managed backlog improves project management, develops effective teamwork, and increases the likelihood of delivering high-quality results on schedule. It is a valuable tool for successful project execution across multiple domains, allowing teams to prioritize, plan, and complete work in an open, flexible, and efficient manner.