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How to ensure that Scrum Backlog Management is ensured, to ensure that the team is on the path of success

The success of projects where the development methodology is Scrum depends on many factors. One of the major factors controlling that governs whether the project is a success seems very obvious, but it is necessary to call this out – this factor is that of ensuring that the application development is on progress and the desired features are getting built, or you can call it ‘backlog management’, since backlog is the process used in Scrum to capture all the feature requirements and space them over a period of time (called the Sprint cycles).
Now, in Scrum, the concept is that you would define tasks to be done in every Sprint cycle, and at the end of the Sprint cycle, you take a check of whether all the desired tasks have been done. If you are doing all your tasks, then everything is fine, and you are meeting your backlog management needs. However, in a lot of Sprint cycles, you will find something or the other is not fully done, and over the period of the cycle, you will run into many instances of the following problems:
– The features don’t get totally completed, instead, there is always something or the other that was pending to be completed
– Even at the end of the Sprint Cycle, the initial set of tasks don’t really get completed
– Features that need to skip from one Sprint cycle to another because sizable portions have not been completed in the current cycle
– A feature has been marked done, and also a demo has been done at the end of the Sprint cycle, and then it is found that the feature or task needs to be re-opened since there is additional work to be done
– Dependencies between features is causing some features to be waiting for other features to be done, and till that time, these features remain open (with little clarity about when they will be marked to be started)
– Ideally, a project backlog containing the overall set of requirements is supposed to be reducing in terms of overall requirements during the time that several Sprint cycles are happening; if this is not the case, it is a serious problem
– If some or all of these conditions are found to happen during the course of the Scrum process, then there are significant problems with the implementation of the Scrum processes, specifically the issue of Backlog management.
When backlog management is an issue during a Scrum cycle, it has multiple impacts. External stakeholders start to believe that the team is not making progress, and if Scrum has been implemented recently, then part of the blame falls on the Scrum process and leads to a reduction in the support of the Scrum process by the stakeholders. Equally critically, the product owners (representing the Product Management) do not really get a comfortable feeling that feature implementation is happening and that their goal of ensuring that the product / application has enough important features at the end of the entire Product cycle is met.
How do you address this ? First of all, you need to take a cold look at your current process and determine whether your product development is facing similar issues.
How to handle such issues will be covered in the next post..

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