Artifacts in Scrum Framework - agile

Artifacts in Scrum – Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Increment Backlog

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This is part 2 article of my scrum framework learning – if you have not read my previous article, please read it from here –Understanding the fundamentals of scrum in agile and waterfall model, which will help us to understand the fundamental of Scrum framework. In this article, I will explain and understand what are the various artifacts (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Increment Backlog) are used in the Scrum agile framework.

Scrum Artifacts

Below are the standard artifacts are available and used in the scrum framework:

  • Product Backlog
  • Sprint Backlog
  • Increment Backlog

What is Product Backlog?

The product backlog is a collection of worklist items that are generally maintained by the product owner – to make it simpler, it is the list or place in Visual Studio Team Service( VSTS) where the product owner or business people comes and write the new requirement as and when. The product owner we can think of as a to-do list that consists of work items, each produces a deliverable with business value. It is the first place where the initial requirement from the business is registered.

Few bullets we can write about the Product Backlog:

Understanding the product backlog list in scrum framework
Understanding the product backlog list in the scrum framework
  • The Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog, including its content, availability, and ordering.
  • The product backlog never ends- it is a continuous incremental list.
  • The product owner frequently visits the product backlog list in order to verify its content, ordering, and prioritizing worklist items.
  • An item in the product backlog list is valid or relevant today – it might not be valid or relevant after a month and so. For example – a customer has discussed a requirement with the product owner like they would like to create a sales order in SAP from SharePoint, and after discussion with the business accordingly, the product owner wrote this requirement in the product backlog list and set the priority accordingly, however, after a month once the product owner along with the team revisits product order list – it might be seen, the particular requirement is no more relevant or has the less priority. In this case, the product owner will lower the priority of that requirement or even might remove it from the backlog list.
  • Without the consent of the product owner, the scrum master and scrum team members are not allowed to add or change any items in the product backlog list. As the name implies – the primary responsible person for the product backlog list the product owner.
  • It is always best practice to refine the product backlog list to keep it more up to date – the product backlog refinement is the act of adding detail about the requirement, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog. This is an ongoing process in which the Product Owner and the Development Team (Scrum Team) collaborate with each other on the details of Product Backlog items.
  • During Product Backlog refinement, items are reviewed and revised.
  • Multiple Scrum Teams often work together on the same product, so in this case, multiple scrum teams might access the product backlog list. And also, depends on the product you are working on – it might be, there will be multiple product owners or scrum master for the same product.

What is the Sprint Backlog?

A sprint backlog is the specific list of requirements taken from the product backlog which are to be completed in a sprint. If we look at the above diagram for the product backlog explanation, we could see there are a couple of requirements in the product backlog list however, the sprint backlog is empty -so, how that could be filled up?

Understanding the sprint backlog list in scrum framework
Understanding the sprint backlog list in the scrum framework

The sprint backlog is filled up during the sprint planning meeting by pulling the item from the product backlog list one after another – blindly the product owner does not pull the worklist items from the product backlog list to the sprint backlog, it depends on the many factors.

What happens during the sprint planning meeting (to be more concise filling the sprint backlog)?

  • The product owner orders a certain number of worklist items from the product backlog list. Generally, the product owner does this before the sprint planning meeting.
  • The product owner calculates the average team velocity based on the last three, six (or a certain number) completed sprint. Then, he/she update the per day number of estimated hours for each team member –  for example, each team member in a team – estimated as they will work and burndown for 7 hours, and also team capacity will be updated if team or individual has any holiday in the capacity planning. Then the product owner will turn on the planning toggle in the product backlog list.
  • As per the above input or settings, a line will be drawn in the product backlog list automatically by the tool.
  • Now, the product owner will go throw each item from the product backlog list from the top order along with the scrum team member (development team) and scrum master where he/she will ask user story points for the worklist items to the development team and then the team will break the story points to into number tasks – this process will continue till we reach the estimated line drown by the tool.
  • Finally, all estimated work items (user stories and tasks) will be assigned to a sprint by the product owner. This is how a sprint backlog is updated by the product owner from the product backlog list.
  • The duration of a sprint backlog could be 2 to 4 weeks, it depends on the team size, work nature, and moreover the decision of the product owner.

What is the increment Backlog / Product Increments?

This is the last backlog and also known as product increments. As defined by the scrum guidelines, an increment is the sum of all product backlog items that have been completed since the last product release. It is up to the product owner to decide when an incremental version of the product can be released and it is the scrum team’s responsibility to make sure everything that is included in the increment should be ready to release. This process is also known as Potentially Shippable Increment (PSI). By the way, the incremental behavior of scrum fulfills that scrum is an iterative process.

The most important thing to deliver in product increment – is to have a common understanding of the “definition of done” which is understood and accepted by all.

Summary: What we had here?

Thus, in this article – we have learned about the 3 scrum artifacts (product backlogs, sprint backlog, and product increment backlog) and the best way to use them, we can summarize our learning from this tutorial as below:

  • What is Product Backlog?
  • What is the Sprint Backlog?
  • What is the increment Backlog / Product Increments?
  • What is the difference between the Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog in Scrum?

In our upcoming articles, we will write about various scrum roles and events (ceremonies) and how to calculate user story points during the sprint planning meeting.

See Also

You may also like the below Scrum Agile articles:

Hope you have enjoyed reading this article and helped you. If you like to appreciate our efforts, please do share this with your friends and colleagues. 🙂

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