Four Steps to Keep Your Product Backlog Small and Manageable

You should always strive to keep your product backlog small and manageable. With too many items on the product backlog, three problems arise:

First, it is harder to work with an excessively large product backlog. Time will be lost looking for items. (“I know it’s in here somewhere.”) Prioritizing the backlog will take longer. Duplicate items will appear as it will be easier to add an item “just in case” rather than be sure it’s not already listed.

Second, the development team barely notices any progress they make. A team that finishes 10 of 50 product backlog items can sense that they’ve made progress. A team that finishes the same 10 but out of 1,000 items will not feel the same sense of accomplishment. They will begin to wonder if it would matter if they had only gotten 9 done instead.

  • Delete Things You’ll Never Do
  • Keep Items You Aren’t Ready for Off the Product Backlog
  • Periodically Review the Product Backlog
  • Don’t Add Things Unless You Plan to Do Them Fairly Soon

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