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When to update the Product Backlog:

  • The Product Backlog will be initially filled in with the items defined during the Backlog Planning Sessions (These sessions define the tasks to be completed for the project, determine the priority of each task, and determine the effort and complexity of each task.).  
  • The Product Backlog will be updated as tasks are completed.
  • The Product Backlog will be updated after Backlog Grooming Sessions.  
    • Removing user stories that are no longer relevant
    • Creating new user stories, to document newly discovered needs
    • Reassessing the relative priorities of the user stories
    • Assigning estimates to user stories that haven't been estimated yet
    • Correcting estimates on user stories, due to additional information
    • Splitting up user stories that are too large to fit in the upcoming iteration

More detailed information about the Backlog and the Backlog Grooming Sessions can be found below in the References section.

Column Definitions:

  • Story Number - This could be a one up number, but this could also be a link to the tasks if they are in a software tool such as JIRA
  • Story Title - This could be the full user story or a succinct title to represent the story
  • Priority - Priorities can be done a number of different ways.  High, Medium, and Low can be used.  Also the MoSCoW method can be used.  This translates to Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, Would Have.
  • Assignee - The Point of Contact for the task.
  • Date Completed - The date the task has been completed.
  • Estimate - The estimate can also be represented in different ways.  It can be represented in time, hours, days, or weeks.  It can be represented in story points.  Story points indicate the effort and complexity of a task.
  • Estimate Left - If you are using the Product Backlog to maintain status of tasks, this column indicates the time left on the task.  Once the task is complete, this column would be filled in with zero.

At the bottom of the table.  There is a total.  This is the Total Estimate versus the Total Estimate Left.  This can help determine when the project will be complete.  By determining the teams average velocity for their previous sprints, you can estimate how many more sprints you need until you are complete.

More detailed information about Story Points and Velocity can be found below in the References section.


1 -  Backlog Grooming.  Agile Alliance.

2 -  Backlog.  Agile Alliance.

3 -  Story Points.  Agile Alliance.

4 -  Velocity.  Agile Alliance.


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