How to best track your product backlog
May 2, 2019
May 2, 2019
One of the primary challenges in product management is that all teams face limited resources and time constraints which requires a number of features to find a home in a product backlog. The product backlog then becomes your wish list of items that you can pull from to build out your product roadmap and improve your product. Depending on the size of your product, the actual management of your product backlog can be a challenge as you can range from dozens of features to hundreds of features sitting and waiting to be prioritized.
As your product backlog grows, product managers need a way to quickly find the most impactful features that can move the business forward. So how can a product manager keep track of a product backlog in a way that helps them easily mine it?
Here are some tips to improving your product backlog management process.
- Break your product into smaller buckets. When looking at your feature backlog, you need to be able to quickly sort your backlog to find items that make a difference and are related. As a result, it is a good practice to break your product into buckets, categories or modules whatever you want to call it so you can quickly only pull up features associated with a specific area of your product. When product managers work on their product roadmap often features are grouped to work on similar areas and improve the section at the same time. Using categories, tags or modules to group your features you can quickly find the product backlog items that are associated.
- Use rough timelines for your product backlog. While not a product roadmap officially, you can organize your product backlog into a now, soon and future concept so you can quickly see what should be worked into your product roadmap during the next planning session. You can use this approach at the same time as your buckets or modules so you can see all product features in your backlog that are within a specific area and you should work on it now so you can see the next up in the queue for your product roadmap. This approach helps make it really easy to manage your product backlog to not get overwhelmed with trying to figure out what to work next.
- Apply product feature prioritization methods. Managing your product backlog requires an effort in prioritization as well as organization. The first two recommendations on this list really focus on ways to organize your product backlog so that you can mine it quickly for your product roadmap planning. This recommendation focuses on how you prioritize your features within that organization. There are a number of ways to prioritize your product backlog from using the ICE scoring method, customer feedback, customer voting, strategic objectives or any number of ways for you to apply a point system to your features. By applying these methods to your product backlog you can consistently compare apples to apples to ensure you work on the most important product feature regardless of where the feature falls in your product.
Product management is a tough role which requires a great deal of organizational skills and customer communication skills to really understand the pain points they experience in your product and the product features that are needed to make it better. To track this, product managers need an effective way to prioritize their product backlog and ensure they are able to find the ideas when they are ready for them and not lose them buried in the backlog.