How to reduce the product backlog size?

Paseuth Thammavong, Mar 2021

In the daily life of IT department, productivity and high standards are two principles that guide project management within companies. To better meet these principles, it is important to have total visibility on how projects evolve. The backlog is a central part of this!

Filter upstream and make product backlog requests objective

This backlog will enable the evolution of the product roadmap to be visualized so that a project manager and all stakeholders of a project have visibility on the next features that will be developed. Therefore, it is imperative that the backlog is organized and prioritized objectively.
However, from the moment the first version of the business application is released into production (test or deployment), the number of requests, improvements and bugs reported by users considerably increases the size of the backlog. This is where the project manager must filter and organize the backlog based on different variables, such as the impact on the business, the capacity of the development team to resolve the request or the needs of the users.

Developer

But organizing or prioritizing the product backlog is often a headache for the project manager, given the number of requests received and the lack of objectivity associated with it. On complicated projects with a lot of features, it is sometimes very time-consuming to carry out the backlog exercise efficiently.

The main objective is to be productive and efficient in order to respond to user demand according to need: the most urgent or priority requests for users must be those developed first. Thus, applications with useful user features will be the most used, so it is essential to develop them as soon as possible to accelerate adoption.

But how to be productive and efficient?

  • By investing your resources more effectively in developing the most used and value-generating functionalities for your business.
  • By avoiding the reworking of features
  • By managing product risks as well as possible, thanks to communication between all teams.

How to prioritize your product backlog effectively?

Today, if we look at a project manager’s backlog, we can quickly see how complicated it is, particularly due to the number of tickets to be processed. The difficulty is increased when prioritizing each request. Indeed, the project manager does not have enough information to identify which request is more important than another. At WeLoop, we have identified several solutions for this.

1. A better qualification before sending to development

Qualifying each user request efficiently represents one of the biggest challenges for a project manager. The better a request is qualified, the more the project manager will be able to identify the most relevant requests and set aside the least relevant ones.

2. Avoid duplicates on the product backlog

A challenge for project managers / developers that sometimes doubles the number of requests in the backlog. The lack of communication between users does not allow them to exchange with each other on the requests already reported.

N.B: Thanks to WeLoop, all your users will be able to exchange instantly on the same request and evaluate its relevance without ever leaving their application!

3. Set up a fast and efficient communication channel between all teams

A direct communication between all teams allows to share more accurate and complete user stories (IT context, tags, screenshot, details on the request …) but also the status of the latter, so that each user has a view on the evolution of the processing of his request.

N.B : Our two-way connection with the management tools allows project managers to send complete user stories to the developers (IT context, tags, screenshot, all exchanges between users and with the PM …) but also to have an instant update of the status of each request directly on the PM backlog.

Conclusion: qualify feedback upstream and communicate effectively with your users

Reducing the size of your product backlog can increase productivity by developing only features and resolving incidents that are relevant or important to your users. Thus, the satisfaction of your user community greatly increases because their applications present expected and useful features. For this, a good upstream qualification is necessary and an efficient communication channel imperative!