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What Is Sprint Backlog In Scrum

Sprint Backlog is the list of backlog items selected for this sprint, It contains all the functionalities which are planned to be completed within this sprint. The team takes input from the Product owner and prioritizes it accordingly in order to make development ready by taking required details about each user story like user story points, epics etc.

What are the contents of the sprint backlog?

Following are the elements that are generally included in the sprint backlog. Backlog items already prioritized by Product owner estimate user stories based on the relative size of each user storyIncrease/Decrease velocity Product Backlog User Story Epic PBIs Open/Closed tickets New Features Bugs Functionalities to be included in the product backlog grooming

Long-term and short-term release planning will be done based on these backlog items.

How was the sprint backlog created?

A user story is broken down into tasks by team members who are assigned individual tasks. Which they complete during the sprint. These tasks with the expected time duration are added to the sprint backlog. The time duration of each task is estimated and recorded in the sprint backlog to track and maintain the progress of work.

The tasks are added with the assigned user story, its description, points assigned to it, expected delivery date, and actual delivery date.

Sprint Backlog: Sprint backlog contains all tasks which were committed during a sprint. These committed tasks are assigned to individual team members who are responsible for these tasks.

What is the definition of “story point”?

Story points are defined as an abstract measure of effort applied by one person on an ordered scale, typically used in Agile software development methodologies. In Scrum methodology, a user story is sized into story points as follows:

  • A half-point if the task might take up to two days
  • One point if the task will take from two to four days
  • Two points if the task will take from five to nine days
  • Four points if it might take more than nine days or doesn’t fit into a sprint because it requires multiple sprints. Thus a product backlog item will be typically sized as follows:
  • 1, 2, 4 or 8 points.

In Scrum methodology, a fixed-length sprint is defined. In this sprint, a team commits to the work it plans to achieve during that time frame and delivers these tasks by the end of it. The sum of all story points completed must equal the total story point value of all user stories committed to in a given sprint.

How are Story Points used?

Story points are only meaningful when they’re being used to measure how much effort a task takes relative to other tasks or a common unit of estimation such as ideal days (also known as “man-days”). This allows for determinations on how many people would be required (if one had them available) for a task to be completed, and whether the team members’ time should be allocated towards an alternate task or not.

How do we record Story Points?

Story points are recorded using a simple 1-to-N size estimate scale. That is, there is no upper or lower limit and no “half points” (and never will be). The number of story points assigned to a given user story represents the team’s best guess at how much effort it will take them to implement that feature. The more accurate your estimates, the better your overall velocity. So try not to get too hung up on getting these perfect. Or as one seasoned team put it: “Estimate with Fibonacci rather than precision.” It’s easy to see why—the Fibonacci sequence 1,2,3,5,8,13… is a great numerical pattern for sizing estimations. It’s just better at quickly getting us to the ballpark range than other percent-based estimation systems (e.g., 25%, 50%, 100%).

What if the team underestimates story points?

It’s called “Estimation Drift”. If your velocity comes in lower than expected for two consecutive sprints. You’ll want to re-estimate the user stories that make up that velocity and adjust their size accordingly. If you find yourself doing this often enough. It means your team probably doesn’t have a good grasp of how much time each task really takes to complete. And if they don’t have a firm understanding of the tasks they’re working on it’s going to be increasingly difficult for them to not only plan. But complete work during sprint planning meetings.

What if the team overestimates story points?

Then you’ll likely want to re-estimate your user stories as well and adjust their size accordingly. Overestimating velocity can also lead to problems. If it happens in one sprint, you might see a spike in productivity the next sprint. If it becomes a repeating pattern, however, your team might be setting itself up for failure with unrealistic expectations. Additionally, overextending yourself is a common mistake made by agile teams. That use per-sprint commitments as an indicator of their ability to deliver completed work at the end of each sprint.

My team has too much work to do and we can’t decide what to start with or delegate.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s usually a good idea (if possible) to either

1) delegate some of your low-priority stories

2) stop working on lower-priority stories and instead focus on finishing the highest priority ones

3) adjust your team’s velocity estimate (i.e., make all estimates larger)

4) add additional resources (i.e., people).


Neel Alurkar has the professional experience in product management. He has love of writing and storytelling & also passionate about, and experienced in product management and Saas products.
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