This specialized to-do list keeps developers focused (2023)


A product backlog is an ordered list of tasks, features, or items that need to be completed as part of a larger product roadmap. With an effective product backlog, you can assign developers daily, weekly, or monthly tasks that target your end goals and help build a better product. Learn how to create a backlog, plus tips on prioritizing items in your backlog.

A product backlog is an ordered list of tasks, features, or items that need to be completed as part of a larger roadmap.

Product creation starts with an idea and it takes a dedicated team to create something special. Yes, even the iPhone was once just a prototype that rose to mainstream popularity thanks to the right equipment. When managing amixed timeFor developers, staying organized is crucial to product success.

So how can development teams stay organized and achieve their goals? With tested and provento-do lists. A product backlog is essentially a list of specialized tasks. It's an ordered list of tasks, features, or items that need to be completed as part of a larger product roadmap. If your team uses Agile methodology, a product backlog can help you break down projects and initiatives to determine which tasks are most important.

Read on to find out what a portfolio includes and how to create one for your team.

What is a product stack?

A product backlog is a prioritized list of work items or features that help you achieve product goals and set expectations across teams. In general, each product under development should have a dedicated product portfolio. Likewise, each product portfolio must have a dedicated project team.

Occasionally there are multiple backlogs with multiple teams working on a larger product. For example, let's take a look at the Adobe Creative Cloud package. Creative Cloud is a general product, with smaller products like Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects housed within it. Each of these smaller products would have its own product portfolio and designated development teams.

You create a backlog of products fromproduct roadmap, which explains the action plan for product evolution. Developers use tasks in the backlog to get the desired results as quickly as possible.

Create a Product Portfolio Template

Who Uses the Product Backlog

While any developer can use a product backlog, agile teams use them more often. In agile projects, teams spend their time creating deliverables and making adjustments as the project progresses. Due to the flexibility ofagile methodology, tasks in the product backlog are not set in stone, and you are not expected to complete each one. In addition, agile teams will regularly go through product backlog refinement to re-prioritize tasks as needed.

Read: Beginners Guide to Agile Methodologies

What's in a product portfolio?

A product backlog often includes features, bug fixes, technical debt, and knowledge acquisition. These product backlog items are distinct pieces of work that have yet to be delivered for a product.

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1. Resources (User Stories)

A function, also known asuser history, is a product feature that the product user finds valuable. Resources can be complex, often referred to asepics- or they can be simple. Creating a story map can help your team determine what the user needs most.

2. Bug fixes

Bug fixes are self-explanatory and must be addressed quickly by your Scrum Team to maintain product integrity. Some bugs might be significant enough to halt your team's current sprint, while others might wait for the next sprint. However, a general rule of thumb with bugs is to keep them at the top of the product backlog so your team doesn't forget about them.

3. Technical debts

technical debt, like financial debt, “earns interest” when ignored. When developers push technical work to the end of the product backlog, it swells and becomes harder to achieve. Effective backlog management can prevent the accumulation of technical debt. When your team stays organized and takes on technical work in smaller daily increments, you're less likely to attract interest in big work.

4. Acquisition of knowledge

In knowledge acquisition, you gather information to accomplish future tasks. Essentially, this is a research step. When you identify a feature that needs further investigation, you create a knowledge acquisition task, such as a prototype, experiment, orconcept proofto get the information you need to work on the feature.

4 steps to create a product portfolio

A product backlog is more than just a to-do list: it's where complex tasks are broken down into a series of steps anddelegatefor team members. Follow these four steps to develop an effective product backlog.

Create a Product Portfolio Template

1. Create a product roadmap

The product roadmap is the foundation for the product backlog. First, your team must create a roadmap, which will serve asaction planhow your product will change as it develops. The roadmap is the vision for long-term product development, but it can also evolve.

Read: Project roadmaps: what they are and why you need them

2. List the product portfolio items

With the product roadmap in mind, your team can start listing the product backlog items. These items should include high priority items and more abstract ideas. During this product backlog creation phase, you will also need to communicate withrelated partiesand listen to your ideas to improve the products. If you are using the Agile method, you can organize this conversation as part of yoursprint planningreunion.

3. Prioritize your backlog

Once your team has listed all the items in the product backlog, rank them andprioritize your most important tasks. You can identify the highest priority items by putting the customer first and considering which items provide the most value to you.

Read: How to solve problems using the Design Thinking process

4. Update regularly

As your team works on the product backlog, remember that it's a living document. You can continually add items to the backlog and prioritize or refine them as you work.

How to Prioritize Product Backlog Items

An essential component of managing the product backlog is prioritizing tasks. like himScrum Master, you must have a thorough understanding of the new features that stakeholders want to see in the product. Here are some strategies on how to prioritize your to-do list items.

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This specialized to-do list keeps developers focused (2)

Refine backlog items

Before you can prioritize, you must first define your issues. Add details such as description, size, and associated goals or metrics.

Organize tasks by urgency and importance.

By focusing onorder backlog refinement, try to organize tasks by urgency and importance. The team should prioritize the product portfolio items that improve the product's functionality as well as the user experience.

Read: How to prioritize your most important work

Tackle complex tasks first

Your team may be inclined to complete simple tasks first to remove them from the backlog and shorten the list, but this is a less efficient way toproject management. The product backlog will continue to grow, so tackling complex tasks first is often more effective.

Complete tasks in focused time sprints

Agile teams work in focused sprints to get work done, and this method is highly effective for productivity. At the end of each sprint, theproduct ownerand any stakeholder can participate in a sprint review with you and the development team to make sure everything is on track.

Read: Burndown chart: what it is and how to use it (with examples)

Communicate with your team

Communication between team is a crucial part of prioritizing the product portfolio. To successfully request the backlog and complete the items in a reasonable amount of time, you and your team must work together and follow the Scrum guidelines.

Read: 12 Tips for Effective Communication in the Workplace

Product accumulation example

The product backlog looks different between projects, but some start with an epic. Aepicit's a general problem you're trying to solve for a customer. Here is an example below:

Epic:As a marketing manager, I want a content management system that allows me to deliver quality content to my readers.

This epic can help you work on user stories, such as how a user creates content in their new system or how they edit and share content with their teams. To continue our product backlog example, we can break the epic down into more specific user stories.

Story 1:As a content creator, I want a content management system that allows me to create content so I can let customers know about our products.

Story 2:As a publisher, I want a content management system that allows me to review content before I publish it to make sure it's well-written and optimized for search.

The Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team will determine which features the product should include based on user stories and prioritize them based on importance.

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Features the product must include for Story 1:

  1. Log in to the content management system

  2. create content

  3. Edit a content page

  4. save changes

  5. Assign content to editor for review

As a product manager, you'll use epics to guide your product roadmap and backlog items. As you can see from this example, one epic can lead to multiple user stories and product features.

What are the benefits of a product backlog?

A product backlog helps your team run like a well-oiled machine, improving organization andcollaboration. It becomes the central communication tool and keeps everyone aligned on goals and expectations.

Since all work on a product flows through the backlog, the product backlog provides a basis foriteration planning. As your team prioritizes tasks with the Product Owner's guidance, they also determine how much work they can accomplish in a specific time frame. These blocks of time are called iterations or sprints.

The product backlog also promotes the development of agile teams, promoting a flexible and productive work environment. Product backlog tasks are not set in stone, and the team ranks them in order of importance before choosing which tasks to tackle first.

Read: Understand the iterative process, with examples

Sprint stack vs. Product backlog

Sprint backlogs and product backlogs are very similar in terms of their components. Sprint Backlogs are a subset of the Product Backlog, but are used specifically during sprints.

This specialized to-do list keeps developers focused (3)

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Here's another way to see the difference:

Product backlog:

  • Owner: Product owner

  • Data final: no course

  • Meta:Use the overall product goal to prioritize tasks

  • Flexibility:Very flexible, based on customer needs

Running stack:

  • Owner:Development team

  • Data final:When the sprint ends

  • Meta:short term goaldeveloped duringsprint planning

  • Flexibility:Less flexible when the sprint starts

Track your progress with a product portfolio

Getting a product across the finish line is easier when you have a well-organized product portfolio. Asana can help you manage Agile projects as efficiently as possible with modern Scrum software.

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Create a Product Portfolio Template


What are the benefits of a to-do list? ›

Below are some benefits of setting up a daily to-do list:
  • Increases productivity. ...
  • Provides motivation. ...
  • Improves memory. ...
  • Reduces stress. ...
  • Allows for more personal time. ...
  • Reduces anxiety and improves mental health. ...
  • Provides a sense of accomplishment. ...
  • Set deadlines for each goal.
Nov 5, 2021

What is a professional to-do list? ›

A to-do list is a great organizational tool that can help professionals visualize and plan what they need to accomplish. Professionals can use to-do lists to track daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly goals. Those who use a to-do list to keep track of their tasks may be more likely to accomplish their goals.

What is the main purpose of a task list? ›

A task list is a prioritized set of activities you (or your team) need to do to complete a project. A task list contains specific tasks assigned to a task and when the task needs to be done. Typically these lists are created at the start of a project.

What is the best way to manage multiple tasks? ›

Here are some ways to help you keep everything in check when working on multiple projects at the same time.
  1. Make a to-do list before you start your day. ...
  2. Determine urgent VS. ...
  3. Schedule time for interruptions. ...
  4. Create an email-free time of the day. ...
  5. Time-box your tasks. ...
  6. Upgrade your skillset. ...
  7. Invest in time management tools.

What are the different types of to do lists? ›

Weekly list – a list of tasks you will complete in one week. ”Done” List – A list of all the tasks that you have already completed. Daily 3T List – The three most important tasks for a specific day. Not-to-do list – A list that helps you stay focused and do tasks with the most impact.

What is a project to-do list called? ›

A task list — sometimes called a checklist or to-do list — is pretty much what it says on the tin: a list of tasks. They're created at the start of a project to outline all the tasks that need to be completed.

What is a to-do list called? ›

synonyms for to-do list. order of the day. agenda. calendar. docket.

What is it called when you have a list of things to do? ›

checklist. noun. a list of all the things you need to do or consider.

What is the purpose of task management? ›

Task management is the process of monitoring your project's tasks through their various stages from start to finish. This involves actively making decisions for your tasks to accommodate changes that can occur real-time, with your end goal being the successful completion of your tasks.

How does task list help you meet your objectives? ›

A to do list gives you a mental jolt to remind you what tasks you have to accomplish in your day. Many people see them as a tool for creating a shopping list for the grocery store but they can be a powerful tool in business. Task management is a to-do list with superpowers and far more suited to be business use.

What is a list and for what purpose is it used? ›

A list may be used for a variety of purposes, such as storing objects or removing and adding objects. So in order for the programmer to perform the various tasks for the list, the software should have enough storage to stay up with the changes made to the list.

What is the most important advantage of a task list? ›

Boosts Productivity

It removes the need to balance time taking tasks and allows you to easily prioritize your task list for increased task completion. By creating a visualized priority list, you can complete the most critical tasks first and increase the productivity of your entire team.

What is multitasking skills? ›

Multitasking is all about being able to quickly switch between high-focus tasks and organize your time and workload in a way that allows you to complete multiple tasks of different nature throughout the day.

How do I keep track of tasks for multiple projects? ›

The Gantt Chart is an effective way to manage multiple projects simultaneously. By breaking each project into its component tasks and assigning each task a start and end date, you can easily see which tasks need to be done first and which can be done in parallel.

What are the three categories of a to-do list? ›

(Note: For long-term to-do list items, consider sorting them into the following categories: tasks, projects, and habits.)

What are the three types of lists? ›

unordered list — used to group a set of related items in no particular order. ordered list — used to group a set of related items in a specific order. description list — used to display name/value pairs such as terms and definitions.

How do you keep track of daily tasks? ›

How do you keep track of your daily tasks?
  1. The date: keep the date at the top of your list. ...
  2. All the tasks for the day: be sure to include the most significant tasks for the day and be realistic about it. ...
  3. Meeting times: this is extremely useful info if you usually have several meetings throughout the day.
Jun 9, 2022

What is a project management to-do list? ›

A to-do list is simply a list of all of the tasks you need to complete during a particular period of time. For instance, at the beginning of the day, you might jot down on a sticky note all of the tasks you want to complete before the end of the day. That becomes your to-do list.

What is an activity list in project management? ›

An activity list is a document that includes all the scheduled activities that are part of a project. Each activity includes one or more tasks that, once completed, allows everyone working on the project to move on to the next stage. Each activity has a clearly defined start date and deadline.

What is a list of steps you follow to complete a task called? ›

An action plan is a checklist for the steps or tasks you need to complete in order to achieve the goals you have set.

What do you call an organized list? ›

A directory is a type of catalog, an organized list of people or businesses and how to contact them.

What is the difference between a task and a to-do list? ›

Unlike Tasks, To Do items are essentially a personal list of things to do that is accessed from the separate To Do section of Outlook. They are not included in the calendar. There are two ways to create a new item in the To Do list.

What is another word for to do something? ›

perform. verb. to complete an action or activity, especially a complicated one.

What is another word for list of items? ›

list, catalog, inventory, roll, schedule imply a definite arrangement of items.

What is it called when you do a lot of things? ›

versatile Add to list Share. versatilely. To describe a person or thing that can adapt to do many things or serve many functions, consider the adjective versatile.

What is bucket list with explanation? ›

What is a bucket list? Simply put, it is a collection of goals, dreams and aspirations that you would like to accomplish within your lifetime. The basic meaning of a bucket list is to keep track of your goals and to take steps to achieving these goals in order to maximize the incredible experiences in your life.

What are the differences between a planner and a to do list? ›

When to use Microsoft To Do vs. Microsoft Planner
To DoPlanner
Make daily to-do listsManage and schedule teamwork visually
Share specific lists with teammates and friendsUse charts to track progress
Collaborate across Planner, Teams, and Outlook using Microsoft Groups
1 more row

What is the best way to organize your planner? ›

Five tips for organizing your planner
  1. Set task priorities. Every day, take a few minutes to think about what's most important. ...
  2. Use Timeboxing. Timeboxing is a technique that can help you make the most of your time. ...
  3. Make it a habit. ...
  4. Schedule in buffer time. ...
  5. Be flexible.
Sep 28, 2022

How do I stop making so many to do lists? ›

Here's ten ways to keep things simple and help make sure your to-do list is working for you and not against you.
  1. Limit the quantity of tasks on your list. ...
  2. Give yourself a parking lot. ...
  3. Have a compelling reason for every action on your list. ...
  4. Turn it into a schedule. ...
  5. Think in terms of air, water, and food.
May 29, 2020


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