What is a product portfolio? What are your characteristics? How is it refined? (2023)

So far we have learned about the Scrum Team and Scrum Events. We understand that there are requirements that the team is working on, but do we know what all those requirements are? How do we make sure we are working on the correct requirements? In this tutorial we will discussProduct Backlog, which answers all questions about product requirements. We will cover the following topics:

  • What is a product portfolio?
    • What is a product portfolio?
    • Product Backlog Features
    • Refinement of the product portfolio
  • Product Portfolio FAQ

Was it a product backlog?

What is a product portfolio? What are your characteristics? How is it refined? (1)

The Product Backlog is a prioritized list of all the features we need in the product. It is a single source of truth for all product needs. The team should not work on anything that is not in the product portfolio. Heproduct owneris responsible for managing the backlog. The Product Backlog helps monitor progress toward goals. The backlog helps determine the remaining work, which is what we typically do at the end of each sprint.

What is a product portfolio?

The Product Backlog consists of Features, Change Requests, Defects, Technical Improvements, Proof of Concept, etc. Let's understand it with examples.

  • characteristics- As a customer, I would like to improve the login features for social media usage so that users can log in with their Facebook, Twitter, and Google accounts.
  • change requests- As an IT support executive, I would like to see the default sorting of support tickets changed from "Old" to "Priority" so that the highest priority tickets are displayed first.
  • defects- Fixed bug no. #123 in Jira to avoid banning customer accounts on the first invalid attempt.
  • technical improvements- Please update the system to Java 11 so that we can use all the features that Java 11 offers.
  • proof of concept- Explore the cloud capabilities of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud and perform a quick proof of concept to determine which cloud platform is best suited for your application.

As you can see, everything from new features to bugs to analytics to POC is part of the product portfolio. Ensures that there is nothing the Scrum Team needs to work on that is not on this list.

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Product Backlog Features

Now we know what constitutes a Product Backlog, but do you know what a good (of nations) Product Backlog? Let's review some features of the Product Backlog.

  • Detailed- Product backlog items should be detailed enough for the team to pick them up at thepique. But are all the articles detailed? NO !! The product roadmap is usually long term, e.g. B. six months, a year or even more. They do not expect all the details to be clarified. A product portfolio will always contain some high-level features that the product must have, but there is less clarity on this point. So what do we do? Well, the backlog items that need to be worked on right away (such as in upcoming sprints) need to be detailed enough, while those that need to be addressed later can be high level. The Product Owner is expected to have more details on these requirements at the time of collection..
  • Constantly- This may sound strange, but a product backlog is never complete. It evolves based on product needs and further feedback is available. For example, a new feature should be added based on a competitive analysis. Or an existing feature needs to be updated based on customer feedback. The Product Backlog is a living artifact that is constantly updated based on business needs, changing market conditions, or technology updates.
  • Estimated- Each item in the Product Backlog has an estimate made by the development team. The Product Owner uses this estimate to determine how long it will take to complete this functionality. It also helps you to get the priority of the pending item.

The accuracy of the estimate depends on how detailed the requirements are in the order book. The features for which we have more clarity are broken down into smaller parts (stories) and estimated at the story level. Elements that are not very clear are valued at a high level (usually at the level of an epic).

  • prioritized- Items in the product portfolio should be prioritized. Those at the top have the highest priority, those at the bottom have the lowest priority. Who determines this priority? The product owner! Most likely, the Product Owner does not have clarity and detailed requirements for all backlog items. However, one must properly prioritize the points that need to be picked up in the next sprints.

We usually have launches or phases of product development. For example, we could have four quarterly releases (each release has six sprints of 2 weeks each). In such cases, prioritization occurs first for the immediate release and then for the next release. There is no point in working on prioritizing Version 4 when prioritizing Version 2.

Refinement of the product portfolio

What is a product portfolio? What are your characteristics? How is it refined? (2)

We know that the Product Backlog must be detailed, continuous, estimated and prioritized. But how do we do that? And more importantly, when do we do it? How do you get time for this development team activity?

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This entire process is the refinement of the order book (a.k.a. cleaning up the backlog). The development team spends no more than 10% of the time refining the backlog. This effort is integrated into the overall effort of the sprint.

Who does the finishing?

Product refinement is managed by the Product Owner and supervised by theScrum Team(Scrum-Masterand the development team). Internal and external stakeholders will also receive an invitation if necessary. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and that there is a common understanding of the product requirements.

The development team helps the product owner to assess the points where there is sufficient clarity. The Product Owner will attempt to break major functionality into smaller parts as more details become available. This meeting will also address the prioritization of items for which details are available. However, the Product Owner is free to change this later.

When does product refinement take place?

HeScrum Guidenot in detail when product refinement should take place. What we do know is that the Product Backlog is a continuous item, which would mean that refinement should also be continuous. We also know that the development team should dedicate up to 10% of their time to this activity.

This means that planning for product refinement is left up to the Product Owner and the Scrum Team. He can configure it in the way that suits him best.

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Some teams prefer a long session, more like a multi-hour workshop. It works great when we need to invite external stakeholders who may not be regular attendees. On the other hand, it is also common for some teams to have shorter refinement sessions that are more frequent.

definition of ready

We know that the team needs to collect items from the backlog to work on during the sprint. How do we know which ones to choose? It is based on the priority of the backlog. But how do we ensure that the elements we choose contain enough detail?

This is done by setting the Product List elements as "List". When can we mark a backlog item as done? The following are some of the considerations:

  • The backlog has sufficiently detailed requirements and acceptance criteria (test descriptions) that demonstrate acceptance of the backlog.
  • Each non-functional requirement has a clear definition. This can include performance, security, operational requirements, etc.
  • The development team clearly understood the requirement.
  • The backlog item is small enough to be completed within the sprint. If not, it's always a good idea to break the pending item into smaller parts.

During theSprintplanungIn the meeting, the development team discusses the backlog items that are ready, and from that list, the team decides what we can include in the sprint.

It ensures that the team always has a clear list of what is being done on the backlog and this helps to have a common view of which backlog items need to be worked on during refinement. It's also important to note that, at any one time, the team should have enough backlog items to refine and organize into a "a list"Status. Otherwise, the team won't have enough work to do during the sprint. A healthy product backlog is one where backlog items in a ready state are sufficient for at least the next 2-3 sprints or more .

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Product Portfolio FAQ

Let's go over some of the most common questions people have about product backlog.

Can multiple teams work on a Product Backlog?

Yes, and it's a pretty typical scenario. We may have multiple Scrum teams working on a single product portfolio. When a product is of some importance and only the Scrum Team cannot do it, this often leads to the formation of multiple Scrum Teams. It is a more efficient way to handle products with a broader scope.

Typically, the team uses some sort of tags or other tool capabilities to determine what high-level functionality a team will select. Always a useful feature, epic (high level functionality) distribution among these teams. It ensures that the team does not interfere with the functionality of others.

Can a team work on multiple product portfolios?

An organization may work on a large product that may have multiple sub-products. For example, Microsoft Office suite is one product but it has several sub-products like Word, Excel, etc.

This means that Microsoft Office products will have multiple backlogs, one for each subproduct.

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In such cases, it is best to have only one team (or several teams) working on a portfolio of products. In this way, each team works on a single portfolio of products, which is much more efficient.

In rare cases, we may use some common components as licenses (which is common to all by-products) where a team may be working on multiple items in the product backlog. However, it is rare and we only recommend it if absolutely necessary.


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