A product backlog is a set of requirements received from business and formulated into development tasks.

If you face mismanagement and chaos in your product backlog, then it’s time to consider and implement the essential pieces of advice for optimizing your product backlog.

The article posted on 280Group company’s blog shares 10 tips on how to do it professionally. Here they are in brief:

1. Start with the end in mind

Clearly defined and validated product strategy will help to develop an appropriate product vision. Product strategy includes positioning, target customers, competitors’ analysis, market opportunities research, etc. Based on the strategy, the product manager and product owner should agree on a product vision that will guide prioritizing the backlog.

2. Keep the backlog manageable

Sometimes a backlog may contain hundreds of items. If the backlog includes too many items, it becomes difficult to manage and loses its transparency. The objective for the product manager is to work on maximizing outcome by keeping the backlog manageable.

3. Visualize a timeline

A structured timeline is a good way to visualize the overall product strategy. Today you may find many helpful tools for visualizing it.

4. Work on collaboration improving

Backlog management means consistent and frequent collaboration between product managers and the development team. Encourage your team to participate in backlog discussions, and ask questions.

5. Keep stakeholders updated

Product owners should always provide backlog transparency to all other stakeholders. This will allow them to review the latest updates, status and provide useful feedback.

6. Regularly arrange grooming meetings

Regular grooming or refinement meetings help to keep your product backlog healthy. This kind of meeting is critical as it increases the chances of creating a product that adds real value to the users.

Backlog grooming should be a permanent event based on in-depth analysis and clear action.

7. Look beyond user stories

Although user stories are key, they may not be enough. That’s why it’s worth to pay attention to the nonfunctional qualities of the product, user interaction, and the interfaces and try to represent them in the backlog.

8. Review timelines

Review them regularly. Changes may occur frequently, so try to update the timeline every 3 weeks to every 3 months, depending on your own release cycles.9.

9. Set priorities

Prioritization is the key point in backlog management and should be clearly aligned with the mutually agreed upon product vision and KPIs.

Available prioritization methodologies and any prioritization framework will assist you in ordering the ideas and plan iterations more easily.

10. Visualize backlog

There are many smart ready solutions for visualizing prioritization and product backlog management. Multifunctional product management software will alert you when the backlog is becoming too big. All you need is try some of them and make a choice!