Sprint Backlog

The Sprint Backlog is composed of the Sprint Goal (why), the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint (what), as well as an actionable plan for delivering the Increment (how).

The Sprint Backlog is a plan by and for the Developers. It is a highly visible, real-time picture of the work that the Developers plan to accomplish during the Sprint in order to achieve the Sprint Goal. Consequently, the Sprint Backlog is updated throughout the Sprint as more is learned. It should have enough detail that they can inspect their progress in the Daily Scrum.

Scrum Guide 2020, https://scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html#sprint-backlog

The Sprint Backlog is Owned By Developers

The Scrum team is cross-functional, meaning that it has all the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver the product. This allows the team to be self-organized, therefore deciding how to structure the work within the sprint.

However, the sprint backlog is constrained by the sprint goal decided with the Product Owner.

Sprint Backlog Structure

Teams at the beginning of their transition tend to use what they know and add tasks for analysis, programming, testing, deployment etc. to their sprint backlogs. This is perfectly fine, with the observation that it tends to split the team by role instead of encouraging collaboration.

As time passes by and teams improve their collaboration, they adopt practices that blur the lines between the different tasks. Pair programming, ensemble / mob programming, Behavior Driven Development specification sessions, automated testing, Test Driven Development, continuous integration, continuous deployment, deploying to user cohorts for A/B testing etc. change the structure of work. In advanced teams it becomes possible to work on a single user story (product backlog item) at a time as a team and finish it within one or more days.

For these teams, the sprint backlog doesn’t need additional tasks, just the product backlog items that fit within a sprint. The collaboration machine will spring into action and churn these items quickly and with speeds improving in time.

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