Allan Kelly: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog — Hands-on Agile 44
TL; DR: HoA #44: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog w/ Allan Kelly
In this energizing 44th Hands-on Agile session on product backlog management, Allan Kelly clarified one thing: The backlog was a great idea until it wasn’t. Many successful teams deliver backlog items daily, but their backlogs aren’t getting smaller. The never-ending backlog overshadows delivery success. Product discovery, dual-track agile, OKRs, etc., make it worse by accelerating backlog growth without taking any of the rotting items away.
Learn more about Allan’s remedy for oversized product backlogs in less than an hour.
📺 Watch the video now: Allan Kelly: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog — Hands-on Agile 44.
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The Product Backlog
The backlog was a great idea until it wasn’t. Many successful teams deliver backlog items daily, but their backlogs aren’t getting any smaller. The never-ending backlog overshadows delivery success. Product discovery, dual-track agile, OKRs, etc., make it worse by accelerating backlog growth without taking any of the rotting items away.
Worst of all, doing the backlog distracts from delivering benefits to the customers and responding to change. So what are we to do?
In this presentation, Allan “Nuke the backlog” Kelly suggests you rethink the very idea of the backlog and rebuild your agile process around outcomes. You have nothing to lose by your burn-down charts.
Watch the video of Allan Kelly’s talk on Product Backlog management now:
During the Q&A session, Allan answered the following questions from attendees:
- Would it help to distinguish: important, urgent, and what is “right or wrong”?
- When you throw away the backlog every three months, could you also switch product owners every three months?
- How to deal with bug fixes and the sorts?
- What about a forward estimation if stories are generated just in time? (Okay, this seems to be covered in the timeboxes thing?)
- Wide-narrow-wide: How to go “wide” to prepare for the next super cycle, _while_ still narrow on the current? For example, does UX research for the next thing while developers deliver the current?
- OKRs drive your backlog. So when you don’t have “right” OKRs, start there?
- Do you refer to OKRs in general or to OKRs as you define them in your OKR book?
- What about “BAU” work – all the maintenance, etc., which aren‘t part of a bigger goal but can‘t be just rejected and told to come back later, either?
(Please note that the questions have been slightly edited to improve legibility.)
Meet Allan Kelly
Allan Kelly advises and mentors managers and teams in using agile approaches and OKRs to accelerate delivery teams, meet deadlines, and execute against strategy. He believes these approaches benefit businesses and create more fulfilling work environments.
Allan is a keynote conference speaker and author of several books including Succeeding with OKRs in Agile, The Art of Agile Product Ownership and Business Patterns for Software Developers.
📺 Join 4,000-plus Agile Peers on Youtube
Now available on the Age-of-Product Youtube channel to improve learning and help your team on its path to outcome-based product planning:
- 🆕 Hands-on Agile 44: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog — Hands-on Agile 44 with Allan Kelly.
- 🆕 Hands-on Agile 43: Outcome-Based Product Planning with Jeff Gothelf.
- Hands-on Agile 42: Lean Roadmapping and OKRs with Janna Bastow.
- Hands-on Agile 38: The Product Owner with Roman Pichler.
📖 Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog — Related Posts
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27 Product Backlog and Refinement Anti-Patterns
A Forensic Product Backlog Analysis — Making Your Scrum Work
Liberating Structures for Scrum (3): The Product Backlog
15 Sprint Review Anti-Patterns Holding Back Scrum Teams
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