Product Backlog

A well-organized and regularly groomed backlog is essential for keeping engineering and product teams efficient and ensuring everyone’s priorities are in sync. Along with making planning and iterating easier, a product backlog gives stakeholders visibility into the tasks your product development team intends to work on for better alignment of expectations.

What is a Product Backlog?

A product backlog is a list of tasks your product and development teams plan to implement as part of a project or to further product development as defined by a product roadmap. Like a to-do list, a product backlog serves as a single source of information (work to be done) for an organization to ensure they are working on the most important or valuable features, bug fixes, or other critical work to promote the growth of the organization. 

Product backlogs may look different from company to company, but they commonly include the following type of tasks encompassing:

  • New features (which could be in the form of user stories)
  • Improvements to existing functionalities
  • Infrastructure updates
  • Bug fixes
  • Technical debt and refactoring

Depending on the size and structure of your organization, you may have multiple product backlogs. 

It is important to note that product backlogs are often regarded as living documents meant to be reorganized and reassessed as new needs arise, and priorities shift. 

How are Product Backlogs different from Product Roadmaps?

Both a product roadmap and product backlog are vital to product development. A roadmap tells teams where the product aspires to go, and the backlog lists the work needed to get there. It helps to think of a product roadmap as the “Why” and the product backlog as the “How” behind product development.

A product roadmap should convey a plan of action for achieving short and long-term goals and the tactics needed. In comparison, a product backlog should list task specifics.

With a strong product roadmap that outlines the vision, direction, and goals your company has set for the next quarter, year, etc., you should know what items to include in your backlog and where they should go in order of priority. You can always change your backlog as needed as your product evolves.

What role does Customer Feedback play in a Product backlog?

Customer feedback, also known as product feedback– the information, opinions, and suggestions customers (or end-users) provide about a product or service– plays a crucial role in shaping product backlogs. Product feedback helps product owners and developers better understand what their customers need. Having a clear picture of customer feedback helps development teams consistently deliver value to customers. By including backlog items that are most important to customers, product teams can strike the right balance between meeting business objectives and customer satisfaction. They can also use customer feedback to validate their assumptions and make data-driven decisions about what to prioritize next.

Interested in learning how UserVoice can help your team organize and prioritize your customer feedback? Sign up for a free trial or talk to one of our product specialists to get started.