8 Basic Differences Between Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog

Sprint backlog Vs Product backlog

Introduction 

Requirements in an Agile project are in the form of Epics , user stories  and the list of all work items are ideally structured in a unidirectional list called as “PRODUCT BACKLOG”. Product Backlog is a vital aspect / artifact in an agile project which helps the team and the management to keep track of all the items that need to be finished in the project. Product backlog shrinks as and when there is a work item completed and grows when there is a new requirement. It is completely owned by the Product Owner.

Sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog. It is the increment which the development team commits for that particular sprint or iteration. Sprint backlog is the outcome of the 1st Scrum ceremony , Sprint Planning meeting. Usually once the team commits for an increment, the Sprint backlog does not change ( Shrink / Grow ) unless there is an immediate change of priority from the customer / product owner.


  • Commitment Level – Product backlog is a unidirectional list of all the work items at a project level. While Sprint backlog is the list of work items planned in the sprint planning meeting at a sprint / iteration level.
  • Work Items – Product backlog usually consists of Epics, Features , User stories, Spikes , Bugs from previous sprints , Enhancements. While Sprint backlog consists of User stories, Sub tasks, Retro Feedback points, Bugs, Spikes 
  • Priority – Product Backlog items may not be prioritized immediately by the Product owner, PO will continuously set priorities for the work items based on his/her criterias. Sprint backlog items are picked based on the priority set by the PO and usually does not change during sprint execution unless there is an immediate change in the customer / PO
  • Owner – PO is the sole owner of the Product owner. Writing user stories, Acceptance criteria and detailing of user stories along with prioritizing also managing the entire product backlog is done only by the PO. On the other hand, the Sprint backlog is owned by the entire Scrum team, once the priority is set by the PO, planning the capacity, breaking the user stories into sub tasks is owned by the dev team entirely
  • Visibility – Product backlog is a live document that keeps growing when there is a new requirement and may not be prioritized immediately. Detailing and prioritization is done continuously by the PO. Till PO decides the priority, the dev team does not go through the user story to understand it. While sprint backlog is well groomed at least once in the backlog refinement meeting and feasibility , approach and solution has been identified before we start the planning meeting for the next sprint 
  • Growth Nature –  Product backlog items are added as and when there is  a new requirement from the customer or consumer and they are closed as and when a sprint is closed. While the sprint backlog does not change once the planning is done. Sprint backlog items are swapped / removed / added only when there is an immediate change in priority
  • Closure – Sprint backlog items are closed as and when the product owner approves the work items. While Product backlog items stop when the project comes to an end.
  • Requirement Source –  Product backlog is a Live artifact which keeps growing, requirements can come from many sources into the backlog, from the customers, business team, consumers, etc. While the source of requirement for the Sprint backlog is from PO and the Dev team. PO sets the requirements and the dev team breaks them into sub tasks.

 

Conclusion 

Both Product backlog and Sprint backlog are key artifacts of an agile project. Product backlog is a superset of requirements and features while sprint backlog is a subset continuously prioritized by the PO to set the rhythm of incremental delivery

Hope this blog helps you understand Sprint backlog and product backlog in detail. With this, our blog on “8 Differences between Sprint backlog and Product Backlog”  comes to an end. Please reach out to us at “[email protected]” for any feedback , suggestions or questions.

 
Sujith S
Agile Consultant, Benzne

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER FOR LATEST BLOGS AND UPDATES!
Newsletter Subscription Form
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA