Sprint Backlog

The Sprint Backlog is one of the 3 Scrum artifacts.

The Sprint Backlog is the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint, plus a plan for delivering the Increment and realising the Sprint Goal.

The Sprint Backlog represents a forecast by the Developers about what valuable work will be in the next Increment. It makes visible all the work that the Developers identify as necessary to meet the Sprint Goal.

The Sprint Backlog has enough detail that progress can be inspected by Developers at the Daily Scrum.

The Developers modify the Sprint Backlog throughout the Sprint, and the Sprint Backlog further emerges during the Sprint. This emergence occurs as the Developers works through the plan and learns more about the work needed to achieve the Sprint Goal.

As new work relating to the current Sprint Goal is identified, the Developers add it to the Sprint Backlog. As work is performed or completed this is made transparent in the Sprint Backlog. When elements of the plan are deemed unnecessary, they are removed.

This does not mean scope can continually increase if it will make achieving the Sprint Goal impossible. The Developers are accountable for changes to the Sprint Backlog during a Sprint.

If all the work in the Sprint Backlog is Done before the end of the Sprint the Developers can decide how to best use the remaining time. Commonly they would plan with the Product Owner and pull more work from the Product Backlog into the Sprint Backlog and select an amount they forecast can be Done by the end of the Sprint. They may instead use the time to carry out process improvement work identified in the Sprint Retrospective, refine the Product Backlog or work on improving quality.

The Sprint Backlog is a highly visible, real-time picture of the work that the Developers plan to accomplish during the Sprint, and it belongs solely to the Developers.

It may be easier to think of the Sprint Backlog as the plan for the Sprint. It is what the Developers are planning to do and how they are going to do it. The “why” behind what they hope to achieve comes from the Sprint Goal which is a commitment to and also part of the Sprint Backlog.

The Sprint Backlog will change as better ways are discovered to achieve the Sprint Goal. This is normal and natural and to be encouraged. Flexibility is often built into it a Sprint Backlog in order to allow for unpredictability. This may include limited changes to scope, unplanned support requests or other factors that cannot be predicted fully at Sprint Planning.

The Sprint Backlog is a short term adaptable plan designed to help the Developers to manage the work inside the Sprint.