Product Experience

A Critical Scrum Artifact | What is a Sprint Backlog?

Manoj Rana
April 29, 2024
min read
A Critical Scrum Artifact | What is a Sprint Backlog?
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Project management is one of the indispensable skills of a manager. However, when you are working on a complex project, it can sometimes become overwhelming to handle it. Some of the common reasons for project slowdown and missed deadlines are improper communication, unplanned processes, and unclear goals.

Statistics suggest that a lack of clearly defined objectives and milestones to measure progress can lead to the failure of around 37% of the projects. Poor communication (19%) and lack of communication by the senior management (17%) are among the other reasons for project failure.

If you are in a scenario where you have to manage a complex project, you can go for sprints. A sprint is a short-term project Iteration that includes tasks to be completed quickly. From the word sprint comes sprint backlog.

Basically, it is about breaking a complex project into small iterations to be completed quickly, which promises efficiency and organisation. Here is more about Sprint Backlog!

What is the Sprint Backlog in Scrum?

Defining the sprint backlog is pretty easy. Sprint backlog contains the tasks that your team needs to complete within a fixed time frame (project sprint). A sprint backlog forms the subset of the complex project (product backlog).

A clear sprint backlog is defined during the sprint planning meeting and contains information about what tasks must be done and what does not. It also includes the sprint goal, description, and person who will work on the sprint.

The team working on a sprint is known as the scrum team. 

When to Use a Sprint Backlog?

A sprint backlog is an essential part of an agile methodology. And it is best to implement a sprint backlog when the project is complex.

Sprint backlog allows you to shortlist priority-based tasks and align them in different sprints, which leads to better efficiency and productivity.

There are several types of agile methodologies.

If you are using the scrum framework, the scrum master and the team members shortlist and prioritize the product backlog items to be done in the sprint.

If you are using any other form of an agile methodology, the owner of the product or manager does the shortlisting and task prioritization.

Whether you are the product owner or the scrum master, your job is to create the sprint backlog and share it with all the people involved in the project (stakeholders). These sprint backlogs are well-documented in the form of user stories.

Note: User stories are documented descriptions of the task that provide a detailed overview of the product features from the user’s perspective.

A sprint backlog can be for two weeks or a month.

When Should You Create a Sprint Backlog?

Ideally, a sprint backlog is created in the planning phase of the project sprint. This sprint backlog is not altered during the execution. However, daily scrums are hosted to get updates on the work done so far.

Difference Between Product and Sprint Backlog

Product Backlog vs Spring Backlog

Product and sprint backlog can be distinguished from each other in several ways.

While a product backlog is a comprehensive list of tasks that several teams might need to complete to bring the product to the market, a sprint backlog is a subset of these tasks required to be completed in a short sprint.

Besides, here are some more differences!

What does the Sprint Backlog Contains?

Sprint Backlog Components

After analysing the sprint backlog so far, I can say that it is one of the crucial elements of the product backlog and the entire product development cycle. As it features tasks to be completed in a limited time, it contains several microscopic things that one must be aware of.

From tasks and task priorities to task descriptions and progress tracking, I have elaborated all the critical elements of the sprint backlog below!

  1. User story

A user story describes a product feature from the user’s perspective. As the end users are your final target, the user story description is to help the team design the feature in a way that is liked and expected by the users.

  1. Task name

As the name suggests, the sprint backlog includes a task name that is thoroughly descriptive to make the employee understand their work and stakeholders comprehend the backlog. An example of this can be creating a new animation feature for a mobile game or creating a user survey.

  1. Task description

A description of the task is also required, besides creating a task. A task description is necessary for the employee to understand how to undertake the task and for the stakeholders what to expect.

  1. Task prioritization

The primary motive of a sprint backlog is to ensure efficiency and productivity. Therefore, with every task, there has to be a task prioritisation status.

  1. Sprint burn down chart

Sprint burn down chart is an element that indicates the work left to be done and the time required to complete it. This chart is useful in estimating how much time each task will take.

  1. Daily time allocation

The breakdown chart provides a time estimate for completing a task. To calculate the actual time, you must keep track of your time in minutes and hours. At the end of the week or sprint, you can add up the time, put it on the breakdown chart, and compare.

  1. DoD

DOD stands for Definition of Done. It is a description in a sprint backlog that indicates the conditions that must be met for an item to be considered complete. Once any task in the sprint is complete, it can be considered an increment. There can be multiple increments in a single sprint, which are later presented in the sprint review.

  1. Progress tracking

The last thing that must be part of the sprint backlog is progress tracking. The team working on the sprint can tally their work with the sprint and identify any roadblocks, leading to making adjustments to meet sprint goals.

Learn about improving employee satisfaction in a company here!

How Often Should Sprint Backlog Be Updated?

A sprint backlog has small tasks created by breaking down a complex task in the product backlog. As a sprint is a short-term project execution plan, it should be updated daily.

Keeping the sprint backlog updated daily will allow you to identify the incomplete tasks. Consequently, you can make adjustments to bring your team’s progress back on track.

How to Create a Sprint Backlog?

The advent of sprint planning begins with creating a sprint backlog. As a short-term entity, its steps must be planned and executed precisely.

  1. Goal setting

The first step to creating a sprint backlog is goal setting. To ensure that your team follows and executes the sprint backlog strictly, there has to be a goal for the sprint. For example, to create a prototype or prototype testing.

Ensure that every task under this sprint goal is clearly defined in terms of output. This will help prevent scope creep.

  1. Discussion and planning

Once your sprint goal is clear, you have to summon your team for a sprint meeting and discuss the sprint. You can let your team see the tasks added to the sprint and opt for the one they want to do. Letting your team choose the task will give them a sense of ownership, leading to faster and more efficient work.

  1. Organization and prioritizing

Once your team has chosen the task, it's time to organize and prioritize tasks. User stories can be perfect for prioritising tasks. Based on these stories, you can organise tasks as per their priority.

  1. Monitoring and adjustment

When the team collaborates on the task based on priority, it is the project manager's responsibility to oversee the task's progress. Some crew members might have more than enough work, while some might not have enough.

Keep an eye on this to make judgments regarding task tracking and re-assignments. Moreover, timely sprint reviews and stand-up meetings should be conducted to understand any bottlenecks in the process.

The Benefits of Sprint Backlog

Based on the sprint backlog analysis so far, I can say that you can leverage a plethora of benefits. Here, I have highlighted some of the primary ones for you!

  1. Boosts accuracy

Sprint backlog has achievable sub-tasks assigned to each crew member. As each sprint task has a fixed deadline, you can achieve supreme accuracy in task completion.

  1. Productivity

When you set achievable goals for your team, they are motivated to fulfill them quickly. Besides motivation, it also boosts focus and productivity.

  1. Enhances accountability

The sprint planning session involves members opting for the task based on their capacity. This gives the crew members a sense of ownership, leading to enhanced accountability.

  1. Better future forecasting

As each member of your team knows the amount of work they can handle, a sprint backlog can easily help them forecast their work in the future.

  1. Transparency

As the sprint backlog is shared with the entire team, every member and supervisor can seamlessly verify the progress of each task, ensuring transparency.

  1. Better resource allocation

When you know which member of your team is working on which task and how much time each task requires, you can assign the resources efficiently.

Who Manages the Sprint Backlog?

The development team manages the sprint backlog. Management can be seamlessly handled by organising a daily scrum where the team can discuss potential progress and any impediments to the process. If there is an issue, it can be discussed with the owner.


Managing a complex project can be tough. As there are multiple tasks to a single project, they have to be carefully analysed and distributed among the members of your team for an effective and efficient output.

Before you begin the development process and create a sprint backlog, it is best to understand your users and employees.

To do the best user research and know your users' preferences and your employees' skills, you can use the resources from Qwary. From well-crafted enterprise surveys to user surveys, these resources can greatly benefit a business. So, get in touch now!


  1. What is the backlog in Agile?

Whether it is product backlog or sprint backlog, a backlog is a list of prioritised tasks that need to be completed as a part of the product development process.

  1. Who decides the sprint backlog?

The development team involved in the project decides and manages the sprint backlog.

  1. What is scope creep?

Scope creep is defined as a scenario where the product requirements keep increasing with time. This affects the overall time, cost, and resources.

  1. What are the various types of Agile methodologies?

Some of the popular Agile methodologies are

  • Kanban
  • Scrum
  • Lean Software Development
  • Extreme Programming
  • Dynamic Systems Development Method

And more!

  1. Who can cancel a sprint?

Only the product owner can cancel the sprint.