As a Scrum Master and Agile Coach, I have embarked on a personal quest to deepen my understanding of effective Product Backlog management. My organization faces the challenge of a massive Product Backlog which, thankfully, has seen notable improvements in quality over the past year. However, there’s always room for growth and refinement. That’s why I’m turning to the Professional Scrum Product Backlog Management Skills™ course. It’s not just about adding another certification to my portfolio; it’s about unlocking new insights and strategies to enhance our Product Backlog further, making it a more powerful tool for our organization’s success!
Why Product Backlog management matters
Effective Product Backlog management is the cornerstone of successful product delivery in Scrum. The Product Backlog is an emergent, ordered list that guides the Scrum Teams’ work and is crucial for the product’s continuous improvement. Mastering this element ensures that the team focuses on what is most valuable, thereby delivering maximum value to stakeholders and customers. This course teaches you how to bring clarity and transparency to the Product Backlog, ensuring that your team always works on the most impactful tasks.
My learning goals
As a Scrum Master, my primary learning goal is to enhance my ability to coach Product Owners in the nuances of Product Backlog management. This includes applying practical techniques to create, refine, and order the Product Backlog, understanding stakeholder needs, and ensuring transparency throughout the process. By gaining these skills, I aspire to facilitate better Product Owner/Scrum Team dynamics, leading to more effective and efficient product development.
This course is not only beneficial for Product Owners but also offers valuable insights for Scrum Masters in coaching and guiding their teams towards excellence.
On December 8th, 2023, I took part in an online course led by trainer Lavaneesh Gautam. I was joined by a colleague, who is a Product Owner. This course was organized by TheScrumMaster.co.uk. During the class, we explored various insightful topics that shed light on Product Backlog management. These were the key topics:
- Purpose of a Product Backlog, as it acts as a single source of truth, roadmap, and value expression
- Importance of customer interaction, proto-personas, customer interviews
- Product Goals; describing future states and long-term objectives
- Managing epic and feature sizes in the Product Backlog (Levels of Decomposition)
- Common PBI formats; job stories, user stories, hypothesis-driven development
- Product Backlog Refinement
- Techniques for slicing and the necessity for rapid feedback.
- Criteria for effective Product Backlog items (INVEST)
- Ways to order the Product Backlog
- Techniques and forecasting for Product Backlog presentation and planning (Roadmapping)
Preparing for the assessment
In gearing up for the PSPBM assessment, Scrum.org provided some valuable preparatory tips:
- ✅ Review course notes
- ✅ Explore useful links provided by the trainer
- ✅ Reacquaint with the Scrum Guide, focusing on outcomes of Scrum events
- ✅ Refresh knowledge with the Product Owner Open and the Scrum Open
- ✅ Study topics and associated resources:
- The Product Backlog
- Product Backlog management
- Stakeholders and customers
Following these tips, I took the assessment the day right after the training, in Porto on a rainy Saturday.
I passed the test with a score of 90%! The time limit was 30 minutes for 20 questions, and I had plenty of time to revisit questions.
Reflection on the training
The training took place online. The trainer, Lavaneesh, is an expert in his field and I have to commend him for his happy and positive energy. He has an engaging teaching style, high energy level, and the ability to maintain participant interest throughout the course.
Together with my colleague, we exited the training with a big list of actionable items. All in all a great course to recommend!