10X: Manage the Backlog

The backlog is a place to stack, rank, and assign your working items across teams, sprints, and program increments. You can get into the backlog in two ways: Team > Backlog or Program > Backlog. Then, you need to select a program increment and a program.

Note: To view stories (and defects), make sure you did not select a portfolio from the configuration menu. Also, filter the stories by team. Then, you can see your unassigned backlog and all your sprints.

Inline, you quickly add an item: an epic, a capability, a feature, or a story. Capabilities only appear in the backlog if they are turned on in Administration.

Backlog views

There are two views you can use to manage your work items: List View and Kanban View. You can select the one you need at the top-right of the page.

  • List View. Items are displayed one below the other.
  • Kanban View. Items are displayed as a board of stacked cards.
    • State View is used for moving cards between states.
      Features and stories have six states: pending approval, ready to start, in progress, dev complete, test complete, and accepted. Epics and capabilities have only three: not started, in progress, and accepted. You cannot move epics and capabilities to the Dev Complete or Test Complete columns. This view combines epics and stand-alone features so it represents all possible states.
      Only users with the product owner, analyst, or super admin role can move stories to the Accepted column. Only stories which are in the Test Complete column can be moved to the Accepted column. With this option, you can accept stories directly in the backlog. Stories cannot be moved from the Accepted column. You can unaccept the story from the story details page.
    • Process Step View is used for moving cards between process steps. Only developmental process steps appear here. If an item does not have any process step assigned, it appears in the Unassigned column. There are the following options on each card:
      • Time in Process Step. Shows the number of days an item spent in a specific process step.
      • Time in Value Stream. Shows the number of days an item spent (or currently is) in the value stream. The count of days begins after a feature moves from the Unassigned column to any step.

Here, you have an option to show exit criteria. They are used to define an epic intake process with exit criteria to drive governance through the project, to create a policy for when to complete specific fields in the work item (epic), or if your team has specific requirements that it needs to meet before moving a card to another place. Criteria appear in the corresponding columns and are added when editing process steps.

    • Column View is used for moving cards between different program increments. It is also a useful tool for Product Managers to load the program increments to a prescribed capacity; it ensures you aren’t over burdening the team. Estimations in this view are pulled from the Forecast tab to provide accurate allocations. Check the loaded points into a PI and a program as well as the velocity using the corresponding progress bars for PI and program load. These bars show the Estimated and Actual points (total points loaded/average velocity for last two PIs). The numbers derive from loaded points on the Forecast tab of the work item.
    • If you select team/member weeks as your estimation system, they are converted in the Power of 2 system set by Monte Carlo. Click Override to change the PI’s velocity for the selected program. 

If you move your items in the list or on the board, this order is preserved in those both places.

Backlog for features

In the State and Process Step views, you can drill into the team Kanban view. Within the program, this view shows each team as a row and states or process steps as columns. Features are established for a team by how stories are assigned. If one or more stories under a feature are assigned to a team, the feature shows up on that team’s row, meaning the features can show up multiple times across multiple teams. However, you cannot move features between teams. If more than one team is working on the same feature and this feature is moved between states, it will move for all those teams. Duplicate features associated with more than one team are not included in the column count.

The View Features By Team option works for each program bucket individually. This means that if you have more than one program selected on the Configuration bar, you have to turn on this option for each program separately. While you are working in the Features by Team View, you cannot access the Unassigned Backlog.

Backlog for stories

Unlike epics and features, stories do not have the Kanban Column View but have the Sprint View. In the Sprint View, as you move stories across the columns, your average velocity bar changes. You can override the average velocity for a particular sprint to plan better when moving the stories. To override the average velocity, click Override, select the Override Average Velocity for Sprint Planning option, type the necessary value for velocity, and then click Save. The average velocity is counted on the basis of last five sprints. The average velocity does not use the override velocity value. The override velocity value is used only for planning purposes.

Ranking items

When you create a new item in the backlog, it is placed in the alphabetical order under the already ranked items. New work items have a generic ranking. After they are moved to a position manually, they will be ranked in the backlog.

You can rank your items in the backlog in order of their priority. To rank the items, you need to drag the rows within the grid. 

Age of items

You can track the age of working items to keep the backlog clean and know how long it takes to get items from an idea to the product. The age is calculated from the date when the item is first saved to the system. To view the age, add the Age column to the grid.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 1 found this helpful
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Join the Atlassian Community!

The Atlassian Community is a unique, highly collaborative space where customers and Atlassians come together. Ask questions and get answers, start discussions, and collaborate with thousands of other Jira Align customers. Visit the Jira Align Community Collection today.

Need to contact Jira Align Support? Please open a support request.