Backlog for epics



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A backlog is a prioritized list of work for the development team that is derived from the roadmap and its requirements. The most important items are shown at the top of the backlog so the team knows what to deliver first. The development team pulls work from the backlog as there is capacity for it.

You can manage and prioritize epics and stand-alone features in the epic backlog. Click a title of an epic or a stand-alone feature to open a slide-out panel with more information about that work item. If the epic contains child features or capabilities, you can also click the expand arrow Screen_Shot_2020-02-07_at_10.10.49_AM.png next to the epic name to manage and prioritize the features or capabilities within the epic


The following controls and progress indicators display at the top of each backlog section when using List, Kanban > State View, and Kanban > Process Flow View view options. For a description of the progress indicators displayed in Kanban > Column View, see the Manage the Backlog article:

  • Estimate: Click this button to navigate to the Epic Estimation page, where you can quickly enter estimates for all epics and stand-alone features planned in the program and PI.
  • Export: Click this button to export the displayed work items and details into a .csv file.
  • Pull rank: You can use a theme rank to sort epics and stand-alone features. This option is available only if you have a program or a program and a PI selected. Otherwise, to prioritize your epics and stand-alone features, you can drag them to the necessary position. The ranking is disabled if filtering is on. As epics can span multiple program increments, epic rankings are independent of the program increment.
  • PI Progress: Progress bar that displays the percentage of story points accepted in the PI, when a PI is selected. The bar is calculated as follows:

    ((Sum of level-of-effort (LOE) points for all accepted stories associated to epics and stand-alone features planned for the program and PI) / (sum of LOE points for all stories associated to epics and stand-alone features planned for the program and PI)) * 100 = PI Progress

    • Orphan stories (those that do not roll-up to an epic or stand-alone feature, but are planned in the selected program/PI) are included in this calculation.

    • Misaligned stories (those assigned to a sprint that does not roll-up to the selected PI) are not included. 

Default fields

The following values display on all epics and stand-alone features listed on the page, regardless of selections made in the Columns Shown menu:

  • Rank: The number displayed at the far left of an epic's row is the rank of the epic in the selected PI. If no PI is selected, this is the overall rank of the feature for the program or portfolio selected.
  • State: A colored dot displays the state of the epic or stand-alone feature. Hover over the dot to view the state name.
  • ID: A unique ID for an epic or a stand-alone feature.
  • Name: A name of an epic or a stand-alone feature.
  • Labels: Use this dropdown to display different information labels on the right of each epic's row. You may select either Program or Schedule. You may also select either Parent or Tags:
    • Program: The program the epic or stand-alone feature belongs to.
    • Schedule: The PI the epic or stand-alone feature will be delivered in.
    • Parent: The parent theme of the epic or stand-alone feature.
    • Tags: Tags that are used to make it easier to find an epic or a stand-alone feature.

Columns shown

The Columns Shown option offers to select which columns to display, providing some level of customization. Columns Shown controls what columns are displayed for two different scenarios:

  • Main View: Displays up to 5 columns on the Backlog page in List View.
  • Small View: Displays up to 2 columns when the Unassigned Backlog slide-out is opened in List View.

For the epic backlog, you can choose to view such columns as Strategic Driver, Dependency, Acceptance Criteria, Age, Blocked, Budget, Capitalized, Chat, Child Count, Customers, Investment type, MVP, Owner, Points (an estimate set for an epic), Process Step, Score, Story Point Progress, Story Points (sum of LOE on stories associated with an epic), Tag, T-Shirt size, Type, Value, Weeks WSJF, and Objectives. 

Additionally, you can select custom fields that you have created for epics in Details Panels Settings. Only fields that are set as Active in Details Panels Settings are available for selection as columns in the backlog.

You can find out more about these columns in the Manage epics topic.

  • Score shows the epic score from the Value tab on the epic details page so that you can rank your epics in the backlog according to the value score.


With the available filtering options, you can filter epics and stand-alone features by state, process step, theme, type, value, capitalized, blocked, title, T-Shirt, tag(s), investment type, strategic driver, owner, and MVP.

Quick add

In the backlog, you can quickly add a new epic just above the list of all epics.

To add an epic:

  1. In the New Epic Name box, type the title for the epic.
  2. Click Add. The epic is automatically prioritized at the bottom of the list and is assigned to a program, team, program increment, or sprint based on where it was added from.

Moreover, you can add child features to an epic. Go to an epic you want to add a feature to, type the feature's name, and then click Add.

Note: If you work with stand-alone features instead of epics, you can add a story to that stand-alone feature.

Right-click menu options

For faster navigation in the backlog, right-click an epic to do the following:

  • Open in new tab: Open the work item in the full-page view in a new tab.
  • Duplicate: Copy the existing work item. You need to type a new name for the duplicate work item. The name must be unique. The work item is added to the bottom of the list and assigned to the same team and program increment/sprint that the original work item is assigned to.
  • Move To Top: Move the work item to the top of the list the work item is contained in.
  • Move To Bottom: Move the work item to the bottom of the list the work item is contained in.
  • Move To Position: Select the place to move the work item to. It is useful when you have a long list and dragging the work item is not convenient.
  • Move To Program Increment: Move the work item to a certain program increment or an unassigned backlog.
  • Move To Recycle Bin: Move the work item to the recycle bin if you no longer need it.
  • Move To Parking Lot: Move the work item to the parking lot to reserve it for later.

Parking lot
The parking lot is used to reserve epics and stand-alone features that have some issues or unanswered questions to come back to them later. You can find the parking lot at the bottom of the epic list. When you move an epic to the parking lot, you may also choose to move all of its child capabilities and features to the parking lots in the capability and feature backlogs, respectively.

See also

Backlog for themes

Backlog for capabilities

Backlog for features

Backlog for stories

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