Creating the Sprint Backlog for Developers

In Agile software development, the sprint backlog is one of the most used tools available. It consists of a set of tasks that must be finished by the end of the sprint. This differs from the product backlog in a few ways. The product backlog contains user stories rather than tasks. Also, the product backlog persists through the duration of the project, while the sprint backlog is cleared out after every sprint.


While Agile seeks to minimize documentation, there are some components that the Scrum team must understand in order to communicate clearly. A frequently used term in Agile is “velocity.” In most practical applications, velocity refers to speed and direction. Although a Scrum team may not have physical motion, there is certainly an aspect of speed for each team member. Sprint velocity refers to the average amount of work finished in a single sprint. This can be measured in story points, the number of tasks, or other metrics used in Agile. Developers determine their velocity by observing the amount of work completed in previous sprints. Velocity can change over time but gives an idea of about how much a team can be expected to finish in any given sprint. Since the sprint backlog is designed to contain enough work to complete in a sprint, it is important that the quantity of tasks in the backlog closely matches the sprint velocity for the team.

Dependencies are also a vital part of the sprint backlog. A dependency is a feature that must be implemented before other features that depend on it to work. This is entirely the responsibility of developers. The developer role has the understanding of where feature dependencies may be, and what order features should be created to minimize delays in work. The sprint backlog must either have a feature and its dependency created in the same sprint, or the dependent feature may be postponed to a later sprint in order for work to be completed on the dependency.

59 Seconds Agile - Creating the Sprint Backlog

59 Seconds Agile – Creating the Sprint Backlog

Availability indicates how much effort each team member can contribute to the sprint. If some members have other responsibilities, they cannot dedicate all of their time to the sprint work. In these cases, each team member gives a percentage of availability. This percentage is taken from the sprint velocity to give an approximate velocity with that much availability. For developers, they must often continue supporting old code while working on new development. It is important that they allocate enough time for each responsibility.


To create an effective sprint backlog, there are several required inputs. Possibly the most important is the sprint planning meeting. In this meeting, team members work together to break down user stories into tasks. The Scrum team only creates tasks for enough user stories for the next sprint. Working on user stories for future sprints may end up as wasted effort. Not creating enough tasks means the Scrum team will not have enough work to stay busy for the entire sprint. Sprint velocity is a very important metric for the sprint planning meeting since the Scrum team needs to plan out just enough tasks to take up the entire sprint. For developers, this means generating enough tasks for development and debugging to stay busy. Underestimating or excluding testing may leave developers without enough time to finish all of their tasks. Overestimating tasks, or allocating too much time for debugging may mean they finish work early and find more tasks to work on until the end of the sprint.

As with any style of project management, it is vital that the team have tools to track progress. In Agile, the Scrum team often uses the sprint planning meeting to decide on sprint tracking tools. They can discuss what tactics and software tools best fit one particular team. There are numerous tools and tactics available. What works for one team may not be best for another team. The main goal is to make sure that development is on pace to be finished by the end of the sprint. Developers must make sure that the sprint tracking tools account for development and testing. Just completing new development for a feature does not mean the entire feature is finished. They must be able to monitor and leave time for testing and bug fixes after developers have written the new code.

Prev <— Continue Reading —> Next

Our Favourite Agile Books

Read Our Reviews

The History of Agile For Developers

Prior to the 1990’s software development was very slow, often taking years to complete development and release the product to market. The industry was following a very formal methodology for products and software development…

Read More

What is Agile to the Developer?

While traditional project management is still widely used, the benefits of an Agile approach to running a project are becoming more and more recognized. Where Agile has a distinct advantage over classic project management is the development of new products…

Read More

Why Use Agile as a Developer?

When determining if a move to Agile is right, a PESTLE can be used to simplify what factors should be considered. While Agile is sometimes thought of as a software development project management method, it isn’t just for these types of technology-centric companies…

Read More

The Agile Manifesto For Developers

Agile is a quick, simple, lightweight and effective way of managing projects. In traditional project management models…

Read More

The Agile Principles For Developers

When the Agile Manifesto was drawn up in 2001, it embodied four values and twelve principles that signaled a new approach to…

Read More

The Agile Fundamentals For Developers

Thinking of becoming a Scrum Master? Or are you already one, but you’re still new to the job? No matter what level of experience…

Read More

The Declaration of Interdependence For Developers

The Declaration of Interdependence establishes that all members, stakeholders, and customers are interdependent and…

Read More

The Agile Frameworks For Developers

There are many different Agile frameworks – all of them share the same philosophy and are built around the Agile Manifesto and Principles. But they vastly differ in their approaches, values, and structure. …

Read More

The Scrum Framework For Developers

The Agile Scrum framework is designed to deliver products and projects of any size. This includes projects, programs, and portfolios. Scrum provides guidelines on delivery techniques, events, and roles. Many of the same ceremonies are held within both a standard Agile scrum project and an Agile Scrum…

Read More

The Scrum Roles For Developers

Scrum is a useful tool for the creation, maintenance, plan, and execution of diverse products and services. The tool consists of…

Read More

The Scrum Team Size For Developers

The basics of Scrum can be easy but implementing them and succeeding with Scrum can be infinitely harder. Scrum …

Read More

The Agile Project Vision For Developers

At the heart of any great product is a great vision. It describes the primary goal or goals of a product and creates a focus that…

Read More

Forming the Scrum Team For Developers

Scrum is a framework that encourages delivery of potentially shippable product increments every 2-6 weeks. The work is…

Read More

Developing Epics For Developers

The term ‘epic’ in agile refers to a large user story that has not yet been defined in detail. Typically, an epic will cover a single…

Read More

The Agile Product Backlog For Developers

A Product Backlog is an organized collection of the existing User Stories (aka Wants and Needs) for an explicit business endeavor. Think of a shopping catalog of User Stories, ordered by urgency, that can be perused and selected from to determine what will be worked on during the current…

Read More

Release Planning For Developers

Although flexibility and adaptability are part and parcel of an agile methodology, this does not mean that no planning is required when…

Read More

Creating User Stories For Developers

User Stories are an integral part of the agile development process. They are an important agile technique that is used to frame…

Read More

Estimating User Stories For Developers

One of the principles of self-managing teams in Agile Scrum is working collaboratively with the Product Owner to effectively deliver…

Read More

Creating Tasks For Developers

According to The Agile Manifesto: “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” As a…

Read More

Estimating Agile Tasks For Developers

In Scrum, a list of user stories is produced and put together to form a product backlog, and each of these user stories will need to…

Read More

Creating the Sprint Backlog For Developers

The Sprint Backlog is defined as a group of user stories that are grouped together during the Sprint Planning Meeting. This…

Read More

Creating the Deliverables For Developers

Agile Scrum provides the framework for delivery of the vision of an organization. Execution of the vision includes processes, ceremonies and project deliverables that are also known as artifacts…

Read More

The Daily Stand-Up For Developers

The daily scrum is an opportunity for developers or anyone committed to working in the sprint to talk to each other to make sure the…

Read More

Product Backlog Prioritisation For Developers

The product backlog is a key element of Agile software development. It facilitates a development environment that creates valuable features and products for stakeholders…

Read More

The Sprint Review Meeting For Developers

The Sprint Review meeting comes at the end of the sprint and the goal of this meeting is to have key people in the room to be able …

Read More

Demonstrating and Validating the Sprint For Developers

As organizations migrate to Agile principles, there may be questions about how the organization can prove that there is value…

Read More

The Sprint Retrospective For Developers

A very simple step by step guide to help you choose the appropriate product development methodology from…

Read More

Releasing the Product For Developers

One of the most important milestones any project will ever have is finally releasing their product and putting it out there. It’s the…

Read More

Regression Testing For Developers

In companies using agile development, it is common to introduce changes in a product incrementally. Along with the new changes, unexpected issues may arise, testing whether the existing functionality is broken or not becomes very important…

Read More

Product Owners

Find out more about the Agile and the Product Owner Role

Read More


Find out more about the Agile and the Developer Role

Read More

More Articles

Read More

Chicken Appreciation Society

Translate »