Expert Tips for Managing Sprint Backlog and Prioritizing Work for Your Team

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How to Help Your Team Prioritize Work and Manage Sprint Backlog

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Prioritizing work and managing sprint backlogs can be a daunting task for teams. It requires understanding the team's goals and objectives and necessitates a keen eye for detail and an ability to anticipate the unpredictable. However, effective sprint backlog management can lead to increased productivity, improved morale, and better results.

In this article, we'll be discussing how teams can prioritize work and manage their sprint backlogs. By the end, you should better understand how to help your team prioritize work and manage their sprint backlogs.

Sprint Backlog

A sprint backlog is a collection of tasks the product team decides to work on during a specific sprint. These tasks are usually the highest priority items from the product backlog and are chosen during sprint planning. Sprint planning is an integral part of the Scrum framework, used to plan the team's work for the next few weeks. During this event, the team creates a sprint backlog outlining all the items they need to work on, making tracking progress and measuring success easier.

What is in a sprint backlog?

A sprint backlog is a collection of tasks and user stories the development team needs to complete during the current sprint cycle. It comprises multiple elements, such as team velocity, existing impediments, available resources, dependencies, etc. The sprint backlog should include straightforward tasks for developers to complete in the current sprint. Additionally, it should include stories that define the product's user value and detailed tasks that break down the user story into achievable development steps. If bigger or more complex tasks exist, they can be further subdivided into smaller subtasks. The aim is to break down user stories into achievable action items that can be accomplished within one day, producing user value and helping to accomplish the sprint goal.

Best Ways  To Prioritize The Sprint Backlog

Prioritizing your sprint backlog is not a difficult task. It's simply a matter of clearly understanding the product roadmap and the sprint's goals. To begin, look at the product roadmap, identify the highest priority items, and break them into individual tasks. Then, assign each task a priority and decide how much time you will allocate. Finally, ensure the tasks are achievable and aligned with the sprint's objectives. Doing this will help the team stay focused and efficient. 

The below-following advice and best practices will assist you in prioritizing your sprint backlog and preparing your team for a productive sprint.

Prioritize quick wins

Quick wins should be prioritized when creating sprint backlogs. Complex user stories can be alluring, but taking on too many at once can cause delays due to dependencies and other roadblocks. As a result, motivation can drop, and sprint goals become incomplete. The best approach is to start with easier tasks that can be done quickly, followed by more complex stories. This will help keep momentum and ensure everything is completed on time. Having a few simple tasks scattered throughout the backlog is also beneficial, as it allows team members to switch to them if they are stuck on a larger task.

Prioritize dependencies

Organizing tasks in the correct order of priority is essential for efficient development. When working on a complex project that involves multiple teams, it is important to establish interdependent roles and prioritize them accordingly. This will help avoid unnecessary delays and ensure everyone on the team is working on the task they need to. Additionally, having a backlog refinement before sprint planning can help identify and resolve any existing dependencies. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and clearly understands the timeline and commitments that need to be met. Properly prioritizing dependencies is key to ensuring that everyone can work together in a streamlined fashion and that the project is completed on time.

Determine obstacles and start investigations

There should be ample time for development and testing if inquiries into a series of issues are prioritized early in the sprint while discussing stories during sprint planning. It is possible to handle the investigation by creating simpler tasks at the beginning of the sprint. Problems that might arise again in the course of development are uncommon. Find them and fix issues beforehand, then set project progress priorities.

Anticipate bugs

To reduce the risk of unexpected issues and bugs, planning and setting aside a portion of the team's velocity for any potential problems is wise. For example, 80% of the team's velocity can be allocated to new development, while 20% should be reserved for unexpected tasks and complications. This will ensure that the team is prepared to handle any potential issues that arise and can still make progress on their new feature.


Prioritizing work and managing sprint backlogs can be challenging, but it is an essential part of the Scrum framework. By following the advice outlined in this article, teams can create effective sprint backlogs that will help them stay focused, organized, and productive. A well-managed sprint backlog will also enable teams to measure progress, identify potential issues, and adjust their priorities accordingly. Ultimately, proper sprint backlog management will help teams achieve their goals and get the most out of their sprints.





Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.