May 12, 2022

How can your Product Backlog support self-management šŸš€ - Back to the foundations of the Scrum framework (50)

We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of blog posts we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, and we covered the Scrum Values.

Now that we understand that we need trust, which isĀ built up by living the Scrum Values,Ā toĀ bring transparency and as such have a goodĀ basis to inspect and adapt, we can have a look at the self-managing aspect of theĀ ScrumĀ Team.

šŸ‘‰ Self-managing, meaning the team internally decides who does what, when, and how.

Allowing to take more decisions = more mandate = more autonomy = higher motivation =Ā  higher effectivity.

In order to make good decisions, information needs to be readily available. This is where the transparency of the different Scrum Artifacts plays an important role.


Letā€™s take a look at the Product Backlog.

  • The Product Backlog includes the Product Goal. This is a description of a future state of the product. It provides a target to plan against and allows the Scrum Team to define what items would be needed to fulfil this goal.
    And so the Product Backlog supports deciding onĀ what.
  • Based on value, risk, and size (for example) of Product Backlog Items, the Product Backlog brings transparency in the order of items that makeĀ most sense to implement.Ā 
    And so the Product Backlog supportsĀ deciding on what.
    Ā Ā 
  • Given the Product Backlog provides on ordered list, combined with the sizing of the items by the Developers and their past performance, a forecast can be made on when some items might be implemented. Questions can be asked if this is according market demands or user needs.
    And so the Product Backlog supportsĀ deciding on when.

Given the Product Backlog is all about the future of the product, making decision on what and when are typically supported by, amongst other, information from the Product Backlog.


Self-managing is about having a mandate to take decisions.
The Product Backlog brings transparency to support the Scrum Team when it comes to making decisions about what and when.

Note: without a clear (Product, Sprint and Quality) goal, without clear accountabilities, and without a clear boundaries, self-management will not occur.ā€‹

Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate how self-management can be improved by making your Product Backlog even more transparent.
Also think about what additional insights or input the teamĀ would benefit from others outside the team about purpose and goals, the team's accountabilities and the boundaries they have to work within.

We hope you will find value in these short messages and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

PS.Ā Next week we'll have a look at self-management and the Sprint Backlog.


If you want to take a deeper dive into the core concepts we are covering in this blog series, then surely check out our Professional Scrum MasterY workshop. We have some scheduled in the coming period.


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Self-management supported by the Product Backlog