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How the Product Backlog supports Adaptation (28)

July 20, 2023

Remember that Scrum is founded on empirical process control, and that adaptation is the third pillar, following transparency and inspection.

Each of the Scrum Artifacts is adapted in one or more Scrum Events in order to minimise deviations to acceptable limits which they have learned during inspection.


Adaptation is making adjustments in order to minimise any deviations to acceptable limits concerning agreed goals.


Let's have a look at the Scrum Artifacts, more specifically the Product Backlog this time.


The Product Backlog can be adapted at any moment. Especially during Product Backlog refinements, the Scrum team ensures they have a good understanding about the Product Backlog Items (PBIs) that are very likely to be part of the upcoming one or two Sprints. The team refines each of the PBIs to a level that they deem feasible to be Done in one Sprint. And so they adapt the Product Backlog to "minimise the deviation of their current understanding compared to their expected understanding".

The Product Backlog is also adapted during the Sprint Review. During this event feedback might be received from the present stakeholders about the use of the product, how the market is changing and how this impacts the product, about specific features that were delivered during this and earlier Sprints, etc. This adaptation of the Product Backlog takes place to "minimise the deviation" of the current understanding of the expectations compared to the real expectations that exists for the product from the user community and other stakeholders.



The Product Backlog is adapted to clarify the understanding of the Scrum Team, both with regard to specific items that are likely to be part of the next one or two Sprints (during Product Backlog Refinement activities), and with regard to the expectations users and other stakeholders have for the product (during Sprint Review). 



Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate your Product Backlog:

  • What open questions does the Scrum Team still have about Product Backlog Items that are expected to be taken up in the next one or two Sprints?
    Take the time for some Product Backlog Refinement activities and adapt the Product Backlog with the new insights.
  • What expectations do users and other stakeholders have for the product? When valuable, are these expectations reflected in the Product Backlog?


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

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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How does your Product Backlog support Adaptation?

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