Skip to main content

How Self-Management is Supported by a Transparent Sprint Backlog (51)

December 28, 2023

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 is built up by living the Scrum Values, to bring transparency and as such have a good basis to inspect and adapt, we can have a look at the self-managing aspect of the Scrum Team.

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

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


Let’s take a look at the Sprint Backlog.

  • The Sprint Backlog includes the Sprint Goal. This is the objective for the current Sprint. It provides flexibility in the work needed to achieve the goal. It allows the Scrum Team to select Product Backlog items needed to fulfil this goal.
    And so the Sprint Backlog supports deciding on what.
  • This same Sprint Goal also provides focus to encourage team members to work together, rather than working on an individual basis.
    And so the Sprint Backlog supports deciding on who. 
  • The Sprint Backlog includes an actionable plan for delivering the Increment. It provides a real-time picture of the work the Developers plan to achieve the Sprint Goal, including the Done Increment.
    And so the Sprint Backlog supports deciding on how.
  • As the Sprint Backlog is the real-time picture of the work still to be performed by the Developers, it is expected that more important items to reach the Sprint Goal are tackled first, or higher risk items, or ...
    And so the Sprint Backlog supports deciding on when.

Given the Sprint Backlog is a real-time picture of the work identified to achieve the Sprint Goal, any decisions needed to get closer, and more effective, to that goal are typically supported by information from the Sprint Backlog.


Self-managing is about having a mandate to take decisions.
The Sprint Backlog brings transparency on the work the Developers plan to accomplish during the Sprint in order to achieve the Sprint Goal. And as such support the Scrum Team when it comes to making decisions about what, how, when, and who to reach this Sprint objective.

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

Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate how self-management can be improved by making your Sprint Backlog even more transparent.

Also think about what additional insights or input the team would benefit from others outside the team about purpose and goals, the team's accountabilities and the boundaries they have to work within.

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.

Don't want to miss any of these blog posts? Have the professional Scrum foundations series weekly in your mailbox.

Self-management supported by the Sprint Backlog

What did you think about this post?