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The importance of Transparency and the Product Backlog (06)

January 26, 2023

Scrum is founded on empirical process control, and transparency is one of the three pillars.

Each of the Scrum Artifacts exist to bring transparency to the Scrum Team and the stakeholders. If you feel that there is a lack of transparency for any aspect of your initiative, have a good look with your team at your Artifacts.

Note: transparency is way more than bringing “visibility”. It is about reaching ”a common understanding”.

Let’s take the Product Backlog. 

Common understanding about what? 

  • About what is still needed in the product? A forecast.
  • About what is expected to reach a specific business or product goal? 
  • About what work is remaining for the current goal?

Do you still have a separate “release plan”...? What are the reasons for this? Are these still applicable in your current context? You may want to check if and how you can show this information in your Product Backlog.

Show trends of remaining work Sprint after Sprint. This brings transparency in the likelihood of achieving the current product goal by a desired moment in time.

What else do you want to understand at the product level, about the future of your product? Evaluate with your team how you can bring this information available through the Product Backlog.


Common understanding amongst who?
Amongst the entire Scrum Team and the product's stakeholders.
A Product Backlog should not only be providing the Scrum Team itself with a shared understanding, but also the stakeholders. That means that Product Backlog Items are typically written in a language that is understood by the targeted market.


Now have a look at the earlier posts about Transparency during the Scrum Events. During which of the Scrum Events will you use your Product Backlog to raise transparency? Certainly during Sprint Planning and the Sprint Review, and why not during the Daily Scrum and the Sprint Retrospective. 


Your Product Backlog is expected to bring a common understanding about the potential future capabilities of your product, and this for its stakeholders and for the entire Scrum Team.


Have a conversation with your team about

  • What does Transparency mean to you and your team?
  • And how do you and your team raise Transparency using the Product Backlog? How can you improve on this?


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.


The Sprint Retrospective does bring Transparency

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