Product Backlog vs Sprint Backlog: How Are They Different?

Product Management
November 8, 2022
3 mins read
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The difference between a product backlog and a sprint backlog is that the former lists all the tasks and items leading to the development of the end product while the latter includes select items that are a must to complete the sprint.

Product managers need to know what is a sprint backlog and a product backlog, as well as the differences between them to ensure successful product development.

So, let’s know about both product backlog and sprint backlogs and their key differences.

Product backlog vs Sprint Backlog

Using both product backlog and sprint backlog helps in streamlining product planning. Product managers should be familiar with both the backlogs to make informed decisions regarding which one to use and when.

  • Definition – A product backlog documents all items and tasks that must be completed for the successful development of the end product. Whereas, a sprint backlog contains items from the product backlog that needs to be completed within a sprint. In a nutshell, select items from the product backlog are taken to the sprint backlog.
  • Ownership – Product managers decide the product backlog items while the sprint backlog items are decided by the development teams.
  • Goals – A product backlog is created based on the entire product goal. But, a sprint backlog goal aligns with a particular sprint.
  • Possibility of change – A product backlog is a flexible document that keeps changing over time based on the customer vision. Whereas, a sprint backlog, once set in the planning meeting does not change.
  • Duration – A product backlog remains until the project is completed and requires maintenance. On the other hand, a sprint backlog ends with the sprint. With every new sprint, comes a new sprint backlog.
  • Prioritization – In a product backlog, the tasks are compared for their strategic importance and prioritized. Whereas, in a sprint backlog, the items are prioritized based on how crucial their function is and the estimate. This tells whether or not the task can be completed in the coming sprint or can be pushed to the next.
  • Refinement – A product backlog is continuously refined or updated as new items are added and the priorities change. Whereas, in sprint backlogs, the development team holds planning meetings before each sprint. They review the prioritized items and decide which ones need to be completed in the upcoming sprint.

How are Product backlog and sprint backlog related?

One of the differences between a product backlog and a sprint backlog is that a product backlog is independent of the sprint backlog. But a sprint backlog is the subset of a product backlog. Here’s a vivid explanation of how the two backlogs connect.

The tasks or items in a product backlog vary. Examples of product backlog – a product development team’s backlog may contain bugs and user stories. Whereas, a marketing team’s backlog may contain social media posts, campaign strategies, blogs, tutorials, etc.

Once in every sprint the product backlog items are reviewed, prioritized, and refined based on the objectives of the upcoming sprint. This is called the backlog grooming process.

After the items from the product backlog are prioritized, these select few items are escalated to the sprint backlog. Therefore, the sprint backlog captures those items or tasks from the product backlog that needs to be delivered within a sprint.

Difference between product backlog and sprint backlog
Product Backlog vs Sprint Backlog

Both product backlogs and sprint backlogs are important in the product development process. Though there are several differences between the two, the goal of both tools is to ensure the creation of the right product on time.

While a product backlog keeps all the product-related items organized and prioritized, a sprint backlog is necessary to motivate the development team and complete the work within the limited time.

Wrapping Up

A product backlog and a sprint backlog are essential for keeping the entire product development process transparent. They provide a clear view of the ongoing work progress and future plans as well.

So, without wasting any time create the right product backlog. Because it is from the ideal product backlog that you can build your sprint backlog.

Zeda.io has the necessary product management tools that can help you build the best products. The platform lets you plan and prioritize your product development with its backlogs, sprints, and live roadmaps.

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