Backlog Management: Making Sure  Your Backlog Is Lean 

A lot goes into running an online business. An online business can be classified as a variety of different things. You can run a website, build software, create an app or a wide range of other ventures. While more and more people are venturing online to start a business, it isn’t an easy task. There is not only a lot of competition but many new startups (whether online or not), will fail.

However, running a business today can also be easier than ever. There are many tools, software, and programs that can help with numerous aspects of your business. For example, with how important coding is to many businesses, there have been several different tools that can assist with your coding and monitoring your app. If you want to learn more about some of them, check out this link: JavaScript Error Logging Service Error Handling.

Unfortunately, trying to do too much or bloating your company with tools or other things can also often be problematic. Clutter or bloating in a company can cause many issues, and this is especially true when it comes to your backlog. A backlog is a collection or list of different new features, bug fixes, changes and more than your team wants to implement. If this backlog is too big or clogged up with stuff, it can hurt your business in many ways. It can slow down innovation, lead to confusion and can greatly reduce your time to market. With that in mind, this article is going to look at a couple of different tips to ensure your backlog is lean. 

Do Your Best to Prevent or Eliminate Waste

When you have a ton of unnecessary items in your backlog, it does nothing but wastes both time and resources. It can also make it quite tough to focus on the actual important items that could be buried in the backlog. As a result, you should get rid of any unnecessary entrants. Reducing the inventory to only things that are essential can go a long way. 

In addition to this, you should be sure to prevent any future waste or overproduction in your backlog. This means you should only look to provide what customers and users actually need, and not try to go above and beyond by overproducing. This will keep everything clean and concise and helps people focus on what is most important. 

Know When to Say No

As you are likely aware, it can be incredibly challenging to say no. This is especially true at the workplace and responding to colleague or coworker requests. However, when dealing with your backlog, it is incredibly important to be able to say no. Any ideas or potential entries that don’t contribute to the overall goal of the team should be declined.

This will ensure your product, software, company or program never becomes bloated. Sure, turning ideas down can be disheartening, it needs to be done. The less amount of items within the backlog, the leaner it will be. Even if something might be important later on, refrain from adding to the backlog to ensure it stays lean. Instead, you could add it to your roadmap or simply keep it on the back burner until it is time to make use of it.

Manage and Prioritize Your Backlog 

Of course, how your team actually manages the backlog can have a huge impact on how lean it is. You need to come up with a management plan and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding it. Everyone should be a part of ensuring the backlog is continuously updated and kept fresh. 

In addition to managing the backlog, it needs to be prioritized as well. You and your team need to work together to decide when and how each item should be implemented. Is it needed right now? Or can it wait for a future update? Addressing this early and often will make sure your team always knows how to move forward. 

In conclusion, hopefully, this blog post is able to help you make sure your backlog is lean. 

What you need to know about Agile Performance Management

Agility Words 3d Collage Modernize Improve Innovate Change

Agile performance management is a collaborative, continuous feedback and development practice that is steadily replacing traditional performance management.

Traditional performance management has proven to be insufficient to assess and enhance an employee’s contribution. Its primary focus is setting up a series of processes to measure the employee’s performance over the whole year. These processes end up having an unanticipated effect of managers focusing on employee’s weaknesses.

It is difficult to distinguish performance, except for the truly poor performers or high achievers. Being a year long process, below par or mediocre performers can’t be identified early on. Once a year performance review, with little to no feedback, gives no scope for development to the employees or the managers.

There needed to be a more dynamic performance management practice that could evolve and adapt according to the changing environment.

Elements of Traditional Performance Management:

  • Traditional performance management (TPM) reviewed employees annually or biannually. They were given a feedback for their overall performance of the year.
  • It set rigid goals for everyone for the entire year, that did not account for any changes. Employees were reviewed at the end of the year. They couldn’t fulfill these goals as unforeseen changes were not considered. This hampered their reviews to a high extent.
  • Spoon feeding was done on a large scale. Employees were believed to be inherently incapable of setting up their own goals.
  • Communication was a one way process. Employees felt their work is being dictated to them. Not only was this unproductive, but also created resentment at times.
  • Earlier, employees worked under tremendous pressure. Their performance review was largely dependent on their ability to deliver on time. Race to fulfill quantity often compromised on quality work.

Thus, Agile performance management was introduced. Its three key aspects are regular feedback, communication and coaching. These aspects bridge the gap between goal setting and performance evaluation.

Agile performance management focuses as much on the process as the end goals. Continuous improvement is the key.

Agile Performance Management [Infographic]

Let us look at a few ways to introduce agile performance management in your organisation:

Incorporate regular 360° feedback

In an age of instant communication, feedback should be given on an ongoing basis. A constructive feedback helps employees understand their strengths and weaknesses. Managers can help employees address the issues that hamper their productivity.

Similarly, employees can give regular feedback to their managers. It is the virtue of highly effective managers that they accept these feedback and improve themselves as well.

The stakeholders/customers too can share their expectations. A 360° feedback mechanism is highly beneficial for everyone involved.

Keep goals flexible

Employees are as different from each other as apples and oranges. Everyone works at a different pace. Individual goals should be assigned for individual development. These should be aligned with team goals for consistent growth and development. In case of any change in direction, they should be flexible enough to adapt to that change.

The expected outcome should be clear. Goals for the organisation as well as teams can be designed and modified accordingly. Goal setting frameworks such as either MBO (Management by Objectives) or OKR (Objectives & Key Results) are relied upon.

Collaborate more

Agile performance management lets employees find out their capabilities. Together they can determine a time frame in consensus for achieving their goals. This authority brings in a sense of accountability and boosts performance.

Focus on consistent development

Now, managers’ focus on consistently developing their employees through various means. It could be regular feedback, training or even recognition for their work. Developed employees are able to perform better and increase productivity.

Supportive Leadership to increase 2 way communication

Employees should be given an opportunity to voice their doubts. A 2 way communication ensures that the managers and employees are on the same page. There is a clear understanding of what is the purpose of their work and what is to be achieved. This ensures they do not deviate from the end goals and work hard to achieve them.

Agile performance management is changing the way organisations are looking at assessing & enhancing employee contributions. Not only build your softwares in an agile environment but also manage the employee performance with agility.

About the Author

yatin_profile-pic-%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bf%d0%b8%d1%8f-2

Yatin Pawar leads the Marketing and Content writing efforts at Amoeboids Technologies for UpRaise. Fascinated by all things Marketing, everyday he seeks to learn best practices and new concepts to help his company grow. A voracious reader, Yatin enjoys reading fiction, fantasy and mythological novels in leisure.

LinkedIn | Twitter | Medium


If you want to share this article the reference to Yatin Pawar and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.