Why TFS Backlog Management is an exciting tool for Product Owners

Product Owner is one of the key stakeholder in Scrum. Part of their responsibility is to have and demonstrate clear vision of what they want to build and why they want to build. That is the part where the Product Owner demonstrates the value of connecting the “Need” with “Intention” and which will be “Implemented” by the technical team. Other side of the Product Owner could be that they are the elite user of the product who wears multiple hats like

someone from marketing

someone from product management

someone with a solid understanding of users

someone with solid understanding of the market place and competition

someone with clear vision of future trends in that domain

and the list goes on..

So when they write requirements/features/user stories, many of the above factors play significant role. Not only in writing the story, they have the birds eye view, know what market wants, know what will give an edge in competitive market then order/prioritization features and stories accordingly. This part is critical. Typically, a product or product suite has many applications and features. Several Product Owners work in various parts of the product(s), however, there are high chances that they are in some silo focusing on their part with limited exposure to the larger eco system. Often end up developing parts in silos and late integrations that has high chances of impacting quality, goto market and integrations don’t work the way they were intended…inturn the implementation doesn’t align with the need…and you guess the rest…

What am I saying here – a tool can fix all these? Hmm, not really. However, would it be nice to have a tool that offers solution to some of these? TFS 2013 helps here and atleast 10 good things that come to mind

  1. Birds eye view of objects
    1. Goals à Features à Stories à Tasks/Issues/Bugs etcc
  2. Ability to pick and choose stories that meet minimum viable product
    1. Goal – Release x meeting minimum viable product with
      1. Feature 10
        1. Story 90
        2. Story 100
        3. Story 45
      2. Feature 22
        1. Story 78
        2. Story 33
      3. Feature 4
        1. Bug 100
        2. Bug 13
  3. Capabilities supporting prioritization and ordering at any level
  4. Capability to engage multiple teams to get the work done
    1. Teams have their own Product backlog (subset of Product backlog that contains Backlog Items pulled by the team)
    2. Teams have their own Sprint backlog (subset of Team’s product backlog that they committed on a given sprint)
  5. Ability to track the progress at any level
    1. Automatic aggregation of data from teams upto Product – example, Product X showing aggregate burn down from Team Blue and Team Red belongs to that product
  6. Capability to organize POs work such as grooming etc without troubling the teams
    1. Kanban board at each level to organize POs work – example, at product backlog level for Product X, PO can have New à Grooming à Groomed à Active à Done whereas these won’t bother Team’s workflow..
  7. Sprint management capabilities – although POs don’t mind how team’s work internally, it’d be nice take stab at it once in a while..
    1. Team level resource planning, capacity planning for a given sprint
    2. Task breakdown of sprint backlog items
    3. Task boards to manage daily standups
    4. Lightweight charts – create charts as needed easily in clicks and pin them for the team in home page
  8. Inbuilt Feedback mechanism – POs can explore the product and provide actionable feedback using the feedback tool. The same tool may be used to gain feedback from real end users as well and those feedbacks can be rated and shall converted to a backlog item in the Product Backlog or shall be converted to be a bug
  9. Consumable stories with storyboards
  10. Commitment and roadmap – A product with commitment from the makers and clear roadmap towards SAFe adoption

Mostly all are lightweight browser based interfaces without having to install anything – that means PO can be in any platform, as long as the OS offers a browser, everything should work


Further readings

Gartner Magic Quadrant for ADLM


Manage backlogs across multiple teams


Get and Manage Actionable feedback


PowerPoint Storyboarding



Lightweight Charts




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