What is a Sprint Backlog?

Ruben Buijs

Founder & Digital Consultant

Written on Aug 10, 2023

2 minutes

Product Management

The Sprint Backlog is a key artifact in the Scrum framework for agile product development. It is a dynamic list of tasks and user stories that the development team plans to complete during a specific sprint, which is a time-boxed iteration typically lasting one to four weeks. The Sprint Backlog serves as a roadmap for the team's work and provides transparency into the progress of the sprint.


Here are a few examples of items you might find in a Sprint Backlog:

  • Develop login feature
  • Conduct user testing for new UI design
  • Refactor database queries for improved performance
  • Write unit tests for API endpoints
  • Create documentation for new functionality


The Sprint Backlog plays a crucial role in ensuring a successful sprint and achieving the overall project goals. Here's why it is important:

  1. Planning and prioritization: The Sprint Backlog helps the team prioritize tasks and user stories based on their value and dependencies. It ensures that the most important and high-priority items are completed first.

  2. Transparency and collaboration: By making the Sprint Backlog visible to the entire team, it fosters transparency and collaboration. Everyone can see what work is planned for the sprint, enabling effective communication and coordination.

  3. Focus and commitment: The Sprint Backlog defines a clear scope for the sprint, which helps the team stay focused on their goals. It also creates a sense of commitment as the team takes ownership of the backlog items they select for the sprint.

How to Use it

To effectively use the Sprint Backlog, follow these steps:

  1. Identify and prioritize user stories: Work with the product owner to identify and prioritize user stories for the sprint. User stories should be small, actionable, and bring value to the end-users.

  2. Break down user stories into tasks: Collaborate with the development team to break down each user story into smaller, manageable tasks. These tasks should be specific and achievable within the sprint timeframe.

  3. Estimate effort and assign tasks: Estimate the effort required for each task and assign them to individual team members based on their skills and availability. This helps in distributing the workload evenly.

  4. Update and track progress: Regularly update the Sprint Backlog as tasks are completed or new ones are added. Use a visual board or project management tool to track the progress of each task and ensure everyone is aware of the current status.

Useful Tips

Here are some useful tips to make the most out of your Sprint Backlog:

  • Keep the Sprint Backlog visible and accessible to the entire team. This promotes transparency and encourages collaboration.
  • Break down user stories into smaller tasks to improve clarity and facilitate better estimation.
  • Prioritize backlog items based on their value, dependencies, and risks to ensure the most important work is completed first.
  • Regularly review and update the Sprint Backlog during daily stand-up meetings to reflect the current state of the sprint.
  • Use burndown charts or other metrics to track the team's progress and identify any potential bottlenecks or issues.


A Sprint Backlog is a list of tasks that the development team plans to complete during a sprint.
The development team, in collaboration with the Scrum Master and Product Owner, creates the Sprint Backlog.
The Sprint Backlog consists of user stories, tasks, and any other work items that need to be completed during the sprint.
The Sprint Backlog contains selected items from the Product Backlog that the team commits to completing in the current sprint.
Ideally, the Sprint Backlog should remain unchanged during the sprint, but if necessary, the development team can negotiate with the Product Owner to add or remove items.
The development team is responsible for updating the Sprint Backlog throughout the sprint as tasks are completed or if there are any changes in requirements.
The Sprint Backlog should be reviewed and updated daily during the Daily Scrum meeting to ensure progress and adjust plans if needed.
Incomplete items in the Sprint Backlog are returned to the Product Backlog and can be considered for future sprints.
Yes, the Sprint Backlog can include items that are not directly related to user stories but are necessary for completing the sprint's goals.
The Sprint Backlog is typically accessible to the development team, Scrum Master, and Product Owner, but its visibility can be adjusted based on the team's needs.

Article by

Ruben Buijs

Ruben is the founder of ProductLift. I employ a decade of consulting experience from Ernst & Young to maximize clients' ROI on new Tech developments. I now help companies build better products

Table of contents

  1. Examples
  2. Importance
  3. How to Use it
  4. Useful Tips
  5. Related Terms

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