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How to 'scrub' a backlog?

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  • 1.  How to 'scrub' a backlog?

    Posted 04-24-2020 06:28 PM
    Does anyone have a list of what to look for when 'scrubbing' a backlog?I'm interested in compiling a list of what to look at each sprint or PI in order to ensure accuracy in Rally. This subject refers to inconsistencies or errors or omissions that may not be immediately recognized in your standard 2-3 views. 
    One example is unparented US; another is US that are not Accepted but are in an iteration that is in the past. Thanks.


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    [Design Program Coach / ScrumMaster]
    [Aetna]
    [CO]
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  • 2.  RE: How to 'scrub' a backlog?

    Posted 04-27-2020 09:24 AM

    I use a custom app that is called PI Capacity Planning Page for us. On that page we have several data checks for 1) Features missing preliminary estimates 2) Features missing description or acceptance criteria 3) Features missing parents 4) Features missing planned dates

    I don't know of another way to do it other than just add the individual apps to a page. Hope this was helpful.



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    Cherri Reddick
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  • 3.  RE: How to 'scrub' a backlog?
    Best Answer

    Posted 04-27-2020 10:44 AM
    Hi @Grant Warden,

    The newer pages in Rally tend to have warning triangle items when there are things to be concerned over. If the pages and not giving you the full set of data you would like, then you could potentially use the Query Counter app (https://github.com/RallyCommunity/query-counter) and set up a page for your user stories that is similar to this one that a customer set up for portfolio items. The query counter is to the left and a custom list app with multiple saved views is on the right to give the details.



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    Nik
    Ask me a question, I'm All Ears!
    Rally Sales Engineer
    Rally Software
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  • 4.  RE: How to 'scrub' a backlog?

    Posted 04-27-2020 12:02 PM
    Hi @Grant Warden,

    Just to be clear, they are two interpretations of the word 'backlog'. In Rally, we normally consider the "Unscheduled" stories as in the backlog. Eveything else is scheduled to be done in a timebox (Iteration or Release). Stories that are in an Iteration could be considered to be in the "Sprint Backlog", but that is a term more common with Jira

    For the Unscheduled Backlog, to answer your question in a different way, the things you need to look out for are dependent on your Definition Of Ready (DoR).

    If you start with the fundamentals, each story should have a Size, and the backlog prioritised. Missing size is easy to spot - the 'wrong' size is harder. If you use something like Planning Poker (https://github.com/nikantonelli/Planning-Poker), then you might end up with a more reliable way of getting the 'right' sizing. So, in effect, your DoR​ must contain the phrase "Each Story goes through Planning Poker to be accepted into an iteration". If you go through Planning Poker, it will become obvious as to whether the story contains other important fields, such as: correct title, acceptance criteria, owner, etc. However, these are fields that you could check with the Query Counter app as well.

    By the sounds of it, you are asking a more generally question: "How do I see stuff that is not as it should be?" Once again, that also becomes a bit dependent of your style or working. Stuff that teams running Scrum style are worried about may be different from those teams that are purely Kanban style.

    To sum up: the Query Counter app can give you a lot of answers on one page. It will only give you pointers of things to look at. You are still going to need the details. There are some metrics that you can read to help with 'alignment', aka preparation: stories that have features, stories that are not sized, have an owner, have some text in the description, etc. There are a few more that you can look for when looking for 'visibility', aka execution (in these times of remote working, this has to be in the tool rather than walking the floors): Stories that weren't finished in the sprint, stories in progress but not sized, stories in Completed state with unfinished Tasks, etc.

    Other apps might give you help with the progress, but are not immediately obvious. For the alignment phase you might want to consider: Stories that have dependencies that are out of sequence/invalid. An example of this type for the visiblity stage would be setting sprint capacity (hours) for each user, allocating tasks to them and then finding that they were running out of working hours as the sprint progress. See here for that one: https://github.com/nikantonelli/TeamLoading

    A bit long, but I hope it helps.


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    Nik
    Ask me a question, I'm All Ears!
    Rally Sales Engineer
    Rally Software
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  • 5.  RE: How to 'scrub' a backlog?

    Posted 05-01-2020 11:46 AM
    The custom list app can show you just about any data you want. See below that should work for your example of seeing stories that don't have a feature.




  • 6.  RE: How to 'scrub' a backlog?

    Posted 05-04-2020 10:58 AM
    I have saved filters in the Work Views that look for unparented user stories, completed stories in the past without an iteration or release assigned, etc.

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    Services Architect - Clarity PPM
    Enterprise Studio by HCL Technologies
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  • 7.  RE: How to 'scrub' a backlog?

    Posted 05-04-2020 11:21 AM

    Our Enterprise Agile Office configured Portfolio and Backlog Integrity Dashboards comprised of a number of views that show unparented items, items w/ missing key attributes, items with Planned Start/End Dates that have expired, unsized items, etc.  Most of the views present item lists that enable immediate updates for convenience.  We've contemplated the notion of portfolio/backlog scorecards at organization, program and team level, but have not yet instituted this.

     

    Chris Kennedy

    Program Manager
    Digital Ventures & Transformation