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Exercises "Sprint Backlog"


Here you will find the definitions of the most important terms from this chapter.

Sprint Backlog

The Sprint Backlog is a list of tasks or activities to be carried out in the upcoming Sprint. The Commitment to the Sprint Backlog is the Sprint Goal. Entries for the Sprint Backlog are taken from the Product Backlog. Developers are responsible for the Sprint Backlog, but changes can only be made by the Product Owner. The Sprint Backlog should be hung up in the office for everyone to see; alternatively, a software-based Sprint Backlog can be used.

Sprint Goal

A Sprint Goal is defined for each Sprint during Sprint Planning, based on which the content of the Sprint Backlog is defined. The Sprint Goal is formulated by the Product Owner and serves as a target for the Developers. The Sprint Goal is the Commitment of the Developers to the Sprint Backlog. It should be formulated SMART and answer the question: Why is this Sprint being carried out?

Daily Scrum (= Daily Stand-up Meeting)

The Daily Scrum Meeting is a 15-minute daily meeting for the Developers. During the meeting, progress towards the Sprint Goal is reviewed and, if necessary, the Sprint Backlog is adjusted. The planned and pending work is coordinated among each other. The Daily Scrum improves communication, identifies impediments and promotes quick decision-making.


Impediments are obstacles or disturbances that prevent team members or the team from working properly and thus jeopardise the achievement of the Sprint Goal.

Sprint Planning Meeting

Each new Sprint starts with the Sprint Planning Meeting. During the meeting, the work to be done during the new Sprint is defined. The end result is a plan that is created in collaboration with the whole Scrum Team. The meeting is limited to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month Sprint, usually shorter for shorter Sprints. Topics addressed:

  • Why is this Sprint valuable?
  • What can be done in this Sprint?
  • How should the selected work be done?

Test yourself

Please answer the following questions independently. Take your time and think carefully about what you want to answer before having a look at the solutions.

What question should you ask yourself when creating the Sprint Goal?

Why is this Sprint being carried out?

What happens if the Sprint Goal is not / can not be achieved?

If during the Sprint the results do not meet the Sprint Goal, the Developers can renegotiate the focus of the Sprint with the Product Owner.

Who is allowed to change the Sprint Goal during a sprint?

The Sprint Goal may not be changed by anyone during the Sprint. However, the focus of the Sprint may be changed in consultation with the Product Owner. In addition, the Product Owner can stop the Sprint if the previously set Sprint Goal has become obsolete.

What acronym should you keep in mind when creating the Sprint Goal? What does it stand for?

The Sprint Goal should be formulated "SMART". SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable and time-bound.

What is the Sprint Backlog?

The Sprint Backlog

  • is the list of Product Backlog Items to be processed in the current Sprint,
  • consists of entries that are taken from the Product Backlog,
  • is the description of the technical measures (tasks) for implementation and realisation (e.g. design, architecture, programming, testing and refactoring),
  • is the responsibility of the Developers, as they make a prediction of the functionalities to be developed,
  • is placed in the office for all to see. Maintenance and updating is done timely to the Daily Scrum Meeting,
  • serves to visualise the progress.
Who is responsible for creating the Sprint Backlog?

The Developers are responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Sprint Backlog.

Who is allowed to make adjustments to the Sprint Backlog during the Sprint?

The Developers can make changes to the Sprint Backlog if, for example, it is determined during the Sprint that a task is more complex than estimated in advance.

What is the best way to display the Sprint Backlog, or how is it structured?

The Sprint Backlog is divided into four columns. On the far left, all user stories that were selected in the previous Sprint Planning Meeting are listed. At the top is the user story with the highest priority. The lower the user stories are listed in the Sprint Backlog, the lower their priority - similar to the Product Backlog. To the right in the To-Do column you can find the tasks that are necessary for the implementation of the respective user story into an Increment. The tasks are arranged as determined by the Developers in the Sprint Planning Meeting. The next column shows what is currently being done. The abbreviation "WIP" is often used for this, which stands for Work in Progress. The rightmost column lists the work that has been completed. The column is therefore called "Done".

When should a software-based Sprint Backlog be used?

If the Developers are distributed across different locations, a software-based Sprint Backlog should be used.

What does scope creep mean and what does it have to do with the Sprint Backlog?

Scope creep means that during the project life cycle, the scope for a project creeps and increases in an uncontrolled way. In agile projects, changing and adapting requirements is normal. However, during a Sprint there is a goal - the Sprint Goal - and tasks that have to be implemented. This means that scope creep can also occur in agile projects, related to individual Sprints. However, if the Sprint backlog is well managed, the Developers know exactly what they have to do to implement the tasks and thus the user story.