Better Backlogs

If you are new to Scrum and your students are having trouble keeping their backlogs full, here are some great tips to help your students better their backlogs.

  • Model It: Model what a backlog should look like, especially if this is your first time implementing Scrum.  List all of the things the students have to complete in order for the project to be considered “done” as a class. I typically list all of the things the students need to do on my white board. Don’t forget to make sure every story point has its own sticky note.
  • Start Small: Choose a project that should only take a couple days to complete. Movie or poster projects are great for beginners. When students start setting up their backlogs, it shouldn’t be too overwhelming.
  • Groom It: I am constantly walking around and checking my students’ backlogs. Story Points that only have the words “plan,” “research,” or any other words that one person cannot do alone are not good story points. Unpack those story points further. Change “plan” to “plan the advertisement logo” or “research” to “research the nucleus.”
  • Top Priority: Teach students to put their most important story points towards the top. In other words, what do we have to get done today in order to move onto the next sprint? Those story points should be moved to the top of the Scrum Board.

Now that you know how to help your students monitor their backlog, your students will be more efficient and effective when completing their group projects.


  1. Yes! This is a great article. I love the easy-to-follow steps for those new to Scrum. It is such an excellent tool for promoting group work (that isn’t painful!) in the classroom. Thanks, Joe!

  2. These tips are really helpful. I plan to try a mini Scrum project in the next few weeks.

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