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PMF 6.1.1 - Working with Scrum Backlogs

Updated on June 10, 2020



The Project Management Framework supports functions and tools that allow you to effectively monitor and groom your scrum backlogs for successful sprint planning and project management.



The Project Management Framework supports functions and tools that allow you to effectively monitor and groom your scrum backlogs for successful sprint planning and project management. This article includes the following backlog topics:


About Scrum Backlogs

In PMF, backlogs are part of a product and associated with one or more projects.

    • A backlog is automatically created when you add a product.
    • A product usually contains a single backlog to prioritize work, but may contain more backlogs depending on the size and complexity of the applications.
    • Projects that share the same product can also share the same backlog.
    • User stories in a backlog can be moved from one backlog to another and one project to another.
    • Backlogs typically contain user stories, bugs, and issues but can also include tasks when fully detailed stories are moved to a backlog from a project.


Adding a Backlog

Backlogs are added by:

    • Adding a product
    • Selecting from the Actions menu.

  1. Select the product to hold the backlog.
  2. Enter the name of the backlog.
  3. Enter a description.
  4. Optionally, select a Product Owner and a Scrum Master from the list of project resources. These values are used in reporting.
  5. Click Create.


Displaying a Backlog

You can open and display backlogs associated with a project or a product.

  • From a project display, click from the Tree tab or select the Open Project Backlog action on the Detailstab.
  • Select from the Actions menu to display a list of product backlogs and click a row.
  • From the Backlogs tab of a product, click a row.

  • Because you are primarily interested in the highest priority features, the first 50 user stories in the backlog are initially listed on the Backlog tab.
  • To see items beyond 50, click the Show all items link (located at the top right of the backlog) to see all items in the backlog when there are more than 50; click the Show first 50 link to return to the original display.
  • Enter filter text in one or more of the blank fields directly above a list column and click Refresh to filter the list. To redisplay an unfiltered list, clear the filter fields and click Refresh.


The Details Tab

The Details tab displays a pie chart that breaks down user stories in the backlog by status and counts and totals the stories, story points, stories marked as ready and the points of those ready items.

    • Expand the Details section to view the description, product owner, and scrum master of the backlog.
    • Expand the Dates & Efforts section to view the initial, target, actual, and remaining effort totals and create and last update date of the backlog.
    • Click to maximize the size of the pie chart.
    • Click to display a count of user stories by status in the backlog that you can export to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
    • Select a row to drill down into the story detail for a status category including the story text, rank, ID, status, story points and epic name.


Bugs/Issues Tab

The Bugs/Issues tab lists the open bugs and issues linked to the backlog. You can place bugs directly into the backlog when you are are not sure when they will be addressed.

From each list you can:

  • Select a row to review and/or update it
  • Add, remove, and sort the content of the columns
  • Click Export to Excel to export the list to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
  • Click All Bugs to display a list of open and resolved bugs associated with the backlog
  • Click Bulk Process Bugs or Bulk Process Issues to perform bulk actions on open project bugs and issues
  • Click Refresh to update the list


Notes Tab

The Notes tab displays notes, questions and responses to questions added to the backlog.

  • Click a row to display a note or question.
  • From an Actions list, select the Add Note or Add Question action to add notes and questions.


The Attachments Tab

The Attachments tab displays a list of attachments added to the backlog and how many.

  • Click a row to display an attachment.
  • Click to delete an attachment.
  • Click New to add a new attachment.


Adding Stories to a Backlog

You can add stories to a backlog by:

  • Entering them manually one by one
  • Importing them from an Application Profile
  • Importing them from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

Manual Entry

    1. Open the backlog.
    2. Position your cursor on the row above the location where you want to add the story. Right-click and select the Add User Story option.


    1. In the modal window, enter your story details.

    1. Click Ok to insert it into the backlog.


Import from an Application Profile

This method imports use cases, work types, supporting types, and requirements from an Application Profile. See Import Tool for information about importing a profile into the framework.

    1. Open and display the Backlog.
    2. Click Import Profile on the backlog display.
    3. In the pop-up window, select the application profile you want to import.
    4. Click Insert to populate the window with the list of the use cases in the profile.

If you do not want to include a use case in the import, double-click the and set the box to blank.

  1. Click Submit to start the import of the profile data.
  • A user story is created for each use case that is checked
  • The work or supporting type in the Category column for the use case populates the epic field
  • Requirements linked to the use case are listed as acceptance criteria for the user story


Import from Excel

This option is helpful when you have a large number of new user stories to add to a backlog with a minimum amount of detail.

    1. Open the Backlog.
    2. From the Details tab, select Add User Stories from the actions list.

    1. Click Export to open the Microsoft Excel user story template.
    2. Enter user story data into the template. You can enter the name of the user story, a description, story points and an epic value.
    3. Save it to a local directory.
    4. From the Add User Stories action, click Import to populate the story grid on the action screen with the template data.

  1. Double-click a row to display a window where you can enter more detail to a story before adding it to the backlog.
  2. Click Submit to add the stories to the backlog tree.


Grooming a Backlog

PMF includes tools and actions to allow team members to perform grooming tasks on a backlog in preparation for moving them to a project sprint. See Best Practices for Managing Scrum Projects for useful tips and procedures for optimizing and managing your backlogs.

Status monitoring

Stories can be assigned the following statuses. When monitoring the backlog, stories can be filtered by statuses to show their readiness level and group them. This enables teams to quickly understand where each story stands in relation to its readiness for a sprint.

  • Pending-Details - there is not enough detail to begin sizing the story; defaults to this value when a story is added
  • Pending-Sizing - has enough detail to size the story; requires entry of the story description and acceptance criteria
  • Open-Ready - story is sized and ready to be pulled into a sprint; requires entry of the story description, story points and acceptance criteria
  • Pending Resizing - indicates the previous sizing was incorrect or needs to be re-evaluated; requires entry of the story description and acceptance criteria


Setting order and rank in the backlog

In a backlog, the rank is set by the position of the story in the list. You can reorder and set the rank of individual stories using one of the following methods.

Method 1:

    • Click the leftmost column (rank) of the backlog tree to drag a story to a new position in the backlog. A dashed line appears in the position where the item can be dropped.

    • The rank of the story is reset based on its position in the backlog.

Method 2:

  • Double-click a story to open the details window.
  • Enter the new rank in the Rank field and click Ok. Click Refresh to reorder the backlog display.



Dependencies help you identify the order of completion or scheduling of sprints, user stories and tasks in a project and can be established across multiple projects.

Adding and Editing Dependencies

You can add, edit, and remove dependencies to sprints, user stories and tasks in the same project or other projects.

    1. Select the row in a tree of the item, right-click and select from the action list.

  1. Select the project and the item (sprint, user story or task).
  2. Indicate whether this item is a Successor or Predecessorof the item you selected.
    • Click if you want to add another dependency for the item.
    • Click if you want to remove a dependency.
  3. Click OK. The Dependency value is updated to Yes in the tree grid when you click Refresh.


Viewing Dependencies

Dependencies are indicated by a Yes or No value in the Dependency column a project, sprint, or user story Tree tab.

Dependencies are also listed and can be displayed from the Dependencies section of the Details tab of sprints, user stories or tasks that have a dependent relationship.

Click an ID in the list to display and review the dependent item.


Bulk Processing

Backlog bulk processing actions save team members processing time used to perform redundant updates and assignments to user stories.

    1. Click Bulk Process to display a list of the backlog stories in a separate window.

  1. Check each story you want to bulk process and select the processing action.
  • Add Note - adds the note text and indicates whether the information should be included in a release note
  • Move Item - moves the user story to a another backlog or sprint
  • ReAssign - assigns the story to a project resource and sets a priority value
  • Update Epic - changes the epic value
  • Update Project Association - changes the project association
  • Withdraw - withdraws the stories
  • Click Process Work.


Backlog Reporting

Team members can view a real time summary of backlog information by product.

    1. From the Reports tab on the Home workspace, select Product Backlog Summary.

The report displays the story count, ready story count and total ready points for each of the backlogs associated with a product.

  1. Expand a backlog to see a list of the epics associated with the user stories in the backlog. A row labeled Epic:(Empty) indicates a list of stories not assigned to an epic.
  2. Click a row or item count to display the user stories for that backlog or epic. From there, you can drill down to the detail of each user story.


Documenting a Backlog

Team members can generate an easy-to-read document of user stories in a backlog that is structured in a story card format.

When printed, the output can be used as a visual aid for backlog grooming and story planning. See Documenting Project Progress for information about how to generate this document.

This article links to the following articles about working with scrum projects in the PMF 6.1.1 release.

Creating Scrum Projects

Adding Scrum Sprints and User Stories

Best Practices for Managing Scrum Projects


Return to About the Project Management Framework to access all PMF articles.


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