A backlog is the accumulation of To Dos needing to be done.
The simple way to understand a backlog is to think about a pile of clean laundry. Your end goal is to have all the clothes folded and put away and each piece of clothing is a To Do to fold. While you're working on one To Do (or shirt), the backlog is the pile still sitting there and waiting to be folded.
Let's review it in process:
Jane's writing a textbook and her publisher is requesting the book for completion within the year. To break down the daunting 1200 page task, Jane is breaking down her To Dos and her backlog.
Jane knows that she has 20 chapters to write. She outlines the title of each chapter and begins planning each component necessary for the chapter. In Leantime, she begins to create these smaller sections as her To Do's.
Jane's To Do list becomes exponentially long. She begins to plan for her Sprint.
She decides she can complete 6 sections within the two week period and her To Do's look like this:
- Chapter Introduction
- The Microbiology of Viruses
- Flu Viruses
She's now given each To Do a Milestone, an effort size, and her progress state. Jane can now drag and drop these To Do's from the Backlog into her current Sprint. As she's done that, she can quickly prepare for the next Sprint by prioritizing the next items by dragging and dropping them into priority order.