Backlogs: How many do you have?


Backlogs are an inherent part of software companies — many articles talk about the need for a backlog, prioritizing it iteratively, having more details for higher priority items, etc. but there’s not much guidance on how many backlogs should a company have. And that’s what we’ll discuss in this blog post.

Some people I’ve come across think there needs to be one backlog and pick the top items from the list for implementation. That’s a flawed approach because in a typical ‘single backlog approach’ the items would be weighed in a mix of several business priorities and at the end of the day you’d have achieved less-than-100% of few things and not 100% of even one thing.

So, how many backlogs should a company have?

One?

Two?

Five?

One for each VP… maybe

multiple-goalsImage credit: thedigitalprojectmanager.com

The correct way to tackle backlogs is from the perspective of business priorities. Below is a simple step-by-step guide:

1. Jot down all the corporate objectives & business initiatives, with their preferred timing (let’s call them ‘goals’)

2. Allocate budget for each goal

3. Have a separate backlog for each goal

4. In each backlog, prioritize items with value, effort, and impact to its specific goal. Typically, the stronger an item impacts the goal the higher is its priority. This way the rank of each item in the backlog could be assessed against the impact to its goal.

5. Time the backlog implementation (based on the overall goal timing, see #1)

6. Using the allocated cost/resources, knock down items starting from the top of the list

I believe this method helps us to concentrate our resources, remain focused, and create meaningful impact to the business.

Would love to hear how many backlogs you have and on what basis do you build them!

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Top 9 differences between Terrific Companies & Terrible Companies


Sometimes the difference between success and failure is the result of how some companies approach their business and the values they stick to.

Here’s a list of differences between Terrific Companies & Terrible Companies, at least how I perceive them. Whilst the list could be long, I’ve trimmed it to the important ones.

This is a topic that is close to my heart, and has been sitting in the drafts for a while.

Hope you enjoy the list.

Terrific Companies Vs. Terrible Companies

Please do share your thoughts!

Strategic Planning


When you realize your current business is not growing or is declining fast, the best thing to do, after a sincere prayer to the Almighty God, is Strategic Planning.

In simple words, Strategic Planning is the process of retreating to the drawing board, understanding your mission & vision, assessing the current business situation, and aligning on strategic & tactical course corrections to realize your vision.

Let’s take a deeper look…

Strategic Planning

Typically, the participants in the process include:

  • Leadership team – CEO, Business Unit Heads, Heads of Product, Marketing, Sales, Engineering, Support, and Operations
  • External consultants – to ensure there is a third eye

The participants are required to do some assessment of various aspects of the current business situation.

Inputs to the Strategic Planning process/discussions

  • Vision/Mission
    • A mission statement clarifies the purpose of why you are doing the business
    • A vision statement is the end goal of where you want to get to, what you want to achieve
  • Current situation
    • Business
    • Operating environment
    • Organizational challenges
    • Challenges & obstacles
  • SWOT Analysis
  • PEST Analysis

During the process/discussions

  • You refresh and re-understand your mission and vision
  • You come up with ideas for course corrections on the way forward, both strategic and tactical moves
  • Align on the way forward to achieve your vision, with sub-goals & milestones in the form of roadmap(s)

Outputs from the Strategic Planning process

  • Clarity (vision/mission)
  • Improved Strategy
  • Revised Roadmap (goals/timelines)
  • Alternate Tactics
  • Stakeholder & org alignment

It’s essential to communicate the outcome with your organizations so they are aligned on the new direction with renewed energy and focus.

Frequency

  • The frequency at which a strategy planning is required is whenever there is a need to refresh the basics and the business direction and/or every 6/12/18 months as deemed appropriate for the company.

Would love your feedback on this short and simple article!