Sprints are supposed to streamline your team’s workflow, but they can feel chaotic when priorities and timelines shift. If you don’t have an effective way to organize and triage tasks, it’s hard to manage your team’s workload and stay flexible in the face of change.
That’s where a sprint backlog template can help.
A sprint backlog template is a reusable guide that helps you plan and organize work for each project sprint. It documents each piece of information you need to keep tasks organized and on track—like estimated effort, priority, and status. Instead of starting from scratch for each new sprint, a sprint backlog template provides a system for your team to follow. All you have to do is copy your template, add tasks to your backlog, and start working.Read: What is a sprint backlog? How to create one, with examples
A sprint is a fixed period of time when a team works towards specific deliverables. Sprints typically last two weeks and are a core component of Agile project management frameworks, which are commonly used by product, engineering, or software development teams. Working in sprints gives teams an opportunity to iterate and continuously improve their processes—because when a sprint ends, the team records and incorporates their learnings into the next sprint.
Sprints are a living, breathing process. Your team starts with a list of incomplete tasks, then tackles them together over the course of the sprint. That means your sprint backlog template should be more than a static list of deliverables—it also needs to capture your team’s progress in real-time.
A digital sprint backlog template automatically updates as your team completes work, so you always know how much progress has been made. As a result, you can effectively manage your team’s workload and stay adaptable in the face of change.
By creating your sprint backlog template with a project management tool, you can:
Plan and collaborate on your sprint backlog in one central location.
See a bird’s-eye view of all the tasks your team needs to complete for your current sprint.
Move tasks through different stages as your team accomplishes work, so stakeholders can see the most up-to-date task and project status.
Easily add tasks to your sprint backlog template from your product backlog, without duplicating work.
Assign owners and due dates for each deliverable, so it’s clear who’s doing what by when.
Attach documents, links, or images to tasks to provide contextual information.
Easily adjust deadlines and owners if priorities shift.
Your sprint backlog template should track all the tasks your team will complete during a given sprint. This is different from a product backlog, which organizes all the upcoming work on your team’s plate. For a sprint backlog template, you just need to consider the deliverables your team will tackle during your next sprint.
To keep tasks organized and on track, include space to track the following information in your sprint backlog template:
Task name: A brief description of the task
Task type: The category of the task—for example, “bug,” or “feature.”
Level of effort: The estimated time or effort required to complete the task, often documented with story points.
Priority: How important the task is, within the context of your team and company goals.
User story: An informal explanation of each task from the perspective of an end user. User stories provide context for your team, and typically follow the format “As a [persona], I want to [goal], so that [result].”
Agile epic: The larger body of work each task is associated with. For example, a task to update mobile images might be part of a larger epic to refresh your overall mobile experience.
If you want to track the status of work, it’s also helpful to create sections in your template for each task completion stage. For example, you could create sections for “not started,” “developing,” “testing,” and “complete.” As your team accomplishes work, you can drag and drop tasks into their respective sections—or automate tasks to move on their own.
Want to further streamline your sprint process? Here are some ways to add additional functionality and save time for the work that matters.
Board View. Board View is a Kanban board-style view that displays your project’s information in columns. Columns are typically organized by work status (like To Do, Doing, and Done) but you can adjust column titles depending on your project needs. Within each column, tasks are displayed as cards, with a variety of associated information including task title, due date, and custom fields. Track work as it moves through stages and get at-a-glance insight into where your project stands.
Dependencies. Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well.
Start dates. Sometimes you don’t just need to track when a to-do is due—you also need to know when you should start working on it. Start times and dates give your team members a clear sense of how long each task should take to complete. Use start dates to set, track, and manage work to align your team's objectives and prevent dependencies from falling through the cracks.
Adding tasks to multiple projects. The nature of work is cross-functional. Teams need to be able to work effectively across departments. But if each department has their own filing system, work gets stalled and siloed. Asana makes it easy to track and manage tasks across multiple projects. This doesn't just reduce duplicative work and increase cross-team visibility. It also helps your team see tasks in context, view who’s working on what, and keep your team and tasks connected.
Jira. Create interactive, connected workflows between technical and business teams to increase visibility around the product development process in real-time—all without leaving Asana. Streamline project collaboration and hand offs. Quickly create Jira issues from within Asana so that work passes seamlessly between business and technical teams at the right time.
GitHub. Automatically sync GitHub pull request status updates to Asana tasks. Track progress on pull requests and improve cross-functional collaboration between technical and non-technical teams, all from within Asana.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
Slack. Turn ideas, work requests, and action items from Slack into trackable tasks and comments in Asana. Go from quick questions and action items to tasks with assignees and due dates. Easily capture work so requests and to-dos don’t get lost in Slack.
Copy and use your sprint backlog template during the sprint planning process. That’s when you look through your product roadmap and product backlog, identify tasks your team will tackle during your upcoming sprint, and add those tasks to your sprint backlog.
After your sprint planning session, you can continue to use your sprint backlog template to organize and manage work throughout the course of your sprint. If you’re a Scrum master, you can use your sprint backlog during each daily Scrum meeting, to show your team the backlog items they should prioritize each day. It can also be a helpful reference during sprint retrospective meetings, to provide context on what went well and what didn’t.
Share your template with everyone who participates in your sprint, so they can get full visibility into how your team prioritizes and tackles work. This includes stakeholders like the product owner or product manager, who may not actively work on tasks but are still involved in creating your product roadmap.
A sprint backlog template can also help standardize the sprint process across multiple teams. If you can, share your template with other team leads and Scrum masters who routinely organize sprints.
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