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Area Product Backlog

Requirement areas are customer-centric categories of PBIs. Example requirement areas: for a digital press printer, color workflow and transaction printing; for an internet portal area, ads and news; for a telecom system, protocols, performance, and network management (see Figure 1). Discovering the requirement areas is surprisingly easy. For example, in Berlin we once simply wrote PBIs on cards, spread them on the floor, and asked the PO and others to group them—affinity clustering into the requirement areas.

Figure 1. Adding Requirement Area to Product Backlog.

Note: An Area Backlog is a view into the PB based on the requirement area (Figure 2). Each PBI belongs to one Area Backlog, and vice versa.

Area Backlog Items are finer-grained than PBIs. The PB contains fewer items and they are more coarse-grained, making it manageable. Remember though, when a large item is split the priority of the resulting fine-grained items is not the same. When this difference is big, then it must be reflected in the PB so that it is visible to the PO.

Figure 1. Area Product Backlog.

The Area Backlog Items are handled independently in each requirement area. This involves a separate person—an Area Product Owner (APO), and the teams in that area. The Area Product Owner specializes in a customer-centric area and acts as PO in relation to the teams for that area.