Project management · Product management

Feature backlog template wanted

Stan SF Manager

January 6th, 2014

FD Comrades and Comradettes -

I'm interested in great product/feature backlog templates you've used or seen used (recently).  Thoughts?

Context:  Up to this point, I've been using several backlog templates and even used pivotaltracker (when possible), I just want to see if there are better tools out there.

Andy Keil Building smart products at Waldo Photos

January 6th, 2014

JIRA (complicated) is what I'm used to but Trello works well if your team isn't HUGE.

Will Koffel Co-Founder at Outlearn

January 6th, 2014

I agree with endorsements for Trello (for small teams), JIRA/Grasshopper for large ones (where you have a dedicated project manager who will manage JIRA, don't go there unless you are at that scale, or have a company full of process-loving engineers).  Asana is another that I see a lot out there, but I feel it does a worse job at managing a backlog in the traditional Agile sense, and I find the interface a lot less intuitive than Trello. (Trello is slowly ruining theirs by trying to push it mainstream with weird stickers and crap, but you can ignore it....for now at least....)

The hardest part about templates for backlog management is the Epic/Story issue.  That is, how to do mark epics, and divide them into stories at the right time, while still carrying forward the Epic identity into the story.  Pivotal finally launched a whole Epics area a few years back that tries to address this head-on instead of forcing it through tags, etc.

Don't underestimate the value of a set of index cards as a model.  If you have a co-located team, it can be quite charming, effective, and provides a high density of information as your team starts to use the cards in various ways.  Search around for teams using physical index cards, you'll find lots of tips.

Dhruv Vasishtha Product Management at Medidata Solutions

January 6th, 2014

I'm able to use trello for features --> bugs pretty well also for a 3-4 person team but have seen it done for teams of 15-20 depending on how easily you can define different workstreams and keep them separated

John Pearce Information Entrepreneur

January 7th, 2014

I would stick with Pivotal Tracker, the best I've encountered. As you use it, it gets smarter, calculating your team's velocity to project schedules, and enabling a simple and essential link between non-technical entrepreneur's "stories" about needed functions and programmers' completion of those features. Simple to change priority and sequence as well. A big thumbs up imho. -John Pearce

Anthony Zeoli Digital Strategy and WordPress Consultant and Trainer

January 6th, 2014

JIRA with Grasshopper is what I use and it's a very good system to keep track of your PBIs and move them in an out of a sprint. I would say that Pivotal Tracker is an equivalent tool. Tony Zeoli, Founding Partner WordPress | Digital Strategy | IA & UxD 810 W. 4th St, #309, Winston-Salem NC 27101 ✉ | Visit Our Site ☎ 917.705.4700 My profiles: [image: Facebook] [image: Twitter] [image: LinkedIn] Contact me: [image: Google Talk] djtonyz [image: Skype] tonyzeoli More words: BuddyPress - Build Social Networks with WordPress

Stan SF Manager

January 9th, 2014

Thanks for the input everyone.  Since we are working on the product on nights and weekends, I settled on Trello and made note of Jira once we're at that point.

Trello's task-driven orientation is excellent.

Rami Honig Writing Services

January 12th, 2014

I used to use Rally software.
They have features for everything you're looking for - and even give a free license for up to a few users.
I haven't used Jira - but heard it was more complex with a longer learning curve.
I found Rally intuitive and easy to use

Chris Hundley Entrepreneur in Residence at Madrona Venture Group

January 7th, 2014

At a small startup if you need more than Trello you may be doing it wrong (or have the wrong engineers). You can even get away with using Github issues if you happen to be using Github for your source repo. 

Stripe has 25+ engineers geographically dispersed and uses nothing but Github issues (last time I checked with a former colleague about two months ago).

Stas Oskin

January 7th, 2014

Jira is trying to push themselves into Agile PM market, but their bug tracker roots are still very visible in every corner. I would advise checking Rally as a good option for Agile PM.

Trello also a great / free for small teams to get started.

Just my 2c.

Luke Szyrmer Forward-Thinking, Creative Software Product Manager and Author

January 7th, 2014


I've been through a few options, and nothing beats stickies on a wall for a co-located team. If you really want to keep track of things over time, you can always use Excel, like for a product backlog. This approach focuses the whole team or multiple teams on having (occaisionally difficult) conversations and demoing product, which will always be more effective than any software-based solution. This approach takes advantage of how most people are wired, even though tool vendors would love to have you believe otherwise. If you're using Excel you can also do your financial modelling and other analysis in the same tool, as an added side benefit if you're a product manager.