How to Create a Backlog for a Mobile App: Devlight’s Guide
Build an effective backlog for a mobile app with Devlight. We discuss how to create a backlog by prioritizing its key features and share our own backlog template.
Why Is It Important to Create a Backlog for a Mobile App?
A prioritized list of tasks or features that will help you accomplish your product’s objectives and establish team expectations is known as a product backlog. In general, each development product needs to have its own backlog. Similarly to this, a specific project team should be assigned to each product backlog. Developers use the tasks in the product backlog to move as swiftly as possible toward their intended results.
Generally speaking, a backlog for a mobile app is an artifact that collects and organizes all the requirements for a future application. This document describes everything that needs to be implemented in the development process. With the help of the backlog, you will understand the complexity and size of the project and how much needs to be done to estimate the cost and development time roughly. This is the starting point for the development of your app.
How to Create a Backlog for a Mobile App in 5 Steps
Each backlog for a mobile app example is more than just a simple to-do list; it is a place where difficult activities are broken down into manageable chunks and assigned to team members. To create a successful product backlog, follow these five stages:
Step 1. Define the Goals and Objectives of the App
Before starting to create a backlog, it is important to understand the goals and objectives of your product. What is your app for, and what problems should it solve? Do some preparatory work: validate your idea, fill trend canvas for better understanding of the environment, find your market and target audience, do a competitor analysis, validate hypotheses about your product, define a unique value proposition, and create a user journey map.
Step 2. Identify the App’s Key Features
Based on the goals and objectives of the program, determine the features that are important for the app’s success. To find features, you can brainstorm with the team. Market research and competitor analysis will also help in finding important features.
It is important to look at the system as a whole and think about combining and integrating features. You should look at your future application from different angles and try on all the user roles. For example, you have an app with ads for renting apartments. It is important to look at the roles and features for a user who wants to rent an apartment and for a landlord or realtor who wants to rent it out. They have different roles and purposes for using the application, and their necessary features will differ.
You can scatter “epics” at the top level. An epic is a large volume of work that can be broken down into several smaller tasks. It helps organize work and build a hierarchy. You break down your work into components without stopping to move toward a large-scale goal.
For example, we are developing a neobank application. You can record the “Registration and onboarding” epic, which will consist of the following:
- Opening the card;
- Product tips & instructions;
- Log In categories.
In turn, the categories will be divided into features. The “Onboarding” category will be divided into:
- Splash screen;
- Slides with information on available banking products and services;
- Additional onboarding slides.
“Registration” will be divided into the next features:
- Quick registration (phone + one-time password (OTP));
- Resend OTP or change number;
- Set password/login pin;
- Allowing entry by biometrics;
- Phone verification.
Step 3. Prioritize the Features
Sort and prioritize your most essential tasks after your team has listed every item in the product backlog. Put the customer first and think about what features will be most valuable to them to determine what should be given top priority. You also need to allocate features to releases — what will go to MVP or Beta version, and what will go to the next versions.
At Devlight, we use the Kano method of prioritizing when creating the backlog for a mobile app. The Kano model is a coordinate system where the client’s needs are displayed on the horizontal axis, which can be divided into three points:
- Mandatory or basic features: the user won’t consider your product if you don’t have this feature;
- Performance features: the more you invest in their development, the higher the level of user satisfaction will be;
- Exciting features: the users do not expect them, but they excite them.
The idea behind Kano’s core model is that the more time, money, and effort you spend creating, implementing, and improving features from each category, the higher your user satisfaction will be.
The Kano model is useful when you need to prioritize product features based on user-perceived value. Perception is the key word. If the user lives in the desert, they will not be inspired by the raincoat. You need to know your customer well if you want to use the Kano model.
How to create a backlog based on the Kano model? Prepare a Kano questionnaire that users will have to fill in, answering how they feel about each feature. Read more in our article on competitor analysis.
Step 4. Organize the Backlog
Creating a list of product backlog items requires keeping in mind your product plan. These items should include both urgent matters and more abstract concepts. You’ll also need to interact with stakeholders during this stage of product backlog creation to hear their suggestions for product enhancements. You can schedule this discussion as a part of your sprint planning meeting if you’re following the Agile methodology.
How to create a backlog with a properly arranged structure? Organize it the in a way that makes sense for your development team. Usually, the initial organization can be in Google Sheets or Excel. Next, you could use a project management tool like Jira, Trello, or Asana for detailing and presenting.
Step 5. Continuously Review and Update the Backlog
Any backlog for a mobile app example is a living document that should be reviewed and updated regularly. As you develop the app, you may discover new features or tasks that need to be added to the backlog, or you may need to reprioritize the existing backlog based on changing requirements or feedback from users.
Product owners must divide the backlog features into near-term and long-term items as it grows. It also means that estimates from development have been established and that collaboration with design and development has been arranged.
Though acquiring an approximate estimate from the development team to help prioritize them is a good idea, longer-term items can continue to be a little hazy. The crucial word here is “rough” because estimations will change once the team fully comprehends and starts working on those longer-term things.
The product owner and the development team communicate with each other through the backlog for a mobile app. Due to user feedback, improving estimates, and new needs, the product owner is able to re-prioritize work in the backlog at any moment. However, keep changes to a minimum after work has begun, as too many will disrupt the development team and interfere with productivity and flow.
Backlog for Mobile App: Template
A product backlog offers a high-level overview of potential future additions to the product, but its true value lies in its capacity to group, hone, and specify action items. In the end, you’ll be able to concentrate on methodically enhancing the value of your product rather than attempting to sort through the confusion.
Backlog for a Mobile App Example
Discover our backlog example to access the database of your extensive experience gained by developing 6 Neobank Apps. Also, you receive examples for the following Epics: User profile settings, Notification center, Accounts, Cards, Transactions, Budgeting, Payments, Credit, and Cashback & Loyalty. See how simple it is to communicate, edit, and modify this crucial part of your development process by starting to build your product backlog with Devlight.
Tool for Creating a Backlog for Mobile App
Let’s go through each of these amazing applications in more detail and see how to create a backlog by using convenient tools:
While not a dedicated project management tool, Excel can be a simple and effective way to create a backlog for your mobile app. You can create a spreadsheet with columns for task description, priority, status, and deadline, and use filters and sorting to manage your backlog.
Google Sheets is another great option for creating a backlog for a mobile app. You can create a spreadsheet with columns for task name, description, priority, status, deadline, and assignee. You can also use conditional formatting and filters to highlight important tasks or sort tasks by priority or deadline. Google Sheets also allows you to collaborate with others in real-time, making it easy to manage your mobile app backlog with your team.
Jira Service Management offers a robust framework for grouping, ranking, and tracking work items, which aids in managing backlog for a mobile app. Backlog items can be assigned to specific team members or groups for execution after being sorted and prioritized according to criteria like urgency, complexity, or business value.
Agile boards and burndown charts, two effective visualization tools offered by Jira Service Management, allow teams to monitor progress and spot potential obstacles in real-time. Many automation capabilities provided by Jira Service Management, like rule-based workflows and automated notifications, can help teams work more efficiently and with less administrative effort.
The most important functions include incident management, problem management, change management, and service request management, all of which can be fully customized to meet the particular requirements of each firm. Further features include a self-service portal, SLA tracking and reporting, automated ticket routing and escalation rules, and a status-tracking system for requests.
Trello is a popular project management tool that allows you to create lists of tasks, organize them into boards, and collaborate with others. You can create cards for each task in your mobile app backlog and move them through different stages as they are completed.
Trello’s no-code automation allows you to set up rules that assign members automatically or generate checklists whenever a card is moved into a list. This makes it simple to alter a task’s owner when its status changes or to generate lists of subtasks for the project’s next phase.
Asana is a versatile project management tool that offers features such as task lists, timelines, and calendars. You can create a backlog for your mobile app and organize tasks into sections such as design, development, testing, and release.
You can maintain a current, ongoing list of all the items of your backlog for a mobile app by maintaining sections or projects in Asana. You may filter tasks in your backlog using custom fields to help you choose what to prioritize next. Moving items to and from the backlog is simple in Asana. Epics, user stories, and features can all be added.
Backlog for Mobile App: Common Mistakes
The product backlog should be a straightforward yet effective method for documenting and revising specific product decisions and managing the activity of the development team. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to use this tool effectively. Here we discuss which mistakes you should avoid in the beginning to not cause more problems during your future backlog management:
Excluding Functions Mandatory for Management
How to create a backlog that would be easily manageable? It’s crucial that you can integrate all of your data when you establish an app and across some of the other platforms you use for your business.
Features of connectivity aid in the synchronization of data required for greater consumer insights. Teams, from sales and service to marketing, may work more successfully and dismantle information silos when data is matched. This facilitates decision-making more quickly, increases organizational transparency, and enhances team productivity. Include developing analytics, crash analytics, splash screen, and deep linking into backlog, as these unobvious features are necessary for proper app management.
Creating a Backlog Based on a Single User’s Story
If we take our previous backlog for a mobile app example, you risk losing the target audience by disabling any role in the application. If you create an apartment renting app, it would be a huge mistake to focus just on apartment owners who want to share advertisements and not develop any tenant-oriented features like messaging, saving ads, and filtering the search results.
It will be impossible to prioritize the backlog if the product owner doesn’t have a clear vision of all app’s users. To avoid this, the product owner needs to have a clear vision of the app’s functionality and communicate it to all stakeholders. The team can jointly create and carry out a sprint planning to concentrate on needs and actual commercial value if the product owner requires help.
Forgetting About Different Access Levels
One common mistake that developers often make when creating a mobile app backlog is forgetting to consider the different access levels that users may have. In other words, not all users will have the same level of access to the app’s features and functionality.
For example, a mobile app for a healthcare provider may have different access levels for patients, doctors, and administrative staff. Patients may only have access to certain features such as viewing their medical records and scheduling appointments, while doctors may have access to additional features such as prescribing medication and reviewing lab results. Administrative staff may have access to all features, including the ability to manage patient records and billing.
If these different access levels are not taken into account when creating the mobile app backlog, it can lead to confusion and delays in the development process. Features may be developed that are not necessary or relevant for certain user groups, while critical features may be overlooked for others.
To avoid this mistake, it is important to conduct a thorough analysis of the various user groups that will be using the mobile app and determine their specific access needs. This can be achieved through user interviews, surveys, and other research methods.
Once the different access levels have been identified, they should be clearly defined and incorporated into the mobile app backlog. This will ensure that the development team is aware of the various user needs and can prioritize features accordingly.
Omitting Non-functional Requirements
When creating a mobile app, it is not only essential to consider the functional requirements but also the non-functional requirements. Non-functional requirements are those that define the quality attributes of the mobile app, such as performance, security, usability, and scalability.
However, one common mistake that developers make when creating a mobile app backlog is omitting non-functional requirements. This can result in a mobile app that is technically sound but lacks in quality, performance, or user experience.
For example, if you plan to build a product with the ability to support multiple languages, you should include this in your initial backlog for a mobile app example. Depending on the specific technical specifications of the existing app, some features can be retrofitted or changed to incorporate this option with varied degrees of complexity. Serious technical work will be required if multiple language capabilities were not considered from the beginning.
To avoid this mistake, it is crucial to identify and include non-functional requirements in the mobile app backlog. This can be achieved through discussions with stakeholders, conducting user surveys, and analyzing industry best practices.
Not Taking Into Account Future App Updates
Generally speaking, the backlog serves as a catalog of all efforts and projects connected to a certain product. A feature will not be completed if it is not added to the backlog. This indicates that a wide range of diverse things lives there, including but not limited to:
- New capabilities;
- Updated infrastructure;
- Modifications to current functionality;
- Corrections for bugs;
- Debt reduction and refactoring.
App updates are that backlog for a mobile app segment where many developers stumble upon the same mistake. For example, add a notification feature for the users to be reminded of when they need to update an app. If you don’t include update management in the backlog, it is practically impossible to add it later.
Wanting to Do Everything in the First Version
It is natural to want to include all the features and functionality in the first version to create a comprehensive product. However, wanting to do everything in the first version of a mobile app is a common mistake that can have significant risks and consequences.
One of the biggest risks of trying to do everything in the first version of a mobile app is that it can lead to an overly complex and bloated product. This can result in a mobile app that is difficult to use, navigate, and understand, which can ultimately lead to poor user adoption and negative reviews.
Additionally, attempting to do everything in the first version of a mobile app can lead to long development cycles and delayed launches. This can put the mobile app at a disadvantage in the market, as it may miss important opportunities or fail to meet user needs.
To avoid these risks, it is crucial to focus on the essential features and functionality that are critical to the success of the mobile app. This can be achieved by conducting user research, analyzing industry trends, and prioritizing features based on their impact on the user experience and business goals.
It is also important to continuously review and evaluate the features and functionality of the mobile app to ensure that they are still relevant and aligned with user needs and business goals.
How to Create a Backlog for a Mobile App: Summary
A backlog for a mobile app is an effective tool for the product manager because it signals a shift from long-term planning to short-term actions. The abilities you get as a product leader to manage, prioritize, update, and maintain the backlog will help you create excellent products and boost the performance of your business as a whole.
Creating a backlog is quite a creative process. There can be different backlogs, but the form is not important — the content is. So, whatever approach you choose, ensure to include the maximum necessary features. Besides, leave the backlog manageable so that you can adjust it when new perspectives appear.
How to Create a Backlog for a Mobile App: FAQ
What Is a Product Backlog in Agile?
The product backlog is a list of features that have been carefully prioritized and may eventually be pushed into the development stage for implementation. How to create a backlog? Splitting the backlog into two lists — the long-term master backlog and the short-term executable backlog — is a good technique (also called a sprint backlog, as it can include one or more sprints).
Why Do You Need to Create a Backlog for a Mobile App?
Creating a backlog is an essential part of the development process for a mobile app. A backlog is a list of features, functionality, and tasks that need to be completed to deliver the mobile app to the market.
The importance of creating a backlog for a mobile app lies in its ability to ensure that the development process is organized, efficient, and focused on delivering a product that meets user needs and business goals.
Who Uses a Backlog for a Mobile App?
Any developer can use a product backlog, although Agile teams tend to use them the most. In Agile projects, the teams focus their time on producing new products and making changes as the project develops. The items in the product backlog aren’t mandatory, and you’re not required to do every one of them because the Agile technique is flexible. Also, Agile teams frequently modify their product backlogs to re-prioritize work as necessary.
Use our backlog for a mobile app example to better understand what a product’s backlog looks like!