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Getting Started for Product Owners


If you are a Product Owner (or act as the team's customer, product manager, or business analyst), this topic highlights the features that are most helpful in defining, organizing, and tracking progress through the backlog that you build.

Step 1. Populate Your Backlog

The first step is to populate your project backlog by adding stories, backlog items, and defects. 

There are several ways to do this:

  • If your backlog is currently maintained in an Excel spreadsheet, you can import your stories in bulk.

  • Click on the plus icon in the Sidebar (left-pane menu options) to use the Add New button.

  • In any grid, click the Add Story button in the top right corner.

  • Click the Add New button in the Backlog panel of your Teamroom.

Step 2. Organize and Rank Backlog Items

After populating the backlog, the next step is to organize and rank the stories so the development team knows what to work on during the sprint/iteration and the order in which to complete the items. Use any of these options to fine tune your backlog:

  • Drag & Drop Ranking (also called prioritizing). Drag backlog items to the top or bottom of the grid, moving the most valuable items to the top and the least valuable to the bottom.

  • Portfolio Items. Create portfolio items to represent features that are too large to be estimated or that cannot be completed within the sprint. Portfolio items can be further broken down into stories and assigned to different projects, teams, or sprints.

  • Themes/Feature Groups. Use themes to segment your backlog into functional slices. You can then associate stories with themes to better organize and report on the work being done.

  • If you're not working in a TeamRoom, click on the plus icon in the left Sidebar (left-pane menu options), or just enter them directly into any backlog grid.


Step 3. Add Estimates to the Backlog Items

Estimates provide enough information about a story to prioritize and create a release plan. Estimates also help the team create realistic sprint plans.

You can make the estimation process even more collaborative using Estimably™, Agility's estimation game.


Step 4. Capture Acceptance Criteria

Acceptance Tests are used to verify the complete delivery of functionality. For each item, these tests further define scenarios under which the functionality is intended to work. 

  • Click Plan Story (Team > Sprint Planning > Detail Planning) in any story row in a grid menu to add tests using the Story Planner view.

  • View existing tests using the TestBoard or by expanding a parent workitem on the Detail Tracking view.

  • Alternatively, to view or manage tests on an item, click on the item to view its Details, and click on the Tests summary at the top (which displays if any tests exist on the item) or just click on the Manage Relationships link at the bottom and scroll down to the Tests grid.


Step 5. Collaborate With the Team

As your team begins working, you can use any of the Agility collaboration tools to keep up with what's going on.

  • Use the Conversations tab in your TeamRoom to ask questions and collaborate with fellow team members and/or the product owner. 

  • Create and publish ad-hoc Communities to share content (agreements, best practices, etc.) between users with common interests.

  • Estimate backlog with your teammates using the Estimably game available in your TeamRoom.

  • Access Mobile Connect from your mobile device to stay current when you are away from your computer.

Step 6. Track Progress

Use the following reports to understand progress:


Step 7. Search for Work Items

Type your search terms in the search box in the upper right corner of any page. Quick matches show up as you type.

If you want a more in-depth search, press Enter or click on the magnifying glass icon to get to open Advanced Search. Here, you can search for closed items, limit results to a specific asset type (e.g., just defects) and use filters to narrow your results.