🎃 We’ll add it to the backlog

23 May 2022 · Updated 05 July 2022

On a bright sunny day you wake up and go to work, grab a nice cappuccino from ViCAFE on your way there. You talk with one of your users while you’re commuting, he has millions of ideas how the product can be improved. You tell him it sounds exciting and will definitely be added to the backlog.

You’re in the elevator going up to the office and the CEO says he watched Mark Zuckerbergs speech on Metaverse and you should immediately start diving deep and figuring out ways to integrate that into the product. You tell them, the magic words “we’ll add it to the backlog”, while taking a small sip from your coffee trying to figure out why a cooking app needs to be web3.

Finally you get to you desk and open up your laptop. You start reading your emails but get interrupted by a software developer who is frustrated because of unresolved technical debt. You tell her that you understand and we’ll definitely add it to our backlog and will get on it ASAP.

You start looking at the current sprint and the product roadmap — it’s barely manageable, there’s too much work planned, there’s no place to add anything new, unless the timeline gets jeopardised and people overworked. 

Weeks go by, the tasks are still at the bottom of the backlog dying a slow death. You’ve already forgotten about them. Then your CEO asks for an update on the metaverse thing, why isn’t there a concrete plan for implementation yet. The angry user is annoyed that the features that he suggested are still not implemented. Software developer is angry because the technical debt keeps piling up and you need to act immediately.

In the series “Parks and Recreation”, April, the assistant, instead of saying NO and declining the meetings for her boss Ron — scheduled them on March 31st, assuming the date doesn’t exist. And when the date came, everything came crushing down with 94 Meetings scheduled on the same day. Ron was not pleased.

It’s the same issue here.

So, what happened? With your “It’s in the backlog” you created an expectation mismatch between you and your stakeholders. What they heard was “cool, soon it will be estimated, developed and released” while what you meant was “we have other priorities and the task will most likely die at the bottom of the backlog”. 

To avoid these types of situations — say no politely but firmly. It’s better to make it clear from the start, that the feature will not be implemented any time soon and will require research and data analysis before it is even considered to be in the backlog. 

At mindnow we’re proud of the features that we develop, but we’re also proud of the features that we protect the product from. 

Not every product needs to be on the blockchain.

Not every product needs their NFTs.

Not every product needs to be gamified.

Not every product needs to have machine learning.

Other Newsletter Issues: