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How to manage your backlog with Shortcut

Tiffany Go

Building a process for backlog management is incredibly valuable. It allows product and development stakeholders to surface unprioritized work, ensuring none of that work slips through the cracks and starts turning into a big pile of stuff that never gets done.

Shortcut's flexibility makes it easy to manage your backlog no matter what sort of process your team follows internally. Here are just some of the ways you can use Shortcut to enhance your process and get a more in-depth view of your backlog management.

Manage your day to day backlog with Spaces

Creating a backlog Space allows you to stack rank your Stories, irrespective of the Epics, Iterations, or Milestones they might be part of. These backlog Spaces are a handy tool for planning meetings to get everyone on the same page with what the upcoming priorities should be.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Create a Backlog Space by filtering to your unstarted workflow state. 
  2. Adjust the Story density to Title Only so that you can quickly scan the list of backlogged Stories without added noise. 

Create Spaces to manage your backlog

Drag Stories up and down the list to manage priorities. And be sure to share your Space with the rest of your squad or team; that way, if folks are looking for Stories to pick up, they know where to go.

Note: Since each Space you create is linked to a Workflow, you'll want a Space for each Workflow you're interested in creating a backlog for. For example, if you want a backlog for Mobile, then you'll tie it to your Mobile workflow (or whatever workflow your mobile work is part of).

Manage your weekly and monthly backlog with Iterations

The Iterations Story Slider allows you to drill into work by either Workflow State or Epic, whoever you and your team prefer.

If you choose the "Not Started" Workflow State (as shown below), a list of all Stories that are in that State will appear. This means that any Stories that are not part of an Iteration will appear in the Story Slider.

Use the Iteration Story Slider to see all backlogged Stories

Another approach is to create an Iterations Backlog. That's what our marketing team does for all the technical work assigned to our marketing developer (Jennifer. She's very nice and good at what she does).

During our weekly stand-ups, we talk about important Stories. If there's too much work in the current Iteration, we take the unprioritized (but important) Stories and place them into the Marketing Backlog Iteration. Jennifer can then pull work from there if she's speeding through the current iteration, or we can use this nice group of backlogged Stories that we can refer to when we're ready to plan our next Iteration.

Create an Iterations backlog

Manage your quarterly backlog with Epics and Milestones

Many teams use Epics to breakdown and organize larger bodies of work. We certainly do. Maybe you do too. We also use Milestones to organize our Epics over longer periods of time, like quarters. This makes Milestones very useful for quarterly planning. The Milestone Page is a great place to quickly view the Epic Backlog because any Epic not currently connected to a Milestone will simply be in the Epic Backlog waiting for you to look at it. You can then use Epic Labels to filter the Backlog even further.

This particular functionality is useful when you're planning a new feature that includes work spanning multiple Epics over several quarters. Your product lead can create all the necessary Epics and then pull them into quarterly Milestones when the time is right. Thanks to the Epic Backlog, none of the Milestone-free Epics slip through the cracks and be forgotten by history.

Use the Epic Backlog on the Milestones page to manage unprioirtized Epics

Have questions? Comments? Other tips to add? Head over to our Slack Community to ask questions and discuss how you're using Shortcut to manage your backlog.

And check out for more information. We're here to help. And also to project manage. But mostly to help.

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