Should bugs be in a separate backlog?

Posted on July 7th, 2009 in Agile, Silver Catalyst by siddharta || No Comment

Mick Cohn posted a blog post on whether bugs should be in the product backlog or on a separate backlog. His conclusion is

  • Ideally you would have a single backlog of both features and bugs
  • But many organisations have an established bug database that is difficult to abolish
  • Therefore you maintain two backlogs and pull in the top items from both

I agree 100% with the first two points. But I don’t agree with the third point. Maintaining two backlogs is not a good idea because

  • You cannot get a holistic view of the entire work to be done if it is located in multiple places
  • You cannot do a proper prioritisation with two backlogs
  • Many bug tracking tools do not support absolute prioritization so it is tough to prioritse the bug backlog to start with
  • Your release plan, burndown, and metrics start going wrong if you have some stories in one tool and some in another one

Furthermore, what if you have customer support requests coming to your support tool and sales requests coming to your CRM tool? For example, we often get feature requests from users through our support helpdesk.  Things could easily start getting out of hand with three or four backlogs being maintained in multiple tools.

The solution is to use integration to pull all these items together into a single backlog and then manage them in one place. These are all tools, and (hopefully) you have ways of getting data in and out of them. So why is it so hard to simply take this data from the various tools and put it all in one place where they can be prioritized?

To illustrate what I mean, here is a video showing how you can integrate Silver Catalyst with Jira. You can add bugs into Jira as usual. When it is marked in Jira, it gets imported into the Silver Catalyst backlog where it can be managed and prioritised in a single backlog with all the rest of the features. When it is completed in Silver Catalyst, it is updated back in Jira. Check it out below

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