Build Your Backlog
The Backlog page is an inventory of all work items (user stories and defects) created in your project. This view provides a summary listing of all work items represented in Rally and is the gateway to viewing individual work item details and their associations. The product owner manages the backlog.
A user story is a statement of user functionality formulated as a few sentences in the everyday language of the user that can be completed within an iteration. The user story represents a placeholder for a later conversation regarding details and acceptance criteria. An agile workspace references work items.
Building the backlog consists of the following:
- Create backlog items
- Edit backlog items
- Prioritize the backlog
- Customize your backlog
- Print your backlog
- View status columns
- Work item fields
Watch the video below to see an overview of actions you can take on the Backlog page, learn about some best practices and advanced tips, and access a list of frequently asked questions:
Create backlog items
You can add a new user story or defect to the backlog page. You can add a work item with detail, or you can put in a minimum amount of information and add more later.
By default, the backlog page is sorted in descending rank order. Any item entered using the box at the top or bottom of the page adds your new item to the bottom of the backlog page as the lowest rank.
To add items from the top of the page:
- Click the +Add New button at top of the page. The following options display:
- Click the drop-down arrow to select the item type to add to your backlog.
- Enter the name of the new work item.
- Do one of the following:
- Click Add to add the work item to the backlog with only the name defined.
- Click Add with Details to launch the full work item editor page.
Your new backlog item is added to the bottom of the page indicating it has the lowest rank.
Note: Use the flair that appears at the top of the page to move the new backlog item to the top of the page.
To import stories:
- Select Page Tools in the upper-right corner of the backlog page.
- Click Import User Stories.
Note: Verify your CSV file is correctly formatted by downloading and using the Data Import Template. The header columns in these templates must be exactly reproduced in your CSV file for successful import. Each template can be modified for your import.
Concurrency conflicts may occur if multiple users edit the same work item. The first user to make their changes and click the Save & Close, Save & New, or Save buttons will have their changes committed. When subsequent users make their changes to the same work item then attempts to save, they are presented with an option to Review my changes or Overwrite with my version.
If you select Review my changes, you are returned to the work item editor so the changes can be copied and not lost. If you select Overwrite with my version, your changes are saved and the other users changes are overwritten. Overwrite with my version where attachments are added and edited will save both users' changes as well as apply deletions.
Edit backlog items
You can edit any work item on the Backlog page in-place, or you can launch the full editor.
To edit in-place:
- Double-click in any field in the selected row to edit that field.
- While using in-place edit mode, you can:
- Use your tab key to move from to move from field to field.
- The up and down keyboard arrows move you to the same field on the row above or below your current one.
- Press Esc to cancel any in-place field edit.
- Press Enter or click another field to save your changes.
To use the full editor, click the gear menu and select Edit...
To enter bulk edit mode:
- Select more than one work item by placing a check mark in the check box next on each row. The gear menu will switch to bulk edit mode .
- Click the bulk edit mode gear menu and select Edit...
- Choose the field that you want to edit and enter or select a new value.
- Click Apply to edit the selected work items.
To delete backlog items:
- From the Backlog page, click the gear icon next to the item you want to delete, and click Delete.
- From the detail page of the work item, click Actions, then select Delete.
Prioritize the backlog
Prioritizing means keeping the backlog in an order of importance. The product owner continuously tends the backlog as customer needs shift in importance. This activity is also referred to as ranking the backlog.
See Prioritizing the Backlog in Learn Agile for more information.
Drag-and-drop ranking is the rank method used in your backlog. Drag-and-drop ranking uses position to establish the relative priority order of a work item. With drag-and-drop ranking, you may prioritize work items by dragging them up or down in priority relative to other work items on the page.
To use drag-and-drop:
- Click the icon next to the work item you want to rank and drag it up or down on the page with respect to its siblings.
The work item is outlined with a solid black border. A red line indicates the new position that the work item will occupy when the item is dropped.
- Release the mouse button to drop the work item at its new position on the page.
To move a work item to a specific position, click the gear icon next to the work item and select one of the following
- Move to Top
- Move to Bottom
- Move to Position
|New work items||
Newly-created work items are positioned by default at the bottom of the page. Click Move to Top on the flare message that displays when you create a new work item on the Backlog page.
|Page ranking||If you have several pages worth of data on a particular tab (such as 200+ items in your backlog) and you use drag-and-drop to re-rank on the first page of the backlog it will have no impact on your second page of backlogged items.|
|Import/export||If you attempt to export a view and re-rank your data outside of Rally, your export will reflect a page order. Upon importing the data, your new page order will be preserved; however, the imported work items will be appended to the end of the view. Existing work items are not overwritten, but instead are treated as new work items.|
Customize your backlog
There are multiple ways that you can arrange or customize your backlog page to make management of your backlog items easy. You can:
- Add columns: Click the Columns link and select any column headings to add (including your own custom fields). Click Apply.
- Reorder columns: Drag and drop any column header to a new location.
- Sort by column: Click the column header to sort in ascending or descending order.
- Resize columns: Drag any column edge to resize it.
- Pagination: Set your pagination options to display a specific number per page (up to 200), or use the standard Previous, Next, and other commands.
- Filter: Select specific values from the column drop-downs to filter your backlog's view.
Some columns cannot be sorted and are disabled because of variable values by work item type.
Print your backlog
Once you have prioritized and customized your backlog, you may find it helpful to print it.
- From the Backlog page, select the Page Tools drop-down in the upper-right corner, then select Print.
- On the Print pop-up, specify the following:
- Format: Summary or Details
- Subtitle (optional)
- Click Print.
View status columns
You may add the task status column to your Backlog page display to see the state of tasks associated to your user story or defect. When displayed, the column will have a colored icon indicating the status of the associated items.
|No tasks associated to the work item|
|Tasks associated to the work item, all have a state of Defined|
|Tasks associated to the work item, at least one has a state of In Progress, none are blocked|
|Tasks associated to the work item, at least one is Blocked|
|Tasks associated to the work item, all have a state of Completed, none are blocked|
The Defect Status column is only applicable to user stories on the Backlog page.
|No defects associated to the user story|
|Defects associated to the user story, at least one does not have a state of Closed|
|Defects associated to the user story, all have a state of Closed|
Click a status icon to view a pop-up with detailed information on the discussions associated with the work item and add new comments without leaving the page. Use the Reply button to add a new comment. You may delete your old or erroneous comments by clicking the trashcan icon. Administrators may delete comments made by any user.
|No comments exist on the work item.|
|Comments exist on the work item. The number next to the icon represents the total number of comments.|
Work item fields
These field values can be set when creating or editing a work item.