Comparing the Product and Sprint Backlogs
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Comparing the Product and Sprint Backlogs

Visual Studio 2010

The product backlog and the sprint backlog serve similar but distinct purposes. The product backlog is primarily managed by your product owner and contains a high-level view of all the work that your team must complete to create the product. Your product owner ranks the user stories in the product backlog and provides sufficient detail during the sprint planning meeting so that your team can estimate and implement each user story.

In contrast, your team creates the sprint backlog, which contains a detailed list of all the tasks that your team must complete to finish the user stories for the sprint. In the product backlog, your team estimates user stories with the relative unit of story points. In the sprint backlog, your team estimates tasks in hours.

Your product owner updates the product backlog every week, but your team updates the sprint backlog at least daily.

Your product owner maintains the same product backlog throughout the project, but your team creates a new sprint backlog for each sprint.

The following table details many of the key differences between product and sprint backlogs.


Product Backlog

Sprint Backlog

Level of detail

Less detailed

Very detailed

Estimation units

Story Points


Document ownership

Product Owner









Product Backlog workbook

Iteration Backlog workbook

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