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Clearing Out Your AppDev Backlog

Author: Sambit Ghosh | 3 min read | July 28, 2020

IT research and advisory firm Gartner has outlined 10 guiding principles for an organization to be considered truly agile. In particular, Gartner highlights that the agile methodology requires developers to acknowledge and pay off their technical debt, i.e. the difference between a software’s current state and its minimum required state in terms of usability, performance, and reliability.

But even organizations that consider themselves agile may not be able to make a dent in their existing backlogs. The 2019 report “The State of Application Development” from OutSystems reveals a number of serious concerns about AppDev backlogs:

  • 64 percent of IT professionals say that they have an application development backlog, and 19 percent say that they have more than 10 apps currently backed up.
  • Most backlogs are still, well, backlogged: 50 percent of respondents say that their AppDev backlog is about the same as last year, and just 39 percent say that it’s improved.

Whether you use agile development or the traditional “waterfall” method, AppDev backlogs can be a major problem. Clearing out your AppDev backlog might be a challenge for the following reasons:

  • No in-house team
  • Lack of internal capacity
  • Lack of the right skill set
  • Budgetary constraints
  • Poor choice of AppDev partner
  • Lack of DevOps practices

While these issues are significant and complex, they’re by no means insurmountable. Here’s 6 quick strategies you can implement to get through that looming backlog.

  1. Continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD)

    Continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) are two interrelated concepts that are frequently employed in the agile and DevOps methodologies.

  2. MVP development

    The agile methodology often speaks of the importance of developing a minimum viable product (MVP): a version of the application that has just enough features to demonstrate its value and worth to would-be users. You can then use this skeleton to generate feedback and momentum, building on it for later versions of the product.

  3. Backlog refinement

    The term “backlog refinement” or “backlog grooming” refers to the process of reviewing the items on the backlog, making any necessary edits or changes, and prioritizing them by their importance.

  4. Low-code and/or no-code platforms

    Low-code and no-code platforms help organizations rapidly build functional applications by automatically handling much of the infrastructure under the hood.

  5. Focusing the product owner and team

    If key stakeholders have drifted away from the project over time, getting them interested, invested, and on board again will also help.

  6. Sprint Teams as a Service (STaaS)

    Companies that take advantage of Sprint Teams as a Service have an entire development team at their fingertips, and can scale their usage up or down as their projects and budgets require.

For more detail on how to use these six strategies to clear out your backlog, download my white paper, “6 Ways to Clear Out Your AppDev Backlog Fast.”

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