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Idea Funnel Backlog

Prioritise and focus your backlog while keeping ideas fluid.

About the Idea Funnel Backlog Template

An idea funnel backlog can help you and your team prioritize a list of features, bugs, technical work, and knowledge building. These are elements you should identify and keep updated to make your product or service more functional.

Treat your idea funnel backlog as both a roadmap and backlog. The combination of a Kanban Board and backlog helps you and your team prioritize as you approach near-term or end-of-quarter dates.

Although you can work on a product backlog and 5-day design sprint process separately, this template conveniently combines the two artifacts. 

Keep reading to learn more about idea funnel backlogs.

What is an Idea Funnel Backlog

An idea funnel backlog allows product managers to convert their idea pool into a product backlog, to inform planned feature implementations or user stories. 

Product backlogs typically comprise three layers:

  • Raw requests and ideas (sourced from customer support, product owners, or product teams)

  • User stories (converted from requests or ideas by a product owner, based on current product strategy or request popularity)

  • Planned state for user stories (these live on a Kanban Board)

An idea funnel backlog can help you pick new ideas to prioritize for your next sprint. Ideally, the funnel structure helps you turn a large number of ideas into manageable, relevant stories or features to implement. 

Teams needing a framework to get out of a reactive sprint planning cycle or task-focused thinking can benefit from an idea funnel backlog. The structure helps teams focus on longer-term goals to gain predictability in tackling idea backlogs.

When to use an Idea Funnel Backlog

An idea funnel backlog can benefit product teams who need help:

Maintaining costs: queues of unvalidated ideas can often become costly, so product teams need to groom and prioritize backlogs regularly.

Focusing on high-value tasks: prioritizing your ideas leads you to work on user stories or features with potentially more significant impact — and minimizes ideas not being actioned.

Encouraging innovation: try to balance validating ideas with maintaining the potential value of anything behind the queue, and not forgetting anything going to the back of the queue.

Create your own Idea Funnel Backlog

Making your own idea funnel backlogs is easy. Miro’s whiteboard tool is the perfect canvas to create and share them. Get started by selecting the Idea Funnel Backlog Template, then take the following steps to make one of your own.

  1. Start adding user stories or product features to your backlog. Click the “Sticky Note” icon on the toolbar or press “N” on your keyboard to enable the tool, to add more Sticky Notes. Don’t worry about prioritizing for this first step — your main goal is to add your team’s relevant ideas to the board as needed. 

  2. Give each of your ideas an age limit. For your user story or product feature backlog to stay relevant and timely, agree with your team on an expiration date (for example, three months). If an idea isn’t prioritized in the timeframe, it should disappear from your list over time. 

  3. Prioritize your “Must Do” tasks. On this default template, tasks can be organized by “Could Do,” “Should Do,” and “Must Do.” Does your team have their own way to describe and categorize user stories and features? Perhaps “Later,” “Soon,” “Next,” “Now”? Edit the text boxes with your preferred wording. 

  4. Add your most urgent or popular backlog items to the sprint area. Add your “Must Do” items to the sprint area on the board, and tackle them in order of “Next,” “Doing,” “Done.” Maybe you’re using Miro on a touch device with a stylus. In that case, you can convert your handwriting to text on Sticky Notes, or add extra notes and symbols for context that doesn’t fit on the Sticky Note square. 

  5. Continue to maintain your backlog and prioritize through rapid growth periods. This funnel is your idea management system: it keeps your team aligned and sharing a centralized place for tangible, validated customer feedback, prioritized product feature ideas, and committed product roadmap items for a development pipeline.

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