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.
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.
Start adding user stories or product features to your backlog. Click the “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.
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.
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 thewith your preferred wording.
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. 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.
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.
User Story Map Framework
Popularized by Jeff Patton in 2005, the user story mapping technique is an agile way to manage product backlogs. Whether you’re working alone or with a product team, you can leverage user story mapping to plan product releases. User story maps help teams stay focused on the business value and release features that customers care about. The framework helps to get a shared understanding for the cross-functional team of what needs to be done to satisfy customers' needs.
Disney Creative Strategy
Know who knew a little something about coming up with ideas that set imaginations alight? Walt Disney. And he inspired the Disney Creative Strategy, an approach that establishes three types of thinkers—dreamers, realists, and critics—and gives each the space to do clear thinking. Your team will go through an engaging exercise of adopting the three mindsets, where they’ll focus on a specific aspect of the idea. The Disney Creative Strategy has a way of yielding brilliant ideas and great products. That’s why it’s used successfully by organizations of all kinds and sizes.
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Sometimes you just need to get the team’s creative juices flowing for a brainstorm—and get them thinking of as many ideas as they can, as fast as they can. Crazy Eights will do it in a hurry. Favoring quantity over quality, this sketch brainstorming exercise challenges them to come up with eight ideas in eight minutes, which leaves no time to second guess ideas. It’s perfect for early stages of development, and it’s a team favorite for being fast paced and fun.
Card sorting is a brainstorming technique typically used by design teams but applicable to any brainstorm or team. The method is designed to facilitate more efficient and creative brainstorms. In a card sorting exercise, you and your team create groups out of content, objects, or ideas. You begin by labeling a deck of cards with information related to the topic of the brainstorm. Working as a group or individuals, you then sort the cards in a way that makes sense to you, then label each group with a short description. Card sorting allows you to form unexpected but meaningful connections between ideas.
Even creative thinkers (or maybe especially creative thinkers) need clear guidelines to push their ideas in productive, usable directions. And a good creative lays down those guidelines, with information that includes target audience, goals, timeline, and budget, as well as the scope and specifications of the project itself. The foundation of any marketing or advertising campaign, a creative brief is the first step in building websites, videos, ads, banners, and much more. The brief is generally prepared before kicking off a project, and this template will make it easy.