A product manager’s work is never done.

While the product backlog is not a wishlist, chances are that you’ll have some stories that are better defined than others.

This is especially true in the early stages of a big project. It can also happen with a new team – or if you’re new to an existing team.

And there may be pressure to start pushing stories to the development team – perhaps before you’re ready.

If it’s taking a little time to get started, focus your efforts on the stories with the most certainty – both in terms of scope, and desired value or outcome – and get those at the top of the backlog.

I definitely think you should try to work on the risks, dependencies, or biggest stories first (see: How to prioritise when everything is a priority). So if you can do that too, do so.

However, if those stories are also your least well understood, you might not be ready to flesh them out just yet. Though, you can still create spikes to make a start on them.

Once the team has a few stories to work on, you can then continue curating the backlog with a little more breathing space.

Just don’t forget – it’s an ongoing effort!

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash