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I work as a project manager and I usually manage multiple client web projects with the same development team. We typically develop four to five web projects simultaneously.

Recently, we decided to introduce Agile practices to the web development team. Hence, I recommended maintaining one product backlog for all projects. The idea behind this was to prioritize and pick development tasks to the sprint backlog (weekly or two weeks work schedule) in the sprint planning meeting. After the sprint, we can push development tasks to review servers and send clients for review and feedback. I would like to hear your advice as to whether or not to maintain only one product backlog for multiple web projects.

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Generally, we talk about each product having its own backlog. In your case, it would be each client site. The backlog has one client/product owner who makes prioritization decisions, ranking the work for the dev team to build an iteration from.

What you're outlining could work for your team, but there will be some challenges. The biggest one in my mind will be determining the rank of each item in the combined backlog. Are each of your clients' #1 items at the top of the list? Which one goes first? Who makes these decisions? This will be a big thing to figure out, even if you're already implicitly making those decisions by investing time on different clients anyway.

There will be other challenges you identify as you try out the approach. My best advice is to implement the most important feature of Scrum: the retrospective. If you have good review of your work and consider ways to improve it, you'll improve your process steadily over time.

  • Wouldn't you be facing the exact same problem with even less clarity if one team was working multiple backlogs? Also, +1 for the retro! – Daniel Jan 24 at 19:32
  • @Daniel I see your point; I suppose it will vary depending on the specifics. My teams use Microsoft's Azure Boards (used to be VSTS). That lets us assign hours per day per project per person. So we can devote time-boxes to each project each day. That said, there will always be switching costs associated with multiple projects. I'll think about it some more. – DPH Jan 24 at 21:41
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From a best practices perspective, each site should have it's own backlog (as it is a unique "Product" -- owned by a Product Owner).

The different sites can roll up under a common branch though. So when you're doing sprint planning, feature planning or even increment planning you can rank what gets done and in what order. As DPH said, depending on what you're using to manage the work, you can assign hours to projects.

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