This year was the first time that I ran an entirely remote road mapping session. Usually, I would organize this in a workshop format with all the key stakeholders present in the same physical room with a whiteboard, sticky-notes, and lots of sharpies. However, we did not have that luxury in 2020.

For the first time, I also tried Jamie Arnold’s approach of 7 questions to build a roadmap. Previously, I had used different methods ranging from roman pitcher’s templates to a simple excel sheet. However, Jamie’s model seemed better aligned to what I needed for a government project.


For the first time I inherited a backlog that left me completely speechless, and not in a good way. I have managed multiple backlogs over the last 8 years but I have never seen so many anti-patterns of backlog management and story writing in a single backlog.

This post talks about the learnings over the last 8 years and ‘what not to do’ when it comes to managing backlog.

Treat epics as large user stories and NOT as buckets of things

Epics are just ‘large’ user stories that need to be broken down. One of the reasons product teams end up with very large and never ending backlogs is because they think…

Have you ever joined a new project as a Business Analyst (BA) and have straightaway heard something along the following…

“can you write us some user stories”

“we have requirements we just need some stories and epics”

“our backlog is non-existent can you quickly create some stories in it”

“you’re BA can you write us some stories and epics”

and so on…

This is usually the welcome that a lot of new business analysts receive on a brand-new project/team/product-team. We would never ask a new incoming architect to quickly draw up some technical designs, would we? …


A Product Consultant at Kainos working with UK Public and Private sector clients. All view are my own.

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