Mega backlog

Remember the old saying “Once you know a thing’s name, you control it”? That wisdom is encoded in one of the most important aspects of the Scrum team software development practice: having a backlog. A backlog is, simply put, a gold plated TODO-list.

I’d like to explore the possibility of generalizing that concept -“having a backlog/TODO-list is the most important thing” – to life as a whole. That is, a system where you can add TODO items for everything you want do in life might be a good idea.

For that to work practically, one must be able to categorize each item (house, garden, car, project X/Y/Z, ..). So each “item” has to be taggable/categorizable. I prefer taggable, because it’s not as hierarchical or black/white as categorization.

So you could add items:

  • fix lawn
  • media server PC
  • democracy flyers

.. each taggable with text strings:

  • fix lawn [garden, home, good weather]
  • media server PC [home, indoors, money to spend]
  • democracy flyers [politics, indoors, time to spend]

All those tags would create a wordcloud, which could be an important way to navigate in the system. One question that arises is Which sort order? Sorting is important as a way to prioritize what to do soon, and what to do later. But since we’re talking different contexts here, not a single (as we are when developing a product in Scrum), we have to think a little extra. Should we sort per tag? That would mean a lot of maintenance. Maybe simply sort issues themselves, and then use that information when viewing a tag/context?

Implementation note: I think this system would fit well as a Web2.0 JavaScript App with lots of interaction bling. That is, trivial to add/remove/rename both issues and tags. And of course easy to search (either using freetext search “google style” or by clicking a tag in the tag cloud).

Bonus: One thing that I use personally a lot when writing down TODO-lists is “dependency arrows” or “impediment arrows”. That is, an arrow from B to A means that A must be finished before B can be done. But that might be polishing the shue before there are laces.

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2 thoughts on “Mega backlog

  1. Reblogged this on OlofB[eta] and commented:

    Jag har haft lång bloggtorka. Börjar så smått igen med en projektidé, “Mega Backlog” på kodbloggen Voice Steam.

  2. I think I have found a tool that fullfills most of my needs: astrid.com. It has tags (it’s called Lists), my primary need. It’s very AJAX, and has an app for spur-of-the-moment-adds (and later fill-in-the-details-via-web). It lacks “dependency arrows” though.

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