Now the team told the manager
“This nonsense needs to stop”
The work kept on piling in
But pushed straight to the top
New stuff was top priority
The backlog wasn’t groomed
So it became a pointless
Endless list of to’s to do-ooo

The team don’t like it
Stuffing the Backlog, stuffing the Backlog
The team don’t like it
Stuffing the Backlog, stuffing the Backlog

By order of the manager
They ban that waterfall
Filled up a brand new backlog
They’re in it for the long haul
But the sprints had no goals just an endless stream of work
The deadlines kept a’comin meetings added busywork
And when the manager asked when they’d be done
They began to wail

– chorus

Now over in a pull request
Oh, there’s something going on
Some required work is missing
It was gonna take to long
They add a task to do the rest
At a later point in time
But the devs knew the backlog
Is where work goes to die

– chorus

The business called a team meeting
They said how long will it take
We need to-the-hour estimates
A waterfall headache
As soon as the business were laughed outta there
The team brought in Kanban to build the software
Limited work in progress to stop the nightmare
Then they all wailed

–chorus

The team don’t like it, they think it’s not agile
Stuffing the Backlog, stuffing the Backlog
The team don’t like it, fundamentally can’t take it
Stuffing the Backlog, stuffing the Backlog
The team don’t like it, you know that it’s not agile
Stuffing the Backlog, stuffing the Backlog
The team don’t like it, really, really hates it


I was going to write something serious about how if you’ve got a backlog that extends out 18, 24 months, even further beyond than that, then you’re kidding yourself as to when this work will be done. Your backlog is a dumping ground for stuff that’s never going to get done, because new work will always conveniently jump straight to the top of the priority list and be demanded immediately. This is why when someone’s working on a task and they start splitting out the hard bits into separate backlog items, I get upset, because it’s done in the knowledge these will never get selected for prioritisation.

Or that when you start an Agile transformation from the perspective of forming a backlog of work, rather than understanding how we can go about delivering value and framing our work in terms of the outcomes we want to achieve, not the outputs - all you’ve done is created an ordered list of work (which has value) and shoe-horned it into a delivery framework, with no guarantee of achieving any outcomes.

But I decided instead to write a song. I’m sorry.