What is DevOps Backlog?

In this post we will take a closer look at what stories your DevOps Backlog should have and why it's important to tackle them in a timely manner.

Hashicorp State of Cloud Survey 2022 gives some insightful data about the adoption of cloud solutions in the industry. For example, it's interesting to note that although 86% say they rely on "platform teams", 94% said they were "wasting money on cloud".

While these numbers are shocking, they aren't entirely surprising.

In the early stages of a start-up, the common wisdom is to push the product out, then stabilize it. That's perfect! But before hitting any scale, it's essential to establish DevOps excellence hand-in-hand to achieve the agility that modern products require. Yet, often, that's the last thing on founders' minds until it becomes a problem that holds business back.

Let's take a closer look at the state of your DevOps by examining the DevOps backlog.

Backlogs- prioritizing your priorities

Every good product manager ensures that out of the vast, somewhat never-ending wishlist of product stories, they prioritize the critical stories that shape the product.

DevOps Backlog consists of all the stories under the remit of provisioning, configuring, managing, and securing resources for your apps. As the name suggests, dev, ops, and testing teams are the stakeholders. Unfortunately, more often than not, DevOps backlog stories don't get prioritized over core product feature stories. As a result, the backlog becomes large and unwieldy over time, with teams having little or no bandwidth to get around to them. Eventually, these stories get dropped out.

DevOps Stories

In reality, most companies don't formally capture DevOps stories with the same level of diligence that's followed to capture feature stories. This became evident to us when we talked to over 200 companies.

We wondered if it was just a short-term problem, but to our surprise, even late-stage product companies have a large DevOps backlog! As the business needs grow, complex architectures come in, and regulations change, the backlog keeps growing.

What kind of stories do you have in your DevOps wishlist?

Typically, these stories track your deployments and measure application data and KPIs. Here are some examples:

  1. Stories for provisioning and configuring resources and infrastructure.
  2. Application lifecycle management stories: Managing application lifecycle management through tools and metrics. This often leads to building toolchains connecting different tools to automate this process.
  3. Release management and strategies: scheduling Releases is just part of it. You also have to do it with zero downtime and have a rollback strategy in place.
  4. Observability: You need to set up alerts, capture metrics, and configure dashboards that track application metrics and resources such as databases.
  5. Database management: upgrading and migrating databases, with scheduled backups and restoration policies.
  6. Access and permissions: How do your developers access your environments securely? Are you maintaining audit trails? Are there any permission leakages?
  7. Stories for creating/managing Environments- These are possibly the most time-intensive stories that involve all stakeholders. Dev Environments need to be ephemeral environments that can be used with ease and with clean footprints. On the other hand, QA , Pre-Production, and Production environments need to be consistently configured and provisioned. Inconsistent environments can lead to many issues.
  8. Security and compliance stories that ensure you follow the correct standards and rules as defined in your geographical countries of deployment.
  9. Cloud cost visibility and optimization stories.
  10. Stories that Explore new tools and frameworks such as zero trust networks and network segmentation.

And the list goes on! Verifying if you have essential stories covered in your backlog is a good practice. You can read this article to learn more about how to spot issues in your DevOps implementation.

Why do you have a large DevOps backlog?

Here are some reasons why you end up with a large backlog that is not easy to tackle:

  1. Large Dev teams have to rely on a small DevOps team. Practically speaking, DevOps teams tend to be small, with a few specialists who serve as the lynchpin holding things together. Sometimes, members of the dev team have to double up as DevOps. In either case, this reliance on a limited workforce leads to blocked pipelines and delays in handovers.
  2. Architecture Changes: Devs constantly introduce new services. Architectures continuously evolve, and this introduces new tooling needs. As a result, the backlog grows larger.
  3. Keeping up with changes in business requirements. Business requirements often change, leading to complexities in DevOps backlog. For example, if you are a SAAS or healthcare company, you will need new environments specific to that country/region or industry. Not only do you have to manage new environments, but you also have to comply with the regulations of that country/region.
  4. Too many tickets. Typically DevOps toolchains are not exposed to the end developers. This leads to a flood of developer tickets, which further reduces DevOps teams' bandwidth.


It's critical to tackle DevOps backlog at the right time. We at Facets work with our customers to ensure that you stay on top of your DevOps backlog.

We'd love to hear from you. Contact us to find out more.

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