I would like to track, for each backlog item, which event originated it. For instance: "Original briefing", "Meeting Jan", "Meeting Feb" ...

Using scrum, what is the correct way to track the origin for each backlog item?

I'm using visual studio online to manage my scrum project.

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    As far as I'm aware, Scrum doesn't care about the "origin" of stories. Most tooling should already collect enough meta-data such as creation date and history of being added to/removed from a sprint to get a reasonable idea. If you want more specific data for some reason, most tooling has at least a "comments" or "notes" field to which you could add it and/or allows creating custom fields. Feb 14, 2017 at 1:07
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    Could I just ask why you want to do this. For reporting, setting priorities, something else?
    – Robbie Dee
    Feb 14, 2017 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


Scrum says nothing about how to track where backlog items come from. In fact, relatively little is said in the Scrum Guide as to what information should be included in a Product Backlog Item and how that information should be formatted. A Product Backlog Item is required to have a description, an ordering, an estimate, and a measure of value.

I've never used the Visual Studio project management tools, but nearly every other issue tracker that I've used allows for a textual description of the issue and you can put metadata about the source in there. Some tools allow for "commenting" on issues, and that might be suitable since it's still tracked, but not as in-your-face as the description. Others allow you to customize the fields and you can add people or events associated with a given backlog item.

I would wonder if this is necessary. If this information isn't necessary, it is wasteful to gather, store, and deal with it for every ticket. Although relatively easy to do, if it doesn't add value to you or your customers or allow you to meet some kind of contractual or legal obligation, you shouldn't be doing it.

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    Visual studio online allows you to define tags so it would be pretty easy to provide a source (if it hasn't already been used).
    – Robbie Dee
    Feb 14, 2017 at 20:59
  • tags is a great option Feb 15, 2017 at 23:05

If you prescribe to the format I've seen many user stories follow:

As as... I want... so that...

You can usually get at least some idea of where the backlog item came from.

Beyond that, this is often covered in the grooming/planning session. If you're unsure where a task came from (and need to know in order to proceed), keep it on the backlog and groom it before adding it to a sprint.

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    How does that user story format (assuming that the asker is even using user stories - Scrum says nothing about the format of backlog items) tell you where the item came from?
    – Thomas Owens
    Feb 14, 2017 at 17:02
  • Some user stories will give the job role. So as a manager, power user, field agent, clerk, systems user, sales rep and so on. If you know who the functionality is for, you arguably stand a marginally better chance of finding out where the requirement came from. The OP isn't (yet) clear why they want this info.
    – Robbie Dee
    Feb 14, 2017 at 20:57
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    I agree that it's not clear why the information is needed, but it's clear that the desire is to track the event that generated it - a teleconference on Tuesday, a face-to-face meeting on Thursday, the Sprint 7 review. That isn't in the traditional user story format.
    – Thomas Owens
    Feb 14, 2017 at 20:58
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    @ThomasOwens Agreed - and the priority is defined in the sprint planning. If there is a bun fight between departments as to the sprint priorities, the product owner should be taking the lead on this.
    – Robbie Dee
    Feb 14, 2017 at 21:02
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    I don't think that this has anything to do with priority. Until there's a response to either your comment or the statement in my post, we don't know why for sure. However, in my experience, in some regulated environments, you have (legal or regulatory) requirements to capture the individual who requested a change (and not just entered it into the tracking system) and when they requested it (an email on a given date, at a given meeting, etc) for traceability purposes.
    – Thomas Owens
    Feb 14, 2017 at 21:07

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