I am confused about the two following statements and how do they both influence on which items be included into the Sprint backlog:

  1. The Sprint Goal and Sprint plan is produced by the collaborative work of the entire Scrum Team.
  2. The Product Owner builds the order of items in the Product backlog in order to best achieve goals and missions.

If the final say about the order of items belongs to the Product Owner, I have to make a (possibly wrong) conclusion, that actually it is the Product Owner who defines the next Sprint Goal or plan. I understand that the PO works in a close collaboration with the team, however the emphasis of the fact the order of items in the Product backlog is in the sole power and responsibility of the PO, makes it contradictory the statement about that the entire Scrum team has anything to do with defining the Sprint goal and plan.

In other words, what it the "canonical" process of picking up items for the next Sprint backlog? To what extent the existent order of items in the Product backlog influence on this process?

2 Answers 2


The product owner knows what is important, and prioritizes the backlog. The team knows what is possible, and can estimate backlog items. Together, they can create a sprint goal that is both relevant and achievable. This is part of the Sprint Planning Meeting.

In the simplest case, this simply involves estimating the most important items in the product backlog, and adding them to the Sprint backlog until the team's available capacity is exhausted. In practice, there might be interdependencies and synergies between backlog items, or the product owner might reprioritize items depending on feedback from the team. There is no substitute for collaborating together in order to figure out how the most value can be delivered during the upcoming sprint.


This is a bit confusing, but in the Scrum Guide, there are two key responsibilities split between the Dev Team and Product Owner:

1) Product Owner owns the priority in the backlog.

2) Only the team can say how much work comes into the Sprint.

From a strictly Scrum Guide standpoint, this means that the conversation must be collaborative between in the whole Scrum Team. The PO usually has a goal in mind and the backlog organized to achieve that goal, but the Dev Team determines if they feel comfortable committing to that work.

In practice, there is usually a lot of back and forth. Since the Dev Team owns the implementation, they will usually have a lot of feedback about the order in which things are done to gain development efficiencies and a cleaner architecture.

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