Agile transformation requires more than a change in process; it needs a change in mindset. In order to fully embrace agile and create a productive environment, you have to change how you think about priorities and failure. Priorities are decided proactively, not reactively, and failure is not punished, it is celebrated. Once you make this shift in perspective, you can reap the rewards of agile.
In agile development, a bloated backlog results from teams accumulating huge lists of requirements, usually in the form of user stories. Retaining every possible story for building the product weighs down the backlog while squeezing (or obscuring) the highest-value stories. The best way to help minimize this risk is to optimize the time spent defining and refining the product priorities.
Prioritizing stories for an upcoming sprint can lead to confusion and miscommunication between the product owner and agile teams. But putting that exercise into financial terms, such as purchase, budget, cost, and investment—a set of words that everyone understands, no matter what their area of expertise is—gets everyone thinking about value.