Use Seasonal Projects

It's tempting to think of a managed package as a never-ending project, punctuated with seasonal releases.

Though, if you continue to use the same project container year after year, it's likely that you will accumulate a lot of sludge at the bottom of the backlog.

Squirrel falling down a bottomless wellBefore long, you will find yourself getting out the Roto-Rooter hose and flushing the sludge, so that the backlog doesn't seem like a bottomless pit.

For long-lived teams, it's not uncommon for folks to declare "backlog bankruptcy"[1] and routinely jettison unscheduled items that no one has touched for six months or more.

An alternative to detoxing the backlog time-and-time again is to be proactive by creating a new project for each major release (Winter, Spring, Summer), and bring over the issues you plan to do (rather than waste time flushing the ones you don't).

When the sandbox preview window comes around, create a new project for the next seasonal release, and start lining up work items for the next train. Some of these items will be new, others may be unscheduled items that you move up from prior projects.

As work transfers to the next release train, you can simply close the last release project, effectively archiving the unscheduled items without any fuss or bother.

See Also:

[1] Product Backlog Bankruptcy (Mountain Goat Software).