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Take the time to coach your product owner and support them with research on current best practice. Lastly, use models like DEEP and INVEST to help your Scrum team create the best possible product backlog. Backlog grooming, also referred to as backlog refinement or story time, is a recurring event for agile product development teams. The primary purpose of a backlog grooming session is to ensure the next few sprints worth of user stories in the product backlog are prepared for sprint planning.

Watch this video for an in-depth explanation of backlog grooming and to learn how to efficiently run a backlog grooming meeting. He has helped organizations to design and create processes and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider, utilizing a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation. The prepared backlog list is discussed and estimated for the demo purpose in the Sprint Planning meeting. In the Backlog Refinement meeting, backlog products are estimated and discussed to prepare an approachable backlog list.

Why the Product Backlog Refinement is Important

Without shared understanding, you risk implementing the wrong thing, wasting effort, and having to rework the implementation to get it right. Are ordered according to their priority in terms of business value and effort required. That’s why there are always key stakeholders present in these meetings.

The Keys to Effective Product Backlog Refinement

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Of course they should also know what work has the highest priority. As part of the product backlog refinement, should be to put the most valuable work higher up the list. Again, as a Scrum Master, you need to help your product owner to do this on a continual basis. There are two simple methods you can use to help your product owner improve the product backlog refinement right now.

How to Run Effective Backlog Refinement (+ Meeting Agenda)

The Product Backlog document can be the cornerstone of all Agile efforts in a team. It provides some very real benefits like effective sprint planning, monitoring sprint outcomes, and incorporating real-time feedback into the development process, among others. As long as the same team members don’t miss the meeting each sprint, I think it’s fine to conduct backlog refinement meetings with about half the team plus the product owner and ScrumMaster.

Why the Product Backlog Refinement is Important

You really should have at least 2 or 3 Sprints’ worth of fully refined items. That also ensures you have ample time to answer any questions. Improving clarity and preventing misunderstanding by adding details in preparation of implementation. For example adding examples, constraints, edge cases, and acceptance criteria.

Backlog refinement sessions present an opportunity for product managers and product owners to explain the strategic purposes behind prioritized items in the backlog. These conversations can help improve alignment across the cross-functional team. Prioritising stories is a consequence of how https://globalcloudteam.com/ important they are to the business, what other stories depend them on and how much effort they will take to deliver. If the other backlog refinement activities have already been partially or mostly automated, the team can spend more time discussing this in the backlog refinement meetings.

Product Backlog Refinement (Grooming)

If you’re working in two-week Sprints this process gives you two refinement sessions per Sprint. Having a weekly refinement session helps your team to keep their finger on the pulse of the backlog without it becoming overwhelming. By the same token, spending 10% of your time on backlog refinement doesn’t mean scheduling one meeting at the end of your Sprint and ignoring your backlog until then.

Why the Product Backlog Refinement is Important

A once-per-Sprint meeting can be very powerful if the team have been engaged with the backlog throughout the Sprint. This helps you to avoid the scenario where the whole backlog refinement meeting is simply people trying to get back up to speed with what each ticket is about. Product Backlog refinement helps agile teams improve their development process by ensuring the team always has well-defined issues to be tackled in future sprints.

What is Backlog Refinement?

The product backlog should exclude other tasks that may be involved but not directly delivering user functionality.. Another major difference is that sprint planning takes place right before a sprint, while backlog refinement can happen at any time. Here are some best practices that will help make your backlog refinement session more effective.

Working with requirements is crucial for Agile software development, Product Backlog Refinement is often used by teams to ensure that all parties understand what is expected of them. Product Backlog Refinement, also referred to as Product Backlog Grooming, is a method for keeping the backlog updated, clean and orderly. PBR is a collaborative discussion process which starts at the end of one sprint to confirm whether the backlog is ready for the next sprint.

This especially applies to product owners and product managers, whose failure to prepare can lead to frustratingly inefficient sessions. In addition, regular backlog refinement sessions keep the overall health and organization of the backlog in check. When done effectively and on the right cadence, grooming sessions help prevent the backlog from becoming a black hole. Estimating product backlog items provides benefits beyond predicting when a project will be finished. Software teams need to adapt to the changing demands of the business.

To be ready, they need to be clearly explained, and small enough that they can be worked on and completed in a single Sprint. The product owner is primarily responsible for this, along with the development team. And this brings us to if product backlog refinement should be a Scrum event or not. But the Scrum team as a whole must decide how they want to do product backlog refinement, and therefore they could decide that they want it to be a Scrum event.

Why the Product Backlog Refinement is Important

At the next level down are PBIs that are bigger than a single sprint but smaller than a release. Each group checks every item on its Max Spec list to see if it correlates with the purpose. If the purpose can be achieved without the item, that item is deleted from the list.

Warning Sign #3 – Work items are consistently too large to be executed within a single sprint

That’s why it makes sense for many teams to classify product backlog refinement as another Sprint milestone. For one, having a dedicated meeting for refinement is a more familiar way of engaging with tasks. Does the strategic direction of the items in the backlog align with your customer personas? It’s worth revisiting your customer personas before the backlog grooming sessions. Furthermore, we advise you to give the rest of your cross-functional team a heads up before your grooming session. Send them a list of stories that are up for discussion ahead of the meeting so that they can set some time aside and prepare as well.

  • The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness.
  • However, everyone (i.e. the Scrum Team, Product Owner, and Scrum Master) should understand that estimates are not final until those user stories have been accepted into the Sprint Backlog.
  • ScopeMaster’s ability to detect functional size it gives an immediate estimate of whether a story needs splitting.
  • Everyone who attends a backlog grooming session should do some form of preparation ahead of time.
  • Optimally, all events are held at the same time and place to reduce complexity.
  • Insights backlog, and make sure each item is labeled correctly.

It may also involve breaking down large items into smaller tasks. In the scrum project management methodology, one of the most important things a project manager can do is keep an up-to-date product backlog. That keeps the team focused on what needs to be done and ensures that everyone is always aware of the project’s progress. The others who will be in attendance will depend on the item being picked up for refinement.

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Lets take a pause and read about scrum interview questions first. High-functioning agile teams have a lot of shared context and developers are regularly consulting the backlog. Because of this, the team can move through issues more quickly, so refinement doesn’t need to happen as often.

Teams can end up using their precious time together trying to remember what the backlog items are and why they were added. Unlike daily or weekly refinement sessions, your team knows that attending the refinement meeting at the end of the Sprint is non-negotiable. And since it only happens once per sprint, people are more likely to be focused on the task at hand and respect the process. In the spirit of the Scrum Guide, daily sessions build a habit of continuous refinement.

Sprint Retrospective

Backlog Refinement provides the first input to Sprint Planning. To start, it assures the Product Owner properly conveys the project / product objectives to the Scrum Team that will inform the sprint goal. Further, it ensures the Product Backlog remains populated with user stories that are relevant and detailed.

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Another reason that may contribute to poor performance is the lack of a product vision (a.k.a. “Product Goal” in the latest revision of the Scrum Guide). Having an insight deep backlog into the Product Goal enables the team to create the right stories that support the goal. Without the goal, the team will likely produce work items of low value.

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