The real point of a backlog refinement meeting is not to complete stories as quickly as possible, but to advance the understanding and clarity around the stories. As long as the team makes progress, and keeps chipping away at the stories, I’m happy with their progress. I’m not sure there’s a magic number, but refining a story every 5-6 minutes might be a reasonable goal—so perhaps per 1-hour meeting.
They wax into conjecture and guessing about design challenges. They argue estimates on stories that are still quite immature and ill defined. The Estimates are NOT the most important thing – We’re in the middle of a refinement meeting and leveraging Planning Poker as a means of collaborative estimation. In one case, 2 developers have been debating whether the story is 5 or 8 points in size for the last 30 minutes. Eventually, the Scrum Master has to move on and the team still hasn’t agreed on the estimate.
Updated Features List
However, it’s better to attend it as it is valuable and can lead to more productive sprint planning. Involve the right people in your backlog grooming session (i.e., the product owner, project manager, scrum master, development team, and so on) so that no input is missed. While you want to foster cross-functional interaction, you must be careful not to introduce too many ideas and viewpoints. As a result, just invite those who are essential for the task at hand. Discussions with stakeholders, such as the product owner or product manager, should take place before backlog refinement meetings, not during them. Backlog refinement meetings are often facilitated by the product owner or product manager.
- Talk Less, Spike More – I’ve noticed a very common anti-pattern in many refinement sessions that teams explore each story far too deeply.
- The backlog captures development plans, initiatives, requirements, and units of work that the teams have to deliver in order to meet sprint objectives.
- This offers a great opportunity for transparency, allowing everyone to see the progress of each part of the project.
- Having the right tools should always be a priority for product owners.
- Further, it ensures the Product Backlog remains populated with user stories that are relevant and detailed.
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A backlog needs to serve as a single source of truth for the team’s planning work. They should be able to easily identify what they need to work on next and how they should prioritize their work. This makes it easier to assign work and create discussions around what needs to be done.
While you need to stick to its purpose, you can always start by asking how everyone is doing and how everything is around. Starting on a positive note can also lead to more productive backlog grooming sessions. Here’s a guide to help you understand and get the most of these backlog grooming sessions.
– As I alluded to in the last suggestion, it often seems like teams find excuses to defer or cancel backlog refinement whenever possible. But what I’ve found is that this is the last thing you should do if you’re challenged in your sprints. It’s also part design, part work planning and tasking, part strategy, and part risk mitigation within your sprints. Point being, if you’re struggling, don’t stop planning your work. It will only lead to deeper struggles and missed commitments.
Requesting just a few key people is best because they will pitch in with ideas if and when needed. Ensure upcoming stories are adequately defined by adding additional information and acceptance criteria. Agile advocate Roman Pichler came up with the acronym DEEP, which stands for detailed appropriately, estimated, emergent and prioritized.
Sometimes, a scrum master might also attend backlog refinement sessions for assistance. Backlog items are discussed, reviewed, and prioritized by product managers, product owners, and the rest of the team. The primary goal of backlog grooming is to keep the backlog up-to-date and ensure that backlog items are prepared for upcoming sprints. Additionally, the process helps product managers explain and align the organization behind the strategy that informs the backlog items.
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BUT, have rich, deep, collaborative discussions across the team about the story. And as a team, come to a fair and balanced relative estimate for “all the work” to move the story to meet your Definition of Done. Examine Your Stories Frequently – I often encounter teams who only refine their stories once. In that context https://globalcloudteam.com/ they write them, refine the wording, write acceptance tests, estimate them, and order them – all at the same time. I could see doing that for trivial or straightforward stories, but never for complex ones. And I look for the team to consider and balance against all of these variables when setting priority.
The project backlog then would contain action items that would deliver said functional features, requirements, and initiatives. The backlog captures development plans, initiatives, requirements, and units of work that the teams have to deliver in order to meet sprint objectives. Before going any further, let’s take a deeper look at the functions within project management and product management. The concepts of project management and product management are distinct – the first is tactical while the latter is strategic.
It’s Okay to Seek Additional Time
Gear any changes you make during backlog grooming towards maximizing this value. Backlog grooming is also perfect for pruning old features that are no longer relevant. These may come as a result of rescoping, new client requirements, or new user insights. In the same way, existing features and tasks can be updated with new information.
It is essential to segregate your development backlog from your product backlog and insights backlog. This will not only make your backlog less congested, but it will also make your backlog grooming sessions faster. As a process, deep backlog backlog grooming is a continuous activity of a Product Owner. As a Sprint event – backlog refinement meeting – it’s a workshop aimed at formulating the scope of the upcoming sprint and clarifying details of backlog items.
Grooming often happens 2-3 days before the end of the sprint. And the team always has someone who is frantically busy 2 or 3 days before the end of a sprint. If you make that colleague attend another meeting, you will risk the delivery of whatever item he/she is working on.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for who needs to attend a backlog grooming session. However, it is ideal that the entire cross-functional team is represented to have the most effective session. The combined expertise of the various individuals on your team is what you need to flesh out your user stories effectively. The most significant way to motivate your team ahead of sprint planning is by grooming the backlog beforehand. This helps teams push forward continuously and increases the team’s overall efficiency.
According to the Scrum Guide, updating the backlog can take up to 10% of the sprint time. It can be one Backlog Refinement meeting or several shorter ones. Some teams prefer to hold it 2-3 days before the next sprint planning, others meet once a week.
Backlog Anti-Patterns of the Developers
A product backlog is a prioritized list of work for the development team that is derived from the roadmap and its requirements. The most important items are shown at the top of the product backlog so the team knows what to deliver first. The development team doesn't work through the backlog at theproduct owner'space and the product owner isn't pushing work to the development team. Instead, the development team pulls work from the product backlog as there is capacity for it, either continually or by iteration . Having the right tools should always be a priority for product owners.
We require Backlog prioritization to organize the product backlog items (user story/Defects/Spike, etc.) to develop and deploy. After completing a backlog grooming session, the team should have enough user stories for two sprints. In this manner, they will have enough work to keep them busy until the next backlog grooming, as well as tasks to accomplish if priorities fluctuate. The refinement meeting is facilitated by the Product Owner or the Scrum Master. The dev team reviews the prioritized items in the backlog before accepting them. They make necessary adjustments for clarity and estimate the effort and time it will take to complete each user story.
While it’s important to have a vision, the initial product backlog is little more than a list of assumptions that must be validated and refined using feedback from customers and users. Appropriately Detailed — Cross-functional teams must understand user stories and other things in the backlog that will be completed shortly. Items and activities which will not be implemented for some time should be described in greater detail.
It’s important to clearly state expectations upfront for what needs to be accomplished during the meeting and have a set agenda. This puts everyone in the same mindset, saves valuable time and keeps the meeting flowing smoothly. Sometimes these recurring meetings can get tedious so a well-run meeting will make all the difference. Looking more extensively into the total backlog to enable long-range technical and project planning. Refining and reprioritizing previously written user stories and breaking them down into smaller stories, if needed.