Conducting A Backlog Refinement Grooming

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I would call out INVEST, estimated, shared understanding, and most importantly that the team has agreed that they can do the work as a loose definition of ready. Product Backlog refinement is the act of adding detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog. This is an ongoing process in which the Product Owner and the Development Team collaborate on the details of Product Backlog items.

Product Backlog Refinement in scrum

For the product owner, it will be easy to get the conclusion over the queries, by asking these questions in the early stages. Product Backlog Refinement is formerly known as Product Backlog Grooming. It is generally a meeting arranged by the Product Manager and the Scrum Team wherein the Product Backlog lists are discussed and ensured that the backlog contains appropriate items.

By Team Function

Product Backlog Refinement is possible to be done during Sprint planning, although we at Exadel don’t recommend that, especially for new teams. For mature teams, where the product is well known and the team is highly experienced, this option can work, but for a new team or product, we suggest going with recurring Product Backlog Refinement meetings. But the Scrum Guide does not give a detailed description of how exactly to undertake this task. It provides flexibility and allows teams to choose the frequency of, approach to, and agile refinement techniques used in Product Backlog Refinement. The customizable nature of Scrum meetings is important, but you should still keep in mind the key elements of Product Backlog Refinement.

Product Backlog Refinement in scrum

Often, Scrum Teams come together once per Sprint, or once per week to have their «Refinement Meeting». The Product Owner shares what Product Backlog items need to be refined and the whole team discusses them. After the discussion , the planning poker cards are drawn to give an estimation to the PBI . The prioritized products are set for a demo to collect feedback and seek scope for improvement.

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These discussions should be documented for future use in other backlog grooming sessions. The better organization and communication that comes with backlog refinement reduces the time product managers and product owners spend planning sprints. I like to hold the product backlog refinement meetings three days before the end of the current sprint. This gives the product owner sufficient time to act on any issues that are identified. Some teams find that doing shorter meetings every week rather than once per sprint are more suited to their cadence, and that is, of course, fine. In many cases, the product owner or product manager is tasked with facilitating backlog refinement sessions.

Product Backlog Refinement in scrum

Detailed Appropriately — User stories and other items in the product backlog that will be done soon need to be sufficiently well understood by cross-functional teams. Items and initiatives that will not be delivered for a while should be described with less detail. Depending on how big your organization is and your company structure, your backlog can receive input from several different teams and departments. Left unattended, this could lead to a messy backlog with a lack of cohesive qualities across backlog items and an overwhelming number of outdated items. User stories seem very simple, but most of the ones I see in the field and by training participants are still written from a traditional mindset rather than thinking in thin vertical slices. «As a developer, I want an data-flow diagram so I can understand the code,» is not a well formed user story.

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You could look at backlog refinement as a means to a mutual understanding between the product owner and the scrum team. This understanding is focused on the product, of course, and what it will or won’t do. Then, you decide the amount of effort necessary to implement, as well as the order to do it.

Product Backlog Refinement in scrum

The product backlog refinement session is attended by the development team and product owner with optional attendance by Scrum Master. Product backlog refinement meeting is one of the core Scrum ceremonies where the team comes together to review and update each user story in the product backlog for the project. 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. Usually, the product manager or product owner is in charge of leading backlog grooming sessions and ensuring that they are carried out smoothly. Since backlog grooming is not an official ceremony according to the agile method, it’s not uncommon to also see project managers, Scrum Masters, or other team members facilitating the sessions.

Who Should Attend Backlog Grooming Sessions?

This competence of the Scrum team is critical to creating trust with the management and stakeholders by regularly delivering valuable Increments. However, after re-reading the post, I believe the post itself may be the cheat sheet? Unfortunately, this particular post was written in 2013 and the author is no longer with the company, so I am unable to verify at this time.

  • Prioritized — The product backlog should be ordered with the most valuable items at the top and the least valuable at the bottom.
  • This helps everyone to get familiar with the backlog and accelerates the speed at which the team gets to grips with the code-base.
  • These may increase productivity, value, creativity, and satisfaction with the results.
  • You’ll often find me at the intersection of technology, photography, and motorcycling.
  • Determine the order in which your backlog items should be executed and revisit their priority as you gain further details and insights.
  • Unlike the rest of Scrum ceremonies, product backlog refinement is not time-bound.

Most likely, you’ll need to re-prioritize the backlog based on new findings and evolving needs. It’s wise to shift around priorities before the backlog grooming session rather than during it. However, some teams prefer to re-prioritize user stories in the backlog together so everyone can discuss why things are moving around.

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We all know that shared knowledge / keeping all people informed about everything is in no way easy, which is why Scrum has a lot of events to facilitate communication. If we establish a The concept of Product Backlog Refinement product owner team, we probably have to add new communication overhead. Teams that approach backlog refinement solely as an event will struggle to refine their backlog appropriately.

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.

Without it, you can not define the boundaries of a user story and confirm when a story is done and working as intended. The Scrum Team decides how and when Product Backlog Refinement is done. Typically, the Product Owner is in the lead, since the Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog. However, the Scrum Team together decides how and when to plan Refinement meetings.

Every single backlog item is ranked in relation to its business value and alignment with the strategic goal of the company. An unorganized backlog with poorly formulated backlog items can lead to ambiguity and miscommunication across teams, as well as bad product decisions. In contrast, a refined backlog supports effective team conversations and allows everyone to be on the same page when it comes to new features, bugs, user insights, or other product-related initiatives. Look over the product backlog and see which user stories points had value once but are no longer relevant and a team member can delete them from the list. The meeting is scheduled on demand and there is no minimum or maximum number of times it should be held per sprint or project.

Who Should Attend Product Backlog Refinement

Ensuring that the upcoming user’s stories are meeting the «definition of ready» by adding any information and meeting the acceptance criteria. Once the Scrum Team has refined the feature set, they should begin assigning estimates to the user stories and correcting those for any existing in light of newly discovered information. 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. During Backlog Refinement the Scrum Master facilitates as the Product Owner and Scrum Team review the user stories at the top of the Product Backlog in order to prepare for the upcoming sprint.

When a Product Backlog is not refined, it leads to misunderstandings and a messy Product Backlog which lacks cohesive qualities across Product Backlog items and increases an overwhelming number of outdated items. However, a refined Product Backlog is always manageable and makes it simpler and easier for the whole team to understand the Product Backlog items and efficiently contribute to product development. Scrum Framework is an iterative lightweight and powerful set of values, principles, and practices. Sprints are defined as small pieces of products and services that are broken down from a large product that has to be completed by the Scrum Team in a short amount of time.

Representatives are usually preferred to keep the meeting smaller and to not have everyone in yet another meeting, though the cost is the wastes of information handoff and scatter. Context is important, and you want everyone on the team to understand the bigger picture. PBR session increases the efficiency of the team due to the knowledge shared among the team members.

You need to keep things moving along and ensure conversations stay on track. Some teams decide to assign time limits to each user story to keep things moving. This is where the project manager, scrum master, or another facilitator can be incredibly helpful.

We wrote the first version of the Scrum Guide in 2010 to help people worldwide understand Scrum. We have evolved the Guide since then through small, functional updates. While you want to encourage cross-functional collaboration, you need to ensure you don’t bring in too many ideas and opinions.

Optimize the time of these external people so they never need to discern when, in a three-hour session, their PBI will come up. So, while I encourage scrum teams to refine continuously, I also recommend regularly timed refinement sessions within each sprint. The Definition of Ready represents all the things that a product backlog item must meet in order to be “Ready” to take into the Sprint. The DoR can serve as a checklist for the team to guide their Product Backlog Refinement process. Product backlog refinement is the process by which the scrum team keeps its backlog in good order. Near the end of a sprint, the scrum team will meet and look over their backlog to make sure it’s ready for the upcoming sprint.

As Scrum’s use spreads, developers, researchers, analysts, scientists, and other specialists do the work. We use the word “developers” in Scrum not to exclude, but to simplify. The Product Backlog refinement is a continuous process to create actionable Product Backlogs. This competence of the Scrum team is critical to creating trust with the management and stakeholders as it allows for the regularly delivery of valuable Increments. Refinement is a very effective way of risk mitigation in a complex environment. Our mission is to move the profession of product management forward.