The Scrum Master is responsible for facilitation and the overall effectiveness of the meeting as well as teaching the dev team how to make the meeting effective through facilitation techniques. Team members are responsible for having an understanding of the stories BEFORE coming into refinement. The planning for Product Backlog Refinement sessions should be the responsibility of this core product discovery team. This way the Product Backlog Refinement session will proceed in an organized and planned manner.
- The Context Leadership Model is a tool for determining the appropriate project leadership style given a product’s uncertainty and complexity.
- The entire purpose of going into detailing and discussing the Product Backlogs is to satisfy and engage your customer.
- However, some teams prefer to re-prioritize user stories in the backlog together so everyone can discuss why things are moving around.
- In refinement, Product Backlog items are discussed until a shared understanding is reached.
- It is recommended to have at least one developer and one tester when refining the backlog, to ensure alternate viewpoints of the system are present.
- It’s also not that uncommon for the Scrum Master , a project manager, or another team member to lead these sessions.
As you get used to backlog refinement, you can use the following questions to evaluate your progress. Typically, they perform estimations with the most popular Agile technique — planning poker. It’s a granular approach used to specify the relative priority to other high priority items. You do that by assuming that #1 is more important than #2, which in its turn is more important than #3. Ultimately, the question of who attends Backlog Grooming sessions is dependent on the context and information you need.
That means, for instance, that not every item requires detail. Those are the ones developers will implement first in the next sprint. You could estimate first to conclude on items that demand refinement before estimation and only then refine high-effort items if necessary. The Product Owner should influence estimation by helping the dev team understand and select trade-offs, but the final decision is theirs. If the agreement still can’t be reached, the facilitator , can go with the highest, the lowest, or the most common estimation.
Tasks during the Backlog Refinement:
You’ll spend more time in Sprint planning just trying to understand which tasks need to be dealt with first, rather than creating your plan and cracking on with the work. The Definition of Ready, or DoR, is a less popular quality standard. The Definition of Ready represents all the things that a 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 backlog refinement process.
This agile refirement technique will help reconnect the leaders, business representatives, and subject matter experts with people who are much closer to the existing product’s challenge at hand. Product Backlog Refinement is possible to be done during Sprint planning, although we at Exadel don’t recommend that, especially for new teams. Customers change their minds, and technologies are changing. Unfortunately, the habit of managing this complexity with fixed predictions and detailed plans still exists in many organizations, even those using Scrum. When Scrum Teams are asked to guess product needs, customer behavior, and product-market fit, they are often doomed to fail.
Sharing information and views in this way helps the team arrive at a more accurate estimate that everyone can agree on. T-shirt sizing gives teams the opportunity to break L or XL projects down into smaller and more manageable parts that are good candidates for the Sprint. This rough estimation method https://globalcloudteam.com/ is particularly useful for making sure that items are the right size to enter the Sprint Backlog in the future. It usually takes place when there is a good amount of detail in a backlog item, but there are still a few unknowns. When we focus too much on what we need to do, we often limit our options.
It works best when there is a rhythm or cadence to the refinements that fits well within the team’s activities. And like many techniques, if the vision or roadmap churns, everything around them will be made less effective. So, while recognizing that change is encouraged, try to also encourage a general stability for the product’s overall goals and timelines. The purpose of Backlog Refinement is for the delivery team to clarify what they need to do to a backlog item. The effectiveness of the Product Backlog Refinement in the Software Development process is undisputed.
What is product backlog grooming?
Let’s go through a few of the most common refinement activities so you can boost your arsenal of tactics and refine backlog items even better. Tools that help you keep your backlog customer-centric will also help you deliver better for your customers. Easy Agile TeamRhythm lets you view your backlog and sprints in the context of the user story map, so you the whole team can see at a glance the work that is most important to your users. Now, let’s observe some handy prioritization techniques to identify the backlog items that should be addressed the soonest. Behind every efficient and effective agile team, there is a beautifully managed, refined backlog.
Get a weekly rundown of hand picked resources for product owners, business analysts, and product managers. The context diagram shows how your product interacts with outside people, organizations, and/or systems. Acceptance criteria are the conditions that a solution must satisfy to be accepted by a user, a customer, or, in the case of system-level functionality, the consuming system. They are also a set of statements, each with a clear pass/fail result, that specify both functional and nonfunctional requirements and are applicable at a variety of levels . In the spirit of just-in-time resources, here’s a collection of the simple, yet powerful, techniques that you can use to be a more effective product person. A whole team understanding of what is needed to build and why.
How to Refine Product Backlog?
If all of the team members agree on the size, then they are most likely to be aligned. It sounds like you have multiple Scrum Teams within your 40 developers. Each Scrum team would be focused on their own subset of backlog items and they would review those as a team in backlog refinement. Good backlog refinement processes will reduce the risk of items failing the sprint or taking longer than expected. They will expose risk and get all team members aligned with a shared understanding of the business problem. Grooming the product backlog should be a collaborative effort that involves the product owner and the development team.
With the answers to those questions in mind, you can start looking at what the next few sprints might look like. 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. If you don’t go through a process of project or product backlog refinement, you’ll waste time trying to make up for insufficient information.
How to conduct perfect product grooming
You need to learn something – For data infrastructure and analytics features, shipping later means you’ll need more time to gather data before you actually learn something. If you need to learn quickly, that cost of delay might matter. Want to get used to shipping fast – Some teams can get bogged down, overwhelmed, or just used to shipping slowly.
However, product backlog refinement is often accomplished with a regular meeting. 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. The goal of estimation is to gain a shared understanding of the work in the Product Backlog, not absolute certainty about the implementation effort involved. Scrum Teams estimate Product Backlog items by having developers assign a size to them.
Essential Checklist for Effective Backlog Refinement (and What To Avoid)
The purpose of this analogy is to show that backlog refinement helps your team maintain sprint velocity. It means that even before you get to the Sprint Planning meeting, there are well-defined tasks ready to be moved to the Sprint Backlog. The Scrum Master should also attend backlog refinement meetings, either to sit-in or to facilitate discussions. Those small increments of work are individual product backlog items.
Become a more effective product person
Our Agile Trainers and Coaches have the deep expertise to help you at all points of your agile journey. As part of the backlog process, teams will usually estimate the size of the item. The estimation, if done properly, can serve as a good test for whether or not the team is aligned. The Product Owner introduces the topic or product backlog item to be discussed.
The fundamental unit of Scrum is a small team of people, a Scrum Team. The Scrum Team consists of one Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and Developers. Within a Scrum Team, there are no sub-teams or hierarchies. backlog refinement techniques It is a cohesive unit of professionals focused on one objective at a time, the Product Goal. Try it as is and determine if its philosophy, theory, and structure help to achieve goals and create value.
In fact, it takes strategic, deliberate thinking to maintain a well-managed backlog, through a process called Backlog Refinement . It also takes commitment, as refining the backlog is not a one-off task. It is a continual practice that needs to be embedded as a habit within a team’s regular working cadence. Most people find that they need to break a large group like this down into Scrum Teams. I took the photo below at a conference at Florida Blue a few years ago.
Optimally, all events are held at the same time and place to reduce complexity. The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization.
This helps ensure items are broken down to the appropriate level for the appropriate team, while still aligning with longer term organizational and design strategies. The backlog serves as the connection between the product owner and the development team. The product owner is free to re-prioritize work in the backlog at any time due to customer feedback, refining estimates, and new requirements. Once work is in progress, though, keep changes to a minimum as they disrupt the development team and affect focus, flow, and morale.
“Celebrity interview” technique used for Product Backlog Grooming
These are the items for consideration during your next Sprint Planning meeting. If you find you have a particularly large queue of urgent items, you might need a different process to manage those – like even over statements. Cost of Delay is a product backlog prioritization technique where teams evaluate the cost of doing something later, and prioritize the items with the highest cost.