The facilitator could be the Scrum Master or the Product Owner, however, I recommend that the Development Team members facilitate their backlog refinement discussions. For new teams, I recommend that they start with a regularly scheduled meeting. They can adjust the length of the meeting or the number of meetings or simply cancel a planned PBR if they find they don’t need it. I do think that a Definition of Ready can be useful but not as it is often implemented. 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.
I find it helpful to make sure some level of work is done in advance of the PBR discussions with the full team. If a backlog item is just a placeholder sentence, then the team can often spin and spend a lot of time trying to understand what is meant. It is better if the Product Owner or requestor or even a business analyst or team member takes some time to document what the request is all about. I teach participants to leverage the ELMO technique during backlog refinement.
Sprint Planning Process
Story Mapping – Examine the context and the steps required for a user to complete an activity. Top-down – Start with the Project Vision and supporting documentation like the Business Case to populate the Product Backlog. Focusing on what will resolve current business issues in the next Sprint is the key.
When they are accepted by the Product Owner, they move to the backlog. If people are multitasking or if you have a large team , your meetings are going to drag on, become unproductive, and the cost may outweigh the benefit. No one enjoys dealing with participants who are focused elsewhere and tuned out or ask you to repeat the question or conversation. During the sprint refinement meeting, the team looks at the product backlogs and decides whether further decomposition is required or it can be included in the next sprint. This process continues until the team finds a good collection of the user stories in the product backlog to be included in the sprint backlog.
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. A Scrum Team consists of a Scrum Master, the Developer, and a Product Owner. It is a self-organizing cross-functional team that chooses the best way to complete their work instead Product Backlog Refinement of following orders of an outside member. As mentioned above, the most important items are shown at the top of the product backlog so the team knows what to deliver first. Backlog Item priority might change, requirements can be added and removed – thus the Product Backlog is a continuously maintained plan towards a growing business value.
Learn More About Product Backlog Principles
The process of managing and prioritizing the Product Backlog is called Product Backlog Refinement and is one of the important tasks that have to be managed for the Scrum Team to efficiently function. Product Backlog Refinements are essential for the Scrum Team’s creativity, productivity, and flexibility and also contributes to the success of product development and delivery of the team. Let us understand in-depth about what is Product Backlog Refinement in Scrum and the goals and its advantages.
When they accept the invitation, every individual edit is viewable and saved. You can simply copy the Product Backlog refinement framework described above by clicking the button at the beginning of this chapter. If you want to design your own custom framework, follow the steps below.
Prioritizing the Product Backlog items after each Sprint Planning meeting and re-assessing the relative priority of stories. Sometimes the Project Manager or the Scrum Master can use this session to estimate stories and assign story points. Refining the Product Backlog items increases the work velocity and enhances the workflow of the company.
The refinement sessions usually happen once or twice a sprint usually just before the end of the last week. The purpose of the meeting is to provide the development team with an overview and clarification of the backlog. The teams can focus on the items with higher priority for longer duration. 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. Now that you know what PBR is, it’s time to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible every time a refinement meeting takes place.
Backlog Refinement: What It Is And Why & How You Do It?
It leverages the benefits of collaboration in detailing user stories and defects. It improves the efficiency of the Sprint Planning meeting because most questions are already answered. 🖥 💯 🇬🇧 Advanced Professional Scrum Master Online Training w/ PSM II Certificate — September 6-9, 2022. If you listen to the music of your team, you’ll find your refinement rhythm in no time. When that happens, you can experiment by shifting daily refinement to weekly refinement to lower the burden at the end of the sprint but keep your finger on the pulse. To start, he implemented a ‘bug triage’ meeting – the developers would go through tricky bugs he’d picked and try to solve them together or at least understand them.
Removing User Stories that seem no longer relevant to the product. Eliminating any ambiguity regarding the product by a discussion of the User Stories with the Scrum Team. Breaking down larger products and services such as User Stories into smaller tasks. With an objective to enable continuous learning and progression for our learners, PremierAgile curated several learning articles.
Is Refinement A Scrum Ceremony?
You can run a planning poker session by using cut out cards or by using Parabol’s free Sprint Poker tool that will guide you through every step of the process. It usually takes place when there is a good amount of detail in a backlog item, but there are still a few unknowns. An Epic has been completed when every user story underneath it has been completed. If you’re new to a team, it’s worth consulting with your Product Owner to understand what the process is. Other companies keep the product backlog, design backlog and bug backlog separate, to maintain clarity. As items get closer to the bottom of the funnel they become more refined and accurate.
The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. The heart of Scrum is a Sprint, a time-box of one month or less during which a “Done”, usable, and potentially releasable product Increment is created. Top-ordered Product Backlog items drive immediate development activities. The higher the order, the more a Product Backlog item has been considered, and the more consensus exists regarding it and its value. The Product Owner may represent the desires of a committee in the Product Backlog, but those wanting to change a backlog item’s priority must convince the Product Owner.
Hence, by holding regular Product Backlog Refining sessions, teams can easily align their workloads and make sure that the project stays on track. The Scrum Team members learn and explore the values as they work with the Scrum events and artifacts. When these values are embodied by the Scrum Team and the people they work with, the empirical Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life building trust. The Scrum Team commits to achieving its goals and to supporting each other. Their primary focus is on the work of the Sprint to make the best possible progress toward these goals.
- Though logical, it carries the disadvantage that the Product Owner has a high stake in the direction and outcome of discussions.
- And rotate both roles so that everyone on the team has a chance to experience it and will have empathy for those performing the role.
- While refinement may be one of a team’s most important continuous tasks, the guidance on when and how to do it is very limited.
- ELMO is an acronym for “Enough Let’s Move On” and it helps remind people to avoid boiling the ocean or rehashing the same thing over and over.
- The focus is on what is needed and why, rather than on how to solve the business need.
- The point of “backlog refinement” isn’t to create a needless process, but to make space for a more focused product.
Hence, a well-managed Product Backlog is a secret for the well-developed product that makes the Product Backlog Refinement a high priority in Scrum Meetings. This helps in keeping the backlog list updated with new information. It provides an appropriate, detailed and estimated degree of product’s priority. https://globalcloudteam.com/ Product Backlog Refinement ensures that the backlog remains filled with relevant items or products for delivery either by a Product Manager or by developers. The Product Owner does not need to attend the Daily Scrum but if they do, they should take no active part in it and simply observe.
Agile Estimation Techniques To Try With Your Team
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. Having a dedicated meeting also gives you the time to dive deep on individual tickets, build user stories together and discuss tickets in detail. A once-per-Sprint meeting can be very powerful if the team have been engaged with the backlog throughout the Sprint.
While backlog refinement is described in the Scrum Guide as an “ongoing activity,” it doesn’t occur spontaneously. Backlog refinement benefits from structure and cadence just like the scrum events . As I describe in my Sprint Cadence article, consistent cadence leads to greater focus and predictability, which in turn means more successful outcomes (i.e., realization of value). As time goes on and Sprint Velocity improves, you may want to make coordinated refinement meetings less frequent – weekly or once per Sprint.
Regular sessions of Product Backlog Refinement also ensure that the right stories are prioritized and stories that may not yield the results as expected can be dropped. Product Managers and the Product Owners can explain the strategic purpose of any User Story that is prioritized in the Product Backlog items during Product Backlog Refinement sessions. These sessions are essential to improve alignment across the cross-functional team and also valuable for the development of correct and quality products. Scrum Framework is an iterative lightweight and powerful set of values, principles, and practices.
In fact, weekly product backlog refinement offers a more sustainable way of engaging with the backlog. It’s continuous, but it also allows your team space during the week for uninterrupted focus on current Sprint goals. A well-maintained product backlog might be the single biggest gift you can give to your users – and your sanity. The point of “backlog refinement” isn’t to create a needless process, but to make space for a more focused product. By the time everyone knows what’s what, you have 10 minutes left to add depth to user stories, hold detailed discussions, or estimate effort. Proposed backlog items are added into the ‘To Prioritize’ column.
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By the same token, t-shirt sizing helps identify backlog items that are actually Epics and should be broken down into multiple backlog items. If your backlog items are in good enough shape, you might try out t-shirt sizing with your team. 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. The third step is to create a user story map based on the selected ideas from phase 2. I used ourpre-made user story map template, but you can create your own.