Product Backlog Grooming Best Practices: What it is and Why its Critical by Dialexa back to the napkin

After a minimal amount of work is done on each item on the backlog – enough to understand the resources involved to complete it — the Scrum Team has a refinement meeting. A good, well-groomed backlog makes sure you stay on top of what needs to be done next. It also helps you keep your backlog relevant by getting rid of unnecessary and irrelevant tasks so the more relevant features can be easily prioritized instead. Tell us in the comments the practices and tools you will be using in your next backlog refinement session. Prioritized – The product backlog should be arranged in increasing order, with the most valuable things at the top and the least valuable ones at the bottom.

backlog grooming best practices

In these backlog refinement sessions, the product owners or managers explain the purpose of the prioritized stories to the team. The team is then in a position to be better aligned about the project purpose. If required, the team may divide huge backlog items into smaller ones. This is an excellent time for the product manager and anyone involved in planning to prioritize product backlog items so that the highest-priority items are addressed first. The product owner, the product manager, and the development team attend the backlog grooming meetings. Sometimes, a scrum master might also attend backlog refinement sessions for assistance.

Minimum Viable Bureaucracy — A Practical Approach to Scaling Agile Project Management

Managing the product backlog is one of the most critical responsibilities for a Product Owner. There will always be someone who will be busy working on the sprint deliverables and will have to sit up late or have leftover tasks carried over the next sprint cycle. D – Detailed Appropriately – Items should be stated in very clear terms so that the team and everyone involved have no issues in understanding.

  • Recently, I had to deal with an old codebase that was difficult to maintain and scale.
  • Issues are hard to resolve because they are not linked to code – issues created using traditional issue tracking tools inherently lack codebase context.
  • Adhering to the best practices above can ensure that you get the most of backlog grooming meetings.
  • So you might be tempted to create a separate backlog to hold items you don’t want to forget about.

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. Lucidspark is a virtual whiteboard that helps you and your team collaborate to bring the best ideas to light.

Product Makers Summit

Here are useful tips for Product Owners functioning as facilitators of the backlog refinement meeting. Now, let’s observe some handy prioritization techniques to identify the backlog items that should be addressed the soonest. How do you prepare for this event and which techniques can facilitate effective discussions within the team? UserVitals helps teams collect, organize and prioritze customer feedback. Crowdsource customer feedback in one easy to use tool and build better products. Sometimes one user story or activity cannot commence until another is done.

backlog grooming best practices

Your development team and other teams working on your product will have unique points-of-view that you might not have considered, and this can help you make better, more objective choices. A typical backlog grooming error is to combine all of these data into a single backlog list with no classification. 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.

Keeps Team Members Updated

When adding new user stories to the backlog, be on the same page as your product owner. The objective of backlog refinement is not to reduce the number of user stories. Product backlog grooming sessions also allow product owners and managers a chance to align on priorities and strategic purposes for improved cross-functional team collaboration. Doing so helps your team go into sprint planning sessions fully equipped to be productive.

Similarly, we prioritize functionality or tasks in software development because few functionalities are more important than others. Product Backlog prioritization plays one of the most critical exercises in agile software development. Your backlog needs to be structured, organized, and arranged to favor your team’s most strategically important things to work on. E – Estimated – Teams should draw a good estimate of the work needed to deliver backlog items which are at the top.

Assess, create, remove, and split user stories

In addition, an appreciation for team members’ contributions encourages everyone to work together. The person who serves as the backlog grooming lead may differ based on the team and its needs. However, it is common for a Scrum master or project manager to lead. It can take a lot of work to figure out when to end a backlog grooming session.

Backlog Grooming: Who, When and How –

Backlog Grooming: Who, When and How.

Posted: Tue, 04 May 2010 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Backlog grooming meetings prepare for long-term future projects. In contrast, a sprint planning meeting focuses on only one short-term work item. In a backlog meeting , user stories, features, bugs and technical work that span multiple sprints are assessed, prioritized, adjusted and added or removed. However, sprint planning focuses on setting a goal for and planning required activities to complete one sprint. Holding regular backlog grooming sessions like these not only keeps teams unified and on-target, but also ensures the backlog doesn’t get bogged down with irrelevant or outdated stories.

Build your own visual, collaborative product backlog.

We hope the backlog refinement tips shared here can help you. Attendance at a backlog refinement event is ideally the entire Scrum Team, including the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and Development product backlog management techniques Team. There may also potentially be one or two stakeholders, if subject matter expertise is needed. With particularly large delivery teams, it may not be feasible to invite everyone.

Open communication keeps all stakeholders and team members involved and informed of project progress. Visibility is crucial for effectively understanding a codebase and effectively prioritising issues. Stepsize enables you to create, view and manage issues directly from your codebase. This can transform how you track issues and lead to behavioural change in how your team approaches technical risk.

Tips for Better Backlog Refinement Meetings

But whatever you choose to call it, this process can be a powerful tool for keeping teams focused on the product roadmap’s overall strategic trajectory. “We’ve had some teams try to do more of a classic two weeks scrum model — with daily stand-ups, backlog grooming meetings, etc. Usually, over time, those degrade to fewer synchronous meetings, which is where most of our teams have landed,” shares Nic Roth from Postscript. Product backlog refinement is a crucial part of a successful software development process. When your team has good strategies to track and prioritise the right issues, you can reduce technical debt, manage technical risk and ship the right features faster.

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