As a business analyst, your skills and your experience will be important to groom the backlog well. It’s clear which items will participate in the next release or product version and in which order the items will be implemented. Projects need enough up-front, big picture analysis to understand how the users and downstream functions are impacted. So many teams have defaulted to processes that chunk work out in tiny non-value added pieces with no traceability to customer value, solutions or downstream impacts. As the project evolves and changes, no one understands who or what will be affected by changes.

  • In Product Backlog Refinement, feedback is given and accepted either by team members or from customers.
  • Items are usually brought into a Sprint at Sprint Planning, but they can also be brought in mid sprint at times.
  • Eliminate user stories that add little or no value to the product.
  • It’s a way to keep transparency among all team members, ensuring that none of them are unaware of the current state of events.
  • The right people will usually also include a Subject Matter Expert on the business process, the system, or the customer need.
  • They need to continuously consider their teams capabilities, risk, and complexity when it comes to committing to work.

Usually, there is also discussion around the overall level of effort and risk. Sort of a retrospective of the actual work and how it stacked up against the original sizing in Backlog Refinement. If you read the Scrum Guide’s definition of Sprint Planning, it exposes two distinct parts to the meeting. There seems always to be questions surrounding aspects of the Product Owner role. Folks are always looking for clarity around what the PO should and should not be doing.

Publish a Backlog Refinement Agenda Before Meeting

This dependency occurs when a business process, like compliance reviews or approvals, prevents your team from moving forward on an item. Sprint Planning keeps the backlog clean and healthy without any mess so that the products are delivered on time and with full customer satisfaction. The prepared backlog list is discussed and estimated for the demo purpose in the Sprint Planning meeting. The Scrum Team shares all the information having final delivery kept in mind and discusses it in the meeting of Scrum Planning which brings transparency in projects and in an organisation.

The items should be the results of a collaboration between the PO and the dev team. It is also perfectly acceptable if Dev Team members do the vast majority of refinement activities in direct consultation with users and stakeholders. Schedule meetings or have spontaneous collaborations as necessary, with the end goal being a well thought out, well detailed PBI when it is presented at a backlog refinement session.

product backlog refinement techniques

The discussion is much more important than the final number! In fact, some agile experts advise that you ditch the numbers entirely and certainly don’t use them beyond the team. Backlog refinement is the process of discussing, breaking down, gathering details, and estimating backlog item. The focus is on what is needed and why, rather than on how to solve the business need. The Product Owner invites a “celebrity” (an end user, subject matter expert, Product Owner, etc.) to the backlog refinement. Someone on the team should be chosen as an “interviewer.” Agree within the team about who will document questions and answers.

Agility requires learning to split large epics into user stories representing very small product features. Collaboration between business people and technical people to split this epic yielded a story representing 80% of the business value for 20% of the effort of the original epic. (The team should collaborate together to produce one jointly-owned estimate for an item.) Large vague items are split and clarified, considering both business and technical concerns. Sometimes a subset of the team, in conjunction with the Product Owner and other stakeholders, will compose and split Product Backlog Items before involving the entire team in estimation.

Conduct Backlog Grooming 2-3 days Before Sprint Cycle Ends

Add technical debt to your Product Backlog to keep track of later work. The Product Backlog is an ordered list that starts with high-priority items and ends with low-priority items. We strive to even out the performance of modules containing large tasks and resources and shorten their loading time. Think of it as of a Russian doll – a story within a story. Product Roadmap is about a longer-term development, it usually consists of a timeline that can span into years and presents the big picture.

Rated 4.3/5 for Net Solutions based on 232 reviews at Google. Effective and Consistent Prioritization of the requirements leads to successful project completion. One possible solution to consider is to be diligent about iterating when writing your stories. Take at least two attempts to craft the story and ensure sufficient information has been conveyed. Relative effort estimation game (aka. Mike Cohn “Planning Poker”) variation with T-shirt sizes and story points. Tip – a practice that is definitely worth consideration, but might only be good in a few or very specific contexts or team situations.

Large Group Product Backlog Refinement in LeSS & LeSS Huge –

Large Group Product Backlog Refinement in LeSS & LeSS Huge.

Posted: Sun, 25 Nov 2018 08:00:00 GMT [source]

But after that part is completed, nearly every PO I’ve ever met wanted to leave the team to their own devices in planning the sprint. Their hearts are in the right place, but I believe they’re wrong in leaving. They’re missing an incredible opportunity to listen to their team and gain insights into what’s hard and what’s not. Having set the Sprint Goal and selected the Product Backlog items for the Sprint, the Development Team decides how it will build this functionality into a “Done” product Increment during the Sprint. The Product Backlog items selected for this Sprint plus the plan for delivering them is called the Sprint Backlog.

Simply expand the table to include columns for each team member. Enter an assessment of each team member’s competencies and clearly assess where the training needs are. The scanner company likely has processes for development, production, sales, delivery, and maintenance of bar code devices.

Thus further ensuring the Product Backlog is prepped with the highest priority user stories for Backlog Refinement . If backlog refinement is done well, you can skip the entire “What” part of the Sprint Planning meeting and go straight to decomposing PBI’s in the “How? Most teams will find that having regular product backlog refinement increases overall team knowledge and eventually increases productivity, usually by a large factor. If you do decide to set up a recurring, regular Backlog Grooming meeting, the Scrum Master or Project Lead might direct the meeting.

Product Backlog common pitfalls

Backlog refinement contributes to the cycle of deliverables by frequently updating items and their priority within the project so you can continuously produce quality deliverables. Keep your team focused on their sprint with workflow automation and task approvals. Managers can set as many triggers they want that release specific actions, freeing up their team of busywork. To make sure that no user story is completed improperly, there’s task approval so only those authorized to change the status of a task can move it to the done column on your kanban. One of the more basic backlog grooming maneuvers is to get rid of any user stories that no longer appear relevant.

product backlog refinement techniques

Sprint Planning is all about knowing and being up to date with the new requirements and product readiness to deliver it to the customers. Communication is the key requirement here, as each team member needs to give feedback for the prepared prioritised products in the backlog list. It instantly increases team effectiveness through continuous learning, defining opinions, and decision making among the team members. On some occasions, user stories may be too complex to estimate.

A product owner interacts with the Scrum team weekly, if not daily. The product owner might participate in the daily Scrum to hear firsthand about progress and problems. Most importantly, about once a week the product owner meets with the Scrum team to work on backlog refinement and help prepare the backlog items for the upcoming Scrum. Another important meeting for the product owner is the sprint review, where they will summarize the progress of completed sprints to business stakeholders. The product manager is in charge of the backlog refinement process. They decide on the items for the team to complete and assign priorities.

Warning Signs That Your Backlog Refinement Is Failing, and 3 Ideas to Fix It

To plan and execute demo sessions to demonstrate what the team has built. Creating and reassessing the relative priority in the backlog list as deep backlog per new needs. On the other, if you are working on a two-week sprint cycle, running these meetings every alternate week should be considered.

product backlog refinement techniques

Four different types of use cases are identified, created at different times and for different audiences, with traceability between them. Both the stakeholder and as-built use cases would be the basis for ongoing support and continuous improvement. When your team starts defining iterations, be an advocate for slicing and dicing based on user needs and value. You should not have iterations that deliver databases or interfaces or protocols.

Tip #13: Don’t be afraid to discuss a couple of items that are farther down the backlog

That means that everyone is on the same page, but it’s also a two-way street. The information teams receive gets feedback and the backlog also captures feedback from customers during live demos. In this guide, we covered what a product owner should know before getting started with backlog grooming.

The answer is more than yes; it’s engaging as a responsible teammate, which helps the team deliver on the vision and goals. Product Focus offers world class product management training courses for technology-based products. We run live online and face-to-face public courses where anyone can attend to build their skills and learn best practice. We also offer private product management training customized to the needs of a business and delivered online or on-site. You can also sign-up for our free resources on product management and product marketing.

Tips for an Effective Product Backlog Process

All three team members are in need of training in use case modelling. Let’s say that the scanner company has engaged a consultant to help improve its order entry process. From the scanner company’s perspective, the order entry process is, unsurprisingly, a process. From the consultant’s perspective, the order entry process is a product. The branch library is in the business of providing a subset of these services to a community within the city. Then their role compliments Agile estimation effectiveness incredibly well.

Business Technology Establish the optimal tool

Whoever is running the meeting should prepare beforehand by looking through the backlog and choosing which items to look at. In order for the refinement process to be considered a success, the team needs to agree that the item has been refined to the extent that it is now actionable. As a result, there would be little point in going through the process without consulting the team. Get them involved, so that they can verify that items are being refined to the correct extent. Ultimately, the question of who attends Backlog Grooming sessions is dependent on the context and information you need.

For PBI’s that are well defined, just discuss and quickly estimate. For PBI’s that have already been discussed in a previous refinement session, you only really need to revisit them if there is new information about them. For PBI’s where there is new information, just discuss the new information enough to be able to give a new estimate. Even if the initial acceptance criteria are high level, that is better than no acceptance criteria at all. The more the PO and team focus on getting to good detailed acceptance criteria, the better. Be reasonable about how much you can achieve in, say, an hour.