The Product Goal describes a future state of the product which can serve as a target for the Scrum Team to plan against. The rest of the Product Backlog emerges to define “what” will fulfill the Product Goal.
Successful product owners will see their stakeholders as a team, not merely a set of individuals. Mike Cohn specializes in helping companies adopt and improve their use of agile processes and techniques to build extremely high-performance teams. He is the author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, Agile Estimating and Planning, and Succeeding with Agile as well as the Better User Stories video course. Mike is a founding member of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance and can be reached at If you want to succeed with agile, you can also have Mike email you a short tip each week.
Scrum is built upon by the collective intelligence of the people using it. Rather than provide people with detailed instructions, the rules of Scrum guide their relationships and interactions. Product Backlog Refinement, also referred to https://globalcloudteam.com/ as Product Backlog Grooming, is a method for keeping the backlog updated, clean and orderly. PBR is a collaborative discussion process which starts at the end of one sprint to confirm whether the backlog is ready for the next sprint.
Product Backlog Refinement Strategy
We plan to achieve this by introducing configurable Column Views. You will soon be able to create a customized Column View by removing unnecessary columns and selecting such that you need to switch between at any time easily. Column Views will also be branded by newly implemented metrics. We have already connected the BigPicture with Trello and Jira instances in the same hosting model as the parent instance. We plan to enable easy integration with multiple Jira instances, regardless of their hosting models, and with popular management platforms, such as Azure DevOps, GitLab, Microsoft Planner, and more.
This helps you to avoid the scenario where the whole backlog refinement meeting is simply people trying to get back up to speed with what each ticket is about. And multiple backlog items with user stories sit under an Epic, which is a larger piece of work such as a feature update. While the Product Owner is responsible for shaping and nurturing the backlog, the development team is expected to add detail to individual backlog items throughout the Sprint. Product backlog refinement is the process of shaping and prioritizing items on the product backlog. Higher ordered Product Backlog items are clearer and more detailed than lower ordered ones.
Product Backlog Tips To Make Work Flow
Items at the top are important right now and should be smaller in size and more details so that team could start implementing them in upcoming sprints. As you go lower the product backlog, the items are less important ad less detailed. A single-point person – the product owner – is accountable for effective product backlog management. Product Backlog Refinement breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items.
- Scrum makes visible the relative efficacy of current management, environment, and work techniques, so that improvements can be made.
- If the Definition of Done for an increment is part of the standards of the organization, all Scrum Teams must follow it as a minimum.
- Various processes, techniques and methods can be employed within the framework.
- When product backlog is initially created it would have items of various sizes, clarity and value.
- These values give direction to the Scrum Team with regard to their work, actions, and behavior.
- The guideline for Product Backlog Refinement however is that it usually takes no more than 10% of the Development Teams’ capacity.
- That way, the backlog will reflect the accurate and up-to-date needs of the end-users.
By asking these questions earlier, the product owner is given a chance to arrive at answers to any questions he or she may not be prepared to answer immediately. At any point in time, the total work remaining to reach a goal can be summed. The Product Owner tracks this total work remaining at least for every Sprint Review. The Product Owner compares this amount with work remaining at previous Sprint Reviews to assess progress toward completing projected work by the desired time for the goal. The Development Team works to forecast the functionality that will be developed during the Sprint. The Product Owner presents ordered Product Backlog items to the Development Team and the entire Scrum Team collaborates on understanding the work of the Sprint.
Backlog refinement incorporates several different activities, such as t-shirt sizing, Sprint Poker, and prioritization. The Developers who will be doing the work are responsible for the sizing. The Product Owner may influence the Developers by helping them understand and select trade-offs.
I – investigate—The Developers may need to do some analysis work for an item (e.g., talk to another Team, look into code, do technical research) to ensure readiness for the next Sprint. F – Fix—The Product Owner and Developers break items into smaller elements to allow completion within a single Sprint. Users will soon be able to align the objectives with scheduled works to drive execution. Furthermore, key results of the objectives could be tracked and measured. The former allows breaking the biggest, most ambitious goals into smaller, more manageable, and transparent elements.
As items get closer to the bottom of the funnel they become more refined and accurate. Backlog items being discussed by the Parabol team directly in GitHub. If ad-hoc discussions are needed to further refine a tricky item, the Product Owner should make time for the team. Imagine for a second that your team is a super-fast bullet train. You’re a high-performance machine with a high sprint velocity. You’re even able to go around corners and tackle some unexpected bumps at speed.
If we intend to complete an issue but it’s yet not ready for development (i.e. it needs more detail or the team has no capacity for extra work), the issue is dragged into the Backlog. End by reviewing if the placement of Issues in your backlog pipeline is still relevant. Keeping this pipeline prioritized helps teams understand the most important issue to work on next should everything in the Sprint be finished ahead of time. The products are prioritized based on a prepared backlog list to discuss in Sprint meetings. In the Backlog Refinement meeting, backlog products are estimated and discussed to prepare an approachable backlog list.
Changes in business requirements, market conditions, or technology may cause changes in the Product Backlog. The earliest development of it only lays out the initially known and best-understood requirements. The Product Backlog evolves as the product and the environment in which it will be used evolves. The Product Backlog is dynamic; it constantly changes to identify what the product needs to be appropriate, competitive, and useful. At stage 2, the three amigos (Business stakeholder/Product Owner/BA, QA and Developers) will meet up to flush out the business requirements and formulate the acceptance criteria. Items at Level 0 should therefore only be described at a high-level.
However, the Scrum Team together decides how and when to plan Refinement meetings. Optionally, the Scrum Team may also invite people outside the Scrum Team to Refinement, such as experts or stakeholders, in order to gain technical, business or domain advice. The Product Backlog refinement is a continuous process to create actionable Product Backlogs, enabling a Scrum Team to run Sprint Plannings at a moment’s notice. Consequently, refinement is about creating alignment among all team members about the Why, the What, the How, and probably even the Who regarding the upcoming work for the Scrum team’s Product Goal. As a result, Product Backlog refinement is a critical success factor as it drastically increases the team’s capability to deliver valuable Increments regularly. In the spirit of the Scrum Guide, daily sessions build a habit of continuous refinement.
Finally, it defines the “feature set” for the next Sprint Backlog; user stories that are appropriately refined, estimated, prioritized, and meet the Definition of Ready . The backlog items’ list should be well understood by the PO, or development team member to work well in the meeting. Make sure that the set of predefined acceptance tests are present. Not all items in the product backlog will be of the same size and level of detail at the same time. PBIs that we plan to work on soon should be near the top of the backlog, small in size, and very detailed so that they can be worked on in a near-term sprint.
Backlog Grooming Vs Backlog Refinement
Anyone who’s going to be working on the project work or issues being discussed should attend as well as anyone who has important information about the work items. For example, you can invite subject matter experts to discuss specific topics, walk through the issues, and get some answers. However, what’s more important than priority is order in the product backlog.
Product Backlog is a list of tasks organized in order of importance, so that the team knows what work needs to be completed first. Aside from the list of tasks , the Product Backlog also contains the Product Goal – what the team aims to achieve in the long run as far as the product is concerned. In version 2 , the creators of Scrum restructured the guide a bit, and the reference to backlog grooming transitions from a tip floating off to the side to text in the main body of the document. I’ve seen others refer to this transition as upgrading the activity from a tip to a practice.
Removing all the tiny tip boxes necessitated restructuring the guide to retain any relevant information previously labeled tips. Version 1 of the Scrum Guide just mentioned backlog grooming as a tip in a floating box to the right of the section about the Product Backlog. Notice, though, that the guide refers to the activity as grooming. If they disagree on the size, or if there are outliers, this usually reveals differing assumptions about the item. The team should let those with the outlier estimates explain their reasoning and assumptions. This pre-work need not be extensive, it just needs to capture some basic information about the request so that the actual discussion in PBR goes quicker.
These questions do not need to be fully resolved in a backlog refinement meeting. Rather, the product owner needs only to address them just enough so that the team feels confident that the story can be adequately discussed during the coming planning meeting. More mature teams may find it more effective to refine backlog items during sprint planning. Or they may treat refinement as a continuous flow and leave refinement of the backlog items until mid-sprint when they are ready to develop the backlog item.
Tl; Dr: Product Backlog Refinement First Principles
In order to get everybody on the team aligned, teams plan the work that should be done in the next sprint. The purpose of sprint planning is to agree on a goal for the next sprint and the set of backlog items to achieve it. Sprint planning is about prioritizing backlog items and agreeing on the number of backlog items in the sprint based on team capacity. Scrum suggests investing two hours per sprint week in planning sessions .
Evolution Of The Scrum Guide
Following the user story refinement and estimation, the Scrum Team and Product Owner should begin prioritizing the user stories that will eventually fill the Sprint Backlog. The Scrum Team should provide feedback that will help determine the best order for accomplishing the sprint goal. However, if during Backlog Refinement additional questions or risks arise, the Scrum Team should assign action items to the Product Owner to clarify.
At each Sprint Planning meeting your team lays down an extra two weeks of track that get you closer to your end destination without compromising velocity. Your conductor already knows where this high-speed train is going because he/she has the trusty product roadmap in hand and has already charted a course. The Scrum Guide gives a lot of guidance on when the different meetings should take place. Once again, the Scrum Guide suggests some attributes that have been found to help but it is not prescriptive on what attributeshave to be included. So, to correctly answer the question on the quiz, select 1, 3, and 4.