Why Product Backlog Refinement Is Important

Multi-team PBR is arguably the most important event in LeSS to drive effective Sprints with well-aligned, coordinated, and adaptive teams. Multi-team PBR is when multiple teams are in the same room at the same time doing PBR. (Multisite variations are discussed in the LeSS books.) Attendees include all members of all participating teams, and may also include subject-matter experts, users, customers, and the Product Owner. Big workshops are better with a skilled facilitator, and this is a great adjunct role for a Scrum Master. Clarification of items is not done separately by the Product Owner or a business analysis group — doing that would increase the lean wastes of hand-off and information scatter.

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 a Product Owner, you have authority and responsibility over the Product Backlog. Every activity that affects the state of the Product Backlog can be seen as refinement. Apiumhub brings together a community of software developers & architects to help you transform your idea into a powerful and scalable product.

Changing the core design or ideas of Scrum, leaving out elements, or not following the rules of Scrum, covers up problems and limits the benefits of Scrum, potentially even rendering it useless. Scheduling the session and ensuring the right people are invited . Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your The concept of Product Backlog Refinement preferences for cookie settings. While the Scrum Guide 2020 dropped the previous guidance on time allocation, it remains a practical rule that the Scrum Team should reserve up to 10% of its time for Product Backlog refinement. The following 14 first principles describe in broad strokes the foundation of a successful approach to refinement.

  • It’s important to have the officially scheduled meeting and run the backlog grooming regularly.
  • The primary purpose of a backlog grooming session is to ensure the next few sprints worth of user stories in the product backlog are prepared for sprint planning.
  • Product Backlog Refinement, also referred to as Product Backlog Grooming, is a method for keeping the backlog updated, clean and orderly.
  • Choosing a way of refining your backlog is about finding what works for your team.
  • It is, however, recommended by the Scrum guide to do the grooming at the beginning of the sprint to ensure a healthy product backlog and that no unnecessary work gets done and time is used most efficiently.

However, all the members of the meeting are the people who work directly or indirectly affect the project, the organization, and the strategic goal of the project. All the attendees are the facilitators of the meeting and not the commander, and hence, their word is not final. Every Stakeholder also has the responsibility to attend the Product Backlog Refining sessions. In Scrum Teams, usually, the Scrum Master facilitates the meeting, however, in other companies, a Project Manager fits perfectly for the job. Agile Developer’s can fall out of sync sometimes when the objectives and outcomes change frequently just like any large-scale team project.

The general consensus around the ideal length for a backlog grooming session is between 45 minutes to 1 hour. But sometimes developers do not take a deep look into the backlog until the refinement meeting. Teams can end up using their precious time together trying to remember what the backlog items are and why they were added.

Success Principles Of The Product Backlog Refinement

Every project view feeds automatically into the live dashboard, which doesn’t require any time-consuming setup as you’ll find in other software. The real-time dashboard captures data and automatically calculates the information to display it in easy-to-read graphs and charts. The product owner can view six project metrics whenever they want to monitor the sprint and remove any roadblocks they find. At the third level, we find PBIs that are sized appropriately for a sprint—they can be completed in days rather than weeks. These items meet the team’s Definition of Ready and can be represented as user stories.

Product Backlog Refinement in scrum

All of this helps teams arrive at clearly defined and prioritised blocks of work that can be taken forward into the next sprint. Has nearly 15 years of experience as a practitioner in the areas of Agile and Scrum. She delivers training and coaching programs for organisations and teams across the globe. She is helping budding Scrum Masters and Product Owners to learn and grow in their careers.

Sprint Backlog

It seems to be a wide-spread idea that doing Agile means that there is no need for planning or preparation. Planning is seen as ‘waterfall’ and the feeling seems to be that the uncertainty inherent to complexity means it is a waste of time to even try. People are genuinely convinced that everything will become apparent as Sprints progress. Product Backlog Refinement isn’t an official Scrum Event, so there is no official time-box. The guideline for Product Backlog Refinement however is that it usually takes no more than 10% of the Development Teams’ capacity. He has spent his career helping people and organizations around the world communicate better.

PBR offers the team members the opportunity to interact with each other regarding stories. Estimation is less important in Agile development than it is in traditional development. Most teams that have excessive angst around estimation would benefit more from improving their technical practices, backlog refinement, and prioritization. One of the biggest reasons for having product backlog refinement is that it keeps your backlog clean. That can lead to a mess of backlog items without any rhyme or reason. With the answers to those questions in mind, you can start looking at what the next few sprints might look like.

Product Backlog Refinement in scrum

Product Backlog Refinement is not for PBIs selected for the current Sprint; it is for items in future Sprints. A good practice is to have at least two Sprints worth of work ready to go in the Product Backlog. Sprint Planning becomes relatively simple because https://globalcloudteam.com/ the Product Owner and Scrum Team start the planning with a clear, well analyzed and carefully Estimated set of stories. If refining the Backlog is not being done Sprint Planning will involve a significant amount of questions, discovery and or confusion.

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. Value — the business value of the item, as determined by the person who runs the backlog grooming process. Identifying roadblocks and minimizing risks related to backlog items. 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.

Real-time data helps you make more insightful decisions when in a backlog refinement meeting, which leads to more successful sprints. Backlog refinement sessions present an opportunity for product managers and product owners to explain the strategic purposes behind prioritized items in the backlog. These conversations can help improve alignment across the cross-functional team. Complete backlog items in a single sprint or split them into multiple user stories.

What Is Product Backlog Refinement And What Should It Look Like For My Team?

The primary purpose of the Product Backlog Refinement session is to ensure that User Stories worth the next few Sprints are prepared for Sprint Planning. 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.

This implies that these Product Backlog sessions can take various forms in different companies. The same also implies to the attendees for these sessions, as they also vary among the organizations. There is no hard-and-fast rule for who needs to attend the sessions.

By Team Function

It’s important to have the officially scheduled meeting and run the backlog grooming regularly. This will eliminate or at least minimize the risks of building the wrong things, wasting time, and having to re-do the work. Without knowing what’s relevant and assigning priorities to each item, your project will drag for longer and you will risk ending up with mediocre results. Ensure upcoming user stories meet the team’s “definition of ready” by adding key contextual information and acceptance criteria. The Scrum Team accomplishes this level of proficiency by regularly refining Product Backlog items in small groups or with the whole Scrum Team, and not just once every Sprint as part of the Sprint Planning. The idea behind the refinement is to create a shared understanding with all team members of why a particular work item is valuable, what the Developers shall build, and how to realize the work technically.

Product Backlog Refinement in scrum

Product owners dictate the priority of work items in the backlog, while the development team dictates the velocity through the backlog. This can be a tenuous relationship for new product owners who want to “push” work to the team. Learn more in our article about work-in-progress limits and flow. Product backlog refinement is sometimes called product backlog grooming, and we will use those terms interchangeably in the article. In this article, we will talk about what product backlog refinement implies, why it’s necessary for all Agile teams, and how to organize it in the best way possible. Many agile practitioners say a “DEEP” product backlog is the key outcome of a backlog refinement session.

The Product Owner is the sole professional responsible for managing the Product Backlog. They revise the items on the Product Backlog every day such that it is easy for the Developer to pick items for their Sprints. 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.

What Is Product Backlog Refinement

If you’re a Product Owner working on a product, Refinement starts with having a vision for this product. The ScrumMaster is responsible for the events of a Sprint Planning meeting. To plan and execute demo sessions to demonstrate what the team has built. Each group checks every item on its Max Spec list to see if it correlates with the purpose.

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 of following orders of an outside member. Do not schedule backlog refinement meeting during the first and last 20% of the Sprint Planning session. The products are prioritized based on a prepared backlog list to discuss in Sprint meetings. This will not only keep your backlog less cluttered but also speed up your backlog grooming sessions. It’s important that you encourage every department across your organization to participate in backlog grooming sessions.

If Scrum Teams become too large, they should consider reorganizing into multiple cohesive Scrum Teams, each focused on the same product. Therefore, they should share the same Product Goal, Product Backlog, and Product Owner. 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. It is a cohesive unit of professionals focused on one objective at a time, the Product Goal.

Scrum wraps around existing practices or renders them unnecessary. Scrum makes visible the relative efficacy of current management, environment, and work techniques, so that improvements can be made. 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.