Backlog grooming: What is it?

These reviews are called “backlog grooming” or “backlog refinement” in agile circles. Regular reviews ensure prioritization is correct and help you maintain peace of mind with a manageable product backlog. Whenever possible I prefer one product backlog, even for a large product such as Microsoft Office. In those cases, some organizations use hierarchal backlogs, which have one backlog at the top that describes and prioritizes the large-scale features of the product. That top-level backlog is managed by the chief product owner.

deep backlog

In this article, we will dig deep to understand what the product backlog means, what it includes, and how the teams can work with it most efficiently. Backlog refinement is an essential part of the Scrum process. Backlog refinement used to be called “backlog grooming” or “sprint grooming”.

Because a product backlog evolves, it’s easy to add new stories and items—or remove them—as new information arises. Items in the backlog should contain enough contextual information for your cross-functional team to understand and discuss. Higher-priority user stories will have greater detail and context and be clearly defined. 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 ,the Backbone of Agile Project success

Remember, only those items in the backlog will be built but just because it’s on the backlog doesn’t mean it should be executed. The backlog is a prioritized list of deliverables that must be completed during the project. A scrum framework allows teams to execute in agile project management, the backlog is very important and backlog refinement keeps work flowing. Backlog refinement meetings are often facilitated by the product owner or product manager. That does not, however, imply that they are entirely responsible for holding backlog grooming meetings. These meetings can also be rarely led by the Scrum Master , a project manager, or the other team members.

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This term was changed recently to be more inclusive of Europeans. There is a Product Owner who is the guardian of the Product Backlog Refining sessions. But he needs to be supported by a team that is cross-functional with representations from teams that handle customers directly and the product Developer. The objective is also to keep the Product Backlogs populated with relevant tasks to-do, which is because, in its basic nature, the Product Backlog is a storehouse of information. The dynamic nature of the Product Backlog needs to be ensured at all costs; so that there are ample stories ready for iterations, at any given time.

Which and How Many Product Backlogs?

We should never see the backlog as something we set and forget. As we progress and get new information, there will be deep backlog a need to make some alterations or modifications. Items may need to be added, re-prioritized, or removed altogether.

The scope and goals should be clear and concise- everyone should be on the same platform. A backlog is a dynamic artifact that constantly changes as per the product roadmap. New stories are added and outdated user stories are removed as the need arises. Below are some tips and best practices for running a successful backlog grooming session.

The sprint backlog, on the other hand, is a subset of the main product backlog. Items in the sprint backlog are selected from the main product backlog, but the sprint backlog contains only tasks that can be completed during the sprint. The sprint backlog helps reduce the workload and increase the team’s effectiveness by focusing only on the initiatives that can be completed during the sprint. It’s important to maintain and declutter the product backlog regularly.

  • Then, you decide the amount of effort necessary to implement, as well as the order to do it.
  • The criteria that are more likely to not be given enough attention are the first and the third .
  • The better organization and communication that comes with backlog refinement reduces the time product managers and product owners spend planning sprints.
  • The lower priority items are estimated at high level and can be re-estimated as team gets more information.
  • We can pack stories with so much information that no one has the time or desire to read them or supply so few details they’d fit on a fortune cookie strip.
  • The backlog is constantly updated by the product manager, QA tester, developers, or other team members.
  • The clarity of your backlog will help keep morale high among development team members.

The adding, changing or removing of items will lead to new insights. Product backlog refinement is obviously not a one-time endeavor, but an ongoing process between the product owner and the development team. It’s a place where they can collaborate to make sure the product backlog is clean and orderly.

Who attends a backlog grooming session?

This allows the team to have a ready supply of work to pull in at any given time should priorities shift, which they often do. The Scrum Master has the role of facilitating the event, driving it towards the goal of a more refined backlog. The Product Owner will choose the highest priority backlog items to refine. Then the team will ask questions to get a better understanding of the work to be completed.

Once the roadmap is clear, we can work on creating an extensive list of tasks that will become a product backlog). Work on the product backlog starts with identifying the goals and objectives of the product. These goals and requirements are then translated into the product roadmap, where the evolution process of the product is described. It’s also known as Backlog Grooming and it is not just one event – it’s an ongoing process, as your backlog needs regular updates. Depending on the team’s product knowledge or the number of items added to the backlog regularly, it is recommended to refine your backlog daily, weekly, or per Sprint. As usual, this frequency should be adjusted to your team’s workflow and stakeholders’ needs.

deep backlog

Discover how adopting agile retrospectives can empower your team members to get better results out of scrums. Taking your entire team’s advice can be disruptive – it’s often better to involve those most informed and experienced in the matter. Address the high-priority tasks first, save less important tasks for the future.

Benefits of Backlog Grooming

A well-organized product backlog organizes the entire project. We know what to do and in what order, the scope of work is clear, and so are the deadlines. There is minimal confusion and unclarity in the team, and all members know what work is expected of them. Detailed Appropriately- this means that the detailing of ideas should be relevantly done. So, the item or the User Story that is high on priority should typically have more details than the Product Backlog items that are not so relevant at the moment.

deep backlog

Make sure to keep things concise within an hour or two to avoid losing focus on what’s essential (and don’t let anyone’s topic dominate the conversation). List and describe small backlog items as stories and big items as epics. It’s essential that you get everyone to contribute, but you must avoid expanding the backlog with entries that don’t add value to the customer.

Keeps Team Members Updated

This is because this is a dynamic process and emerging ideas are required to keep the process continuous. 20% of the Product Backlog items should be always almost ready for delivery. Since the purpose is to make the session interesting and interactive, choose to keep the duration of the meeting to less than an hour.

deep backlog

The product backlog is a term that we often hear when talking about Scrum project management methodology. Yet, the product backlog is applicable to a much wider variety of frameworks and methods. Understanding what backlog refinement is all about and how to run sessions regularly and effectively is critical. Here, we will dig deep into exactly what backlog refinement events are, who attends them, and what a successful output is.

What is the difference between a product backlog and a product roadmap?

This is especially helpful for questions that require some research and that the product owner will return to answer later. Backlog grooming requires a guide, and the guide is always the customer. Customers may serve as a yardstick by which everything else is assessed. Stakeholders should be consulted regularly, both internally and externally . As a product manager, you serve as a link between stakeholders and strategy. Now that we’ve gone through the theory let’s look at the product backlog example.

What is Productboard?

The team that consistently completes their most valued backlog items delivers the most value to customers. To set priorities, one must understand the market and the cost of each item. Storypoints, hours, and T-shirt sizes are common estimations (small, medium, large, x-large). By estimating backlog items, we know their implementation costs, which helps with prioritisation. (We want maximum value with minimum effort.) Estimating allows comparison.

Teaching Remotely?! Here are some tips to get you started!

According to the Scrum Guide, backlog grooming is a scrum artifact. Adding an item to the backlog is a way to acknowledge its importance and ensure it gets completed during the sprint. The backlog’s organization depends on the ability to prioritize tasks. Everyone must agree to implement the top priorities first.

Also, if it is a meeting that takes typically about 1 hour, go in for a weekly session. If, you, however, choose to go in for shorter meetings- then repeat the regularity of the sessions. On top of that, we plan to introduce color-coding automation.

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