What is Backlog Refinement in agile

In scrum, a team has a Product Backlog, which is managed by the Product Owner. It contains the sum of the current thinking of what can be built for the product. The team pulls work from the backlog into a sprint, where it forms the sprint scope (i.e. sprint backlog). The team then has the goal of completing that work and producing a product increment. The problem is how work goes from being Product Backlog Items, to a Sprint Backlog. Product Backlog Refinement is possible to be done during Sprint planning, although we at Exadel don’t recommend that, especially for new teams.

product backlog refinement techniques scrum

If the item cannot be refined in 10 minutes, it usually means that either the item is too big and needs to be split, or, that you don’t have the right people in the room who are knowledgable about the item. One of these challenges is managing dependencies between backlog items. Failure to manage dependencies effectively can result in delays, rework, or inconsistent implementation. Also, it can be challenging to accurately estimate the time and resources needed for implementation. After the session, the team discusses follow-up on any action items or next steps.

But stakeholders want to know what’s next!

We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals. Ensure all stakeholders agree with the prioritization so they can be included in future planning sessions. Finally, After accumulating all information, the team creates a plan for implementation to inform all stakeholders regarding the project.

  • Refinement is defined in the Scrum Guide as an “ongoing activity to add details, such as description, order, and size.” Even though this definition is simple, it can cause a good amount of confusion.
  • The amount of time allocated will depend on the state of the product backlog.
  • Such discussion are consuming the energy of everyone in the meeting, including those involved in the discussion.
  • When all money is spent, the bought items in the list reflect the collectively important items to the stakeholders.

Your team operates in a highly dynamic environment with competitors who release innovations to the market at least once per quarter. What happens if you face a new business opportunity or business needs change? Those carefully refined PBIs, which you will not get to for a year or more, could become obsolete. A Product Backlog refined out a bit farther may be appropriate for more stable environments experiencing fewer changes. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development.

Activities during Product Backlog Refinement

In the 90s, I spent months perfecting requirements for a new product. By the time we built the product, so much had changed in the market that much of what I’d written was irrelevant or needed significant updates. Context is important, and you want everyone on the team to understand the bigger picture.

This system focuses on the “who” and “why”, i.e. who is being potentially impacted by the product and why, rather than the “what” and “how” (i.e implementation). It is an excellent collaborative activity and works very well for pulling together a coherent set of related stories, rather than a random laundry list or grab-bag of tasks. While user story writing is its own topic , here are some quick pointers. If Product Backlog refinement is not being done , Sprint Planning may involve more questions, discovery, and/or confusion.

Challenges in product backlog refinement

Accurate estimation allows the team to set realistic expectations and allocate resources effectively. Planning sprints in more detail and precise results in improved project planning and delivery. When it comes to how much is enough refined work, I advise targeting 1.5 to 2 times the scrum team’s current sprint capacity. If the team averages 10 product backlog items per sprint, https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ having 15 to 20 PBI ready is a good target. It involves developing user stories, breaking them down into smaller tasks, figuring out how much effort is involved, and rating them according to significance. This process enhances team understanding of the needs for the product, identifies dependencies or missing data, and prepares backlog items for following sprints.

product backlog refinement techniques scrum

They keep their DoR handy during backlog refinement and use it as a checklist when refining backlog items. The DoR can help the team focus and guide their discussions during the Product Backlog Refinement meeting. Once this becomes part of the team’s muscle memory, they may no longer need the flip chart. More mature teams may find it more effective https://www.globalcloudteam.com/techniques-and-practices-for-product-backlog/ 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. An effective product backlog refinement session ensures productive discussions, shared understanding, and actionable outcomes.

✋ Nicht versäumen: Lernen Sie mehr über das komplette Produkt-Backlog in der 12.000-köpfigen „Hands-on Agile“ Slack-Community

The Developers assign a size to each of their Product Backlog items in relation to the reference entry. If they do not understand an item, the question mark is assigned. Therefore Scrum Teams refine only items that move further up the Product Backlog. To avoid refining too much ahead of time, Developers should only spend 10% of their time. Delivery Managers should encourage backlog discussions at other times during the sprint.

Let’s acknowledge that and use the language Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland have used in every edition of the Scrum Guide, product backlog refinement. The Product Backlog Refinement meeting’s goal is to examine and improve the product backlog in Scrum collaboratively. The Scrum team, comprising the Product Owner and Development Team, gathers for this session to discuss and iterate on the backlog items.

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It never stops because requirements and opportunities never stop changing. Detailing everything up front would create waste and also delay the delivery of value. According to the Scrum Guide, Product Backlog refinement is the act of adding detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog.

This spike will be added to the Sprint Backlog of the current Sprint. Preferably will bring back a result before the next meeting so the item can be brought a step closer to being ready. Product Owners can create a visual representation of the way forward, which may or may not include unrefined PBIs.

Product Backlog refinement: How far is too far?

The product owner and team review stories at the top of the backlog to prepare for upcoming sprints. The only thing product backlog refinement shares in common with the formal scrum events is a clear outcome. Let’s start answering this question by first dispelling the myth that product backlog refinement is an event in scrum.