Product Backlog Refinement

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Product Backlog Refinement

Product Backlog Refinement—sometimes referred to as Product Backlog Grooming is a meeting that is held during the current sprint to prepare work to be done in the upcoming sprints. This is to ensure that the Product Backlog Items (PBI’s) are ready to be planned for the upcoming sprint planning meeting. The team can spend up to 10% of their sprint time on Product Backlog Grooming.

The development team, the product owner, Scrum Master and maybe some SME’s discuss the top items on the product backlog. This is to ensure that any risk associated with PBI is either eliminated or mitigated for the upcoming sprint planning meeting. These risks could be any of the following:

Technical Issues
Lack of clarity on the PBI intent
Dependency on a SME resource
Dependency on another team
Organizational decision

Follow up with stakeholders by the Product Owner

If it is a two-week sprint which, depending on the team agreement could be (80 hours (two weeks) = 60 hours (hands on keyboard work) + 20 hours (Work to support the sprint i.e. meetings white boarding etc.) The team can spend up to 6 hours just doing Product Backlog Refinement.

I like to break these meetings into multiple smaller meeting during the sprint (e.g.1 hour every other day) this helps in the following way

Focus of the team is better due a shorter meeting, longer meeting tend to drag and tend to be less effective.

Multiple opportunities for the team to meet and discuss the PBI’s before they are ready to be taken up in the planning session.  This makes the team more familiar with the work to be done.

Multiple opportunities to follow up on any questions on the PBI.

Have a regular cadence to these meetings also helps the team in self organization. The frequency, days and times for the meeting can be a ground agreement within the team.

Does your team follow a similar process?

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