What is backlog grooming?
Backlog grooming is a term that refers to the process of refining unique user stories or backlog items.
In backlog grooming, teams divide important things into smaller tasks and prioritize those that need to be addressed first in the order in which they were received. Together, this contributes to developing the objectives for the upcoming sprint session.
Backlog grooming may also be referred to as ‘backlog refinement or story time’ depending on who you speak with. Whatever you want to call it, this method may be valuable for keeping teams focused on a product roadmap’s development’s overarching strategic trajectory.
The Importance of Backlog Grooming
A regularly planned meeting attended by crucial team stakeholders typically characterizes backlog grooming at its most effective level of performance.
The presence of too many individuals in backlog grooming meetings is usually discouraged to keep the discussion on track and on the way it is. However, representatives from the key teams — product managers, product owners, quality assurance, and so on — should be in attendance.
The Purpose of Backlog Grooming
Backlog grooming is intended to accomplish a specific aim.
The primary goal of backlog refinement is to examine unique user stories, ensure that they are appropriately prioritized, and confirm that they are ready for sprint planning before moving on to the next step.
User stories in the backlog can be reviewed objectively and evaluated from a cross-team viewpoint, frequently re-prioritizing user stories. Additionally, the meeting provides an excellent opportunity for members of various teams to discuss individual user stories, confirm roles, and reorganize priorities as needed.
In terms of practical Consequences, backlog grooming meetings are frequently associated with the following:
● A re-ordering of user stories in the queue according to their importance.
● It is possible to break down huge or hazy user stories into smaller, more practical ones.
● As a result of new information, user tales are added (or removed).
● The resolution of any questions that may arise from separate teams.
● Ensure that user stories are complete and ready to be worked on in subsequent sprints.
Types of Backlog Grooming methods
One of the most common ways to divide backlog grooming methods is DEEP. DEEP is an expression for a few essential characteristics of a product backlog.
Detailed Appropriately: stories and other backlog items have enough contextual information for the cross-functional team to understand and debate.
Emergent: New stories and things may be easily added when new information becomes available. Nothing in this world is fixed in stone.
Estimated: The effort required for each user story is calculated using a standardized metric that the team has agreed upon.
Prioritized: items on the backlog are sorted according to their importance and strategic purpose(s).
Benefits Of Backlog Grooming
A reality check is sometimes required because your backlog can quickly devolve into a wish list of nice-to-have features, and backlog grooming can help you accomplish that.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, from sprint planning meetings, which can become quite technical and tactical, backlog refinement is a question of high-level process adjustment. One of its most significant advantages is that it allows for a cross-team objective evaluation of the backlog, which holds stakeholders accountable while also providing insight into how to best organize the next sprints, among other things.
This also has a knock-on effect: sprint planning sessions will be more efficient and faster with a smaller, more streamlined backlog. Agile development teams can guarantee that the project scope remains tight by performing regular but brief backlog refinement sessions. This will not have an impact on the sprint planning process.
Backlog grooming meetings should not exceed longer than an hour to get the best results and cause the least amount of disturbance to workflow.
Backlog grooming sessions
Preparation for a backlog grooming session
Preparation is essential for backlog grooming, as it is for many other tasks.
If you want your meeting to be fruitful, you should have everyone prepare in advance of the event. However, before you can begin to prepare, you must first understand what to expect from backlog refinement meetings.
Of course, the primary purpose is to ensure that all user stories are focused on the core goal of the product roadmap as outlined in the product roadmap. There’s a reasonable probability that these will be trimmed or re-prioritized if they don’t meet the criteria.
Thus, stakeholders should examine the overall project strategy and key metrics with their team members and other stakeholders to prepare. Please do so if you have any preliminary data or good metrics that you would like to share with the group during a backlog grooming session.
Additionally, stakeholders should be prepared to answer questions about why their stories should be prioritized in the backlog, how they match with the larger goals and other related issues.
This exercise provides team members with regular opportunities to evaluate the product roadmap, ensure that their user stories are aligned with it, and communicate with teams from across the organization, among other things. Because a well-maintained backlog is the cornerstone of a successful project
Tips for an effective backlog grooming session
Regular backlog grooming sessions, such as these, help keep teams cohesive and on track and help ensure that the backlog is not clogged with stories that are no longer relevant or outdated. At the opposite end of the spectrum from the daily scrum, which focuses on urgent, daily tasks, backlog grooming is a more strategic practice concerned with how well a product roadmap progresses.
Given that backlog refinement does not occur within the traditional meeting structure proposed by the agile methodology, these sessions might take on a variety of shapes and forms from one office to the next.
The same is true for those who are obligated to attend. The project, the organization, and, ultimately, the strategic aim will determine who needs to be present in the meeting room.
Furthermore, there is no hard-and-fast rule about who should be in charge of backlog grooming sessions so that anyone can do it.
However, whatever they are, they will assume the position of a facilitator rather than a commander! Although it may be their obligation to ensure that the meeting stays on schedule and topic, their word is not definitive. Every stakeholder has an impact on the decisions made for backlog grooming.
The facilitator is frequently the scrum master; in other organizations, a project manager may be the most qualified candidate.
It’s a good idea to include the following people in addition to the facilitator:
– The product manager or owner is responsible for the product.
– Engineers or developers that are in charge of specific tales in the backlog
– Representatives from the Quality Assurance team
There is no set guest list for who should be invited to backlog grooming sessions. It is frequently a question of who is available at any given time.
Agile development Crews can occasionally become out of sync, significantly when objectives and outputs change regularly like any large team project. Teams can more readily coordinate their workloads and guarantee that the overall project stays on track if they hold regular backlog grooming sessions.