A Handy Guide To Product Backlog Grooming

Product grooming is reviewing, prioritizing and refining the product backlog. This activity occurs during a meeting that takes place outside of sprint planning. Product backlog grooming aims to ensure you have enough work for the next sprint. You do not want to pull in more stories than you can complete by the end date. But at the same time, significant gaps in your sprint schedule between user stories can lead to wasted time and lost productivity due to idle waiting.

What Should One Plan And Discuss During Backlog Reviewing?

You should plan and discuss the following during backlog reviewing:

  • Prioritize the product backlog.
  • Decide what to do next.
  • Discuss the product backlog with your team. This discussion could be held in a meeting or on an online board. You should include an overview of the estimated effort for each user story and any information you believe is relevant to understanding how each story will be implemented (such as sketches of screens).
  • Decide which user stories are ready to be pulled into the sprint and thus need more detailed planning before developers can start them.

What Should The Product Owner Do During Backlog Reviewing?

As the product owner, you must ensure the backlog keeps up with what the team thinks they will be working on. It also helps to keep your product backlog in a state where it’s easy for everyone to review and update.

When you’re grooming your product backlog, ensure that it contains explicit stories and prioritized tasks so they can be worked on in order of importance. The more organized and actionable your backlog is, the easier it will be for everyone involved with creating your product or service to understand what needs doing next—and why!

How Often Should Backlog Grooming Sessions Be Scheduled?

As a rule of thumb, weekly backlog grooming sessions are ideal. The amount of time you spend per story depends on the scope of work and complexity involved for each story. The following considerations may help you make this decision:

  • Scope: Is the story small enough to complete in one session? If not, how large is it?
  • Complexity: Does this story require several people to make it happen, or can one do it as part of one’s work?

How Should You Prepare Yourself For A Backlog Meeting?

It’s time-consuming, but it’s also an excellent way for the team members to collaborate to understand their goals more clearly. Just like any other kind of meeting you might attend at work (or outside of work), there are certain things professionals recommend doing before coming into this session:

  • Make sure everyone has read up on what’s been planned already.
  • Review any relevant past discussions from previous sessions.
  • Be prepared with some questions if necessary.

Summing Up: The goal of backlog reviewing is to ensure that the team has the right amount of work for each sprint without overloading them. It also helps identify and remove any issues with a story before it reaches this point. Backlog grooming is an opportunity for you as a product owner to look at what still needs to be done on a story, who will do it, and when they’ll complete it. Please clarify everything about each user story so there are no surprises during sprint planning or daily standup meetings later in the cycle.

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