Backlog Grooming Session Activities


Backlog Grooming Session is very important activity for Scrum Project. This article will describe what when where who and how this session about

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Introduction

In my personal blog, I wrote about Sprint Prerequisites, one of those is Backlog Grooming session.

Backlog grooming picture

This activity is also called Product Backlog Refinement. Somehow I like ‘Grooming’ term better. It is like you’re going to a hairdresser and taking care of your hair, cutting the not important things, fixing the untidy shape, etc.

Well, this session is more or less like that. Stories that are produced on the Story Telling session and in the middle of the sprints will be groomed to make those ready for a sprint.

Let’s discuss more about this.

4W 1H On Backlog Grooming Session

In order to understand more, I will break those down into some basic questions. 4W1H – what, when, where, who and how.

What – what is inside the session?

In this session the Scrum Team will get to know about each story, what user expected from the story, whether the story is related with other story, what’s the big picture of this story, etc.

The required people who needs to attend this event will be discussed in the next section.

After the team understand about the story, they will discuss whether the story is independent enough, whether another story needs to be added, grouped or removed, etc.

Prioritization of stories can also be done in this session.

Although story point usually added in the Sprint Planning session, I sometime use this session too to give story point.

When – when is the best time for this?

Backlog Grooming session is a continuous event.

At the beginning of the project, after Story Telling session, grooming is a must.

You don’t need to groom the full stories. I would say prepare the backlog for the next two or three sprints will be enough.

Later on, during the Sprint, the activities must be established again.

When the groomed backlog for the next sprint is not ready, you should have a grooming session.

Where – in which part of the sprint should this session held?

I’m not referring to a place for this section, I refer to a moment where you should have this session.

Usually Backlog Grooming happened three days before the current Sprint ends. But the discussion of the backlog must be done continuously between the Product Owner and Scrum Master.

Who – who are required to participate in the session?

The ideal attendee is the whole Scrum Team.

For the initial Backlog Grooming session, this is a must. The whole team need to understand what they’re going to do and contribute on the grooming.

But since there are sessions held in the middle of the sprint, usually it’s hard to get all the Development Team to participate. The Development Team most probably occupied with their task to complete the Sprint before the time box ends.

In this case, the required attendees are Product Owner, Scrum Master and some of the Development Team.

The result of this session can later on informed to the whole team.

How – how should this session conducted?

Product Owner must already have a milestone planned for the project.

He already know what to expect from every releases.

In this session, the team will discuss the top stories of the backlog, make sure that those stories are in well shape or not.

Make sure the team discuss all the possibilities, all the what-ifs, all the unclear things related to those stories.

By having this session earlier before the Sprint Planning, Product Owner will have enough time to response to the things that he cannot answer immediately.

No need to resolve all issues during this session. The basic need is to gain the confidence of the team of what they need to do for the next sprint.

Conclusion

Backlog Grooming session is a very important session.

This session helps your Scrum Team to have effective and efficient Sprint.

Make sure you have this event as the basic of your Scrum Project and continuously over time.

Have a neat grooming session 🙂

Author: Christine Anna

Working in IT field since 2000. I started my career as a graphic designer, a web designer and a web programmer. Expanded my skill as a System Analyst. Not enough with that, I currently active in Project Management activities. A professional, a sport lover, a singer, a social community activist, a mother, a wife :) Visit my linkedin: bit.ly/christineanna-linkedin ---- Blog Owner: http://www.annalogy.info - - - - http://yummyremedy.wordpress.com - - - - Blog Contributor: http://www.ru-rocker.com

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