Are You Doing Backlog Grooming? Heres why You Should Do it

There should be a standardized measure the development team predetermines for each user story. If your team’s issue quality is good, then regularly grooming the backlog with a range of stakeholders should ensure the backlog is in good shape. Teams can be confident that the engineers have an up-to-date and accurate view of what is happening in the project.

  • Other team members are instantly notified of the changes with email alerts.
  • The Software Development process is dynamic- it goes on, it continues- it is not a one-time effort.
  • The greatest motivation of engaging in backlog grooming is to help teams continuously push forward and increase overall productivity.
  • This can cause a messy and chaotic backlog with many outdated items.
  • Have an agenda with goals clearly stated and make sure all assembled are aware of what those goals are and how they’re expected to contribute to achieving them.

Depending on the structure of your organization and whether you employ Scrum and agile methods, the backlog grooming process could be performed in the form of regular recurring meetings. The kanban is a favorite of scrum teams but sometimes you’re working with departments that have more traditional methodologies. Our hybrid tool has multiple project views that allow everyone to work how they want. Gantt charts for planning, task lists for your own work, sheet and calendar views—work how you want. All data is updated in real time across all views so there’s a single source of truth keeping everyone on the same page.

Scrum Process Best Practices that Set Your Agile Workflow for Efficiency

The ideas and User Stories that have the highest priority need to be delivered at the earliest. The not-so-important ideas need to be pushed back to either delete them completely or put them on the lowest priority. 20% of the Product Backlog items should be always almost ready for delivery.

Tag issues with labels, impact, effort and context to help you do this. Consider what technical debt has been accumulated and how it might impact future work. Messy backlogs make prioritising work difficult, which creates a vicious cycle when you’ve got an existing backlog . Consists of tickets that represent all the work that needs to be completed during a project, no matter how detailed the information.

What is Product Backlog Prioritization

It comes packed with all of the sticky notes, freehand drawing tools, and infinite canvas space you need to capture that next big idea. Think of it like a sandbox where your team can bounce ideas around and innovate together in real time. The product backlog should be the single source of truth for the product requirements. If it’s not in the backlog, the team shouldn’t be working on it. High-priority items are ready to be committed to a sprint .

backlog grooming best practices

Features that are better to be avoided as they can have a negative impact on the customer. Won’t-haves that don’t serve the immediate project needs, so we’re leaving them out for now. Watch our video tutorials to kickstart your feedback joruney with UserVitals. While meetings tend to be lengthy, it is better to keep them brief. Determine what has to be done and only meet for an hour or two every two weeks. Once a regular cadence of Refinement Meetings is underway, this will be less of a challenge, as everything will be pretty well managed.

Motivate the Team to Participate

They also may include or adjust estimates for user stories. The new product development process can be messy and unwieldy if it’s not managed carefully. In agile projects, product backlog grooming is the key to making sure that projects stay on track. Product backlog grooming and sprint grooming go hand-in-hand because the input for sprint grooming is the product backlog. That means that in order for the sprint grooming session to be as effective as possible, the product backlog items need to be well-refined ahead of time.

backlog grooming best practices

For example, the team might break larger backlog items into smaller tasks, like separating email management from responding to instant messages. This is to ensure that the most suitable backlog items are duly prioritized. Additionally, Agile backlog grooming is used to refine user stories and prioritize them for the next development sprint. Jira is the go-to project management tool for experienced Scrum teams. As teams move through sprints, backlogs are created automatically within the software.

Story Grooming: Your Guide to Agile Backlog Grooming

Also, reach out to team members to answer questions that went unanswered during your meeting. Finally, arrange follow-up sessions to debate or infuse expertise into backlog items further as needed. Backlog grooming allows team members to set a firm foundation for efficient sprint planning going forward. More efficient spring planning means faster delivery of relevant product features that users need and will love. Backlog grooming sessions usually happen during a sprint, around three or four days after starting if you’re working with a two-week sprint. The meeting follows a demonstration of the deliverables created in the previous sprint so that the project status is fresh in everyone’s mind.

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The product owner conducts a meeting with stakeholders and existing user stories are reviewed by the team to determine which ones may be removed from the backlog. With a smaller, more refined backlog, sprint planning meetings will be quick and efficient. It lays the groundwork for team members product backlog management techniques to plan the next sprint delivering product features fast and efficiently with better velocity. The whole project team has a part to play in this practice, as everyone has different expertise to bring to the table. The Project Lead and the Delivery Team should be actively involved in refinement.

Expediting future sprint planning

However, it is ideal that the entire cross-functional team is represented to have the most effective session. The combined expertise of the various individuals on your team is what you need to flesh out your user stories effectively. With these benefits, backlog grooming now means future sprints are more focused.

backlog grooming best practices

This proactive measure is necessary to see how one session flows into the other. Participants need to prepare for backlog refinement sessions. Otherwise, you may not see the desired results, wasting your team’s efforts. Top tip 💡You’ll see plenty of articles about product management and that talk about using whiteboards, sticky dots, sharpies and sticky pads.

What is Sprint Backlog?

The Software Development process is dynamic- it goes on, it continues- it is not a one-time effort. Therefore, it is so very vital to go back and work on earlier ideas, time, and again. It is also important to keep amending and adjusting the ideas to suit the current requirements. This is why it is critical to follow Product Backlog Refinement best practices for productive and optimized effect.

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