Sunday, February 8, 2015

How To Groom Product Backlog

Product Backlog Grooming (PbG) means keeping the product backlog well maintained. This concept has become very popular amongst teams over the past few years. Teams realize that Sprint work gets lot easier if the product backlog is in good shape. i.e. Well Groomed.

PbG is where top priority backlog items are assessed against Definition of Ready(DoR) or Conditions of Satisfaction or Acceptance Criteria. Whatever you would like to call them in your system, is basically high level test to verify the backlog item. By doing this in advance of Sprint Planning meeting, Product Owner (PO) gets a chance to add any missing details to the item before Sprint Planning meeting.  Grooming a product backlog usually involves handful of separate activities.

1) New items can be added into backlog with rough estimate from team.
2) Reprioritization of backlog items based on customer feedback, usage pattern etc.
3) Discussing top big items and breaking them into smaller items to fit them into next Sprint.
4) Adding details to the items as per DoR
5) Throwing away the items which are not needed

I would not suggest entire team to participate in PbG. However PO, Scrum Master and one or two team member should be sufficient. Lots depend upon the team semantics. Scrum Master may ask the team during standup, about their availability for PbG meeting, anybody who is not too busy during the Sprint can participate. Everybody should get a chance to participate once in couple of Sprints.

In my perspective it is lot advantageous to designate a specific time in the Sprint and do it on regular basis vs. thinking of doing it real time. i.e. whenever needed. It should be good to do it before 2 or 3 days before Sprint Planning (SP) meeting.


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