Does my team need to do backlog grooming?
What do I need to do to have effective backlog grooming sessions?
To maintain a healthy backlog, it can be very useful to have grooming sessions. The idea here is to schedule a recurring meeting with the team to discuss the stories to develop while having a long-term vision of the backlog.
I like the idea of adding a grooming session in order to respect the objectives of a sprint planning session. Please remind that the objective of sprint planning is to plan the stories that can be delivered during the sprint and to determine how the team will do it. So, if too much time is spent on understanding the stories and estimating the effort for each one, for example, then the team will have less time to make predictions about the release and to prepare an action plan.
It can also be very useful for the PO and the stakeholders to have a long-term vision of their backlog. The grooming session can be used to estimate the stories that have been added during the sprint or to remove the ones that are obsolete. This way, the team will have an estimated and healthy backlog allowing to see whether it is still on time and within budget.
Here are 11 tips to have an effective grooming meeting and thus maintain a healthy backlog:
• establish the objectives of the backlog grooming session with the team
• clarify and estimate stories and break down the epics or other work items that are too big
• have a particular topic to discuss (module X or Y)
• establish a definition of “ready to sprint”
• identify what information is needed so that a story can be delivered during a sprint
• involve the entire team in the meeting
• hold several small meetings rather than a long one; this will allow to gather missing information and to maintain momentum with the team
• invite end users and stakeholders if it can be useful for a discussion
• avoid having too many people
• avoid grooming at the end of a sprint.
Backlog grooming should not be a meeting where we write our backlog from scratch. It is the time to increases our understanding and to refine our user stories.
What about you? Are you grooming your product backlog?
Have fun grooming!