Product Backlog Refinement is all about a shared understanding between Product Owner and the Development team. In this decluttering process, you may find some duplicates or tasks that are similar enough to be combined into one. Deleting or merging these tasks is part of the refinement process and helps you to organize more efficiently. Meeting MinutesCreate official records of the discussions and action items generated during meetings and save time with Fellow’s meeting minutes templates. MeetingsBuild collaborative agendas, record notes and action items in real-time, and never forget what was discussed. But this approach won’t work if your product backlog has a significant amount of uncertainty that requires thorough discussions.

Grooming can then begin with the goal of refining the set of user stories the Product Owner has initially prioritized at the top of the Product Backlog. Still, many teams like to use a meeting to quickly size user stories. An initial sizing for new stories, or a re-sizing for stories that have been refined since they were added. Every project view feeds automatically into the live dashboard, which doesn’t require any time-consuming setup as you’ll find in other software. The real-time dashboard captures data and automatically calculates the information to display it in easy-to-read graphs and charts. The product owner can view six project metrics whenever they want to monitor the sprint and remove any roadblocks they find.

backlog refinement agenda

The refinement meeting itself is an effective communication means within the Scrum Team. It accumulates a shared, comprehensive understanding of requirements among the dev team reducing the level of unplanned rework. Keeping the product team updated is another purpose of backlog refinement. Without clarity in the backlog, there can be miscommunication or bad product decisions, either of which is going to hurt the project. You could look at backlog refinement as a means to a mutual understanding between the product owner and the scrum team.


Besides the Product Owner, some of the Scrum team members can participate. Remember that the Development Team, the Scrum Master, and Product Owner are the Scrum Team. Although the Product Owner can update the backlog themselves, it’s a great practice to involve the team. Paula and the Team review the current state of the Product Backlog. They refine the User Stories by discussing the context for a desired product feature and what kind of value it is meant to give the user.

backlog refinement agenda

Often times this means new features, new functionalities, etc. Keeping the backlog DEEP, ensures that items with the highest priority, the ones at the top of the Product Backlog, have a refinement level that’s ready for implementation. The process by which the product team refines their ideas on the product roadmap by a deeper understanding of what the real user problems are and then working out the best way to resolve them. Refining the backlog saves time and money by ensuring that its items are ready for development at the right time. It also ensures that no customer-valuable item is forgotten. On the other hand, it guarantees that only customer-valuable items are implemented.

How Long Should A Backlog Refinement Meeting Be?

Conversations are so important because they forge user stories into concrete tasks and items of the backlog. So, invest more in discussions and motivate the participants to express any concerns they may have. This means that they can be realistically “Done” within the Sprint time-box. The most important part of Product Backlog refinement actually is before you start refining. The most ineffective use of a Scrum Team’s time would be to refine an item that doesn’t contribute to the product vision.

backlog refinement agenda

When working in an agile environment, teams take sprints, a short period of time in which you complete tasks. Scrum teams choose this work by looking over their backlog. Backlog refinement should help you in your quest to have a permanently relevant set of items in your backlog. And by relevant, we mean complete, valuable, detailed yet straightforward, recently estimated, and correctly ordered.

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Then they can be saved as a PDF or printed out and shared with stakeholders to keep them updated on progress. Look over the product backlog and see which user stories points had value once but are no longer relevant and a team member can delete them from the list. While it’s VERY easy to forget about the importance of backlog refinement, don’t. Focusing on the current sprint is essential, but delivering a satisfactory product is the most important thing. And an appropriately refined backlog helps team spirits.

Lack of proper channels for communicating these changes can lead to bad product decisions, implementation of the wrong things, and ultimately, a product that doesn’t meet user needs. Scrum Backlog Refinement meetings can happen on-demand or scheduled basis up to two times a week, 30 minutes each session. The Scrum Team, the Scrum Product Owner, and the Scrum Master participate in these meetings.

  • Grooming the product backlog should be a collaborative effort that involves the product owner and the development team.
  • Improving clarity and preventing misunderstanding by adding details in preparation of implementation.
  • Remove user stories which are no longer required for the product.
  • Remember, only those items in the backlog will be built but just because it’s on the backlog doesn’t mean it should be executed.
  • It also gives the Development Team the needed context and clarity to provide accurate and useful estimates, since they have now been part of the discussion.
  • These backlog refinement sessions should be regular, though you can refine the backlog more informally as long as it’s an ongoing process.
  • Here, detailed appropriately means that items with higher priority should have a higher level of detail than low priority items.

DEEP stands for detailed, emergent, estimated and prioritized. You want more detail for the user stories in your backlog. The adding, changing or removing of items will lead to new insights.

Conducting A Backlog Refinement Grooming

Scrum Backlog Refinement Meetings aim to keep the Product Backlog up to date. So the Product Backlog reflects the best know-how and understanding of the Scrum team about the ongoing Scrum project. Rather, the story may be for something like a service for another team to consume.

backlog refinement agenda

Before a sprint, the scrum team meets and discusses backlog refinement, which is why it’s often referred to as a backlog refinement meeting. It usually begins with the product owner showing the scrum team what product backlog items need refinement. This opens up a discussion between the product owner and the scrum team.

It might also be helpful to create user personas and define acceptance criteria, especially for item detailing. Identify tasks that are no longer necessary or relevant and remove them from the product backlog. Split upcoming tasks into smaller tasks that are easier to implement. Refining the product backlog keeps everyone updated on the changing needs and requirements and ensures that all team members are on the same page. However, after re-reading the post, I believe the post itself may be the cheat sheet? Unfortunately, this particular post was written in 2013 and the author is no longer with the company, so I am unable to verify at this time.

The more people are actively doing something in refinement, instead of passively listening, the better the outcome usually is. At the last part of this article, I will share some more practices that might be helpful. In training usually someone asks why refinement is not an event? One of the reasons is that it has no fixed time and place within the Sprint. How much Refinement and when to do it, really depends on the Dev Team, Product Owner and the maturity of the Product. For that reason, we rather describe it as an activity, that should take no more than 10% of the Dev Team time.

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The scrum master, who guides the process, is there to listen to feedback and offer guidance during the backlog refinement session. Some teams opt to have backlog refinement sessions right before spring planning sessions, others do it mid-sprint, while others do it during the sprint review. This guide will help you understand what backlog refinement means, its purpose and importance, and how to prepare for a backlog refinement meeting. We’ll also share a backlog refinement meeting agenda template that will help you prepare for your backlog refinement meetings. Complete backlog items in a single sprint or split them into multiple user stories. While refining, give stories an initial estimate to see if they are small enough.

Teams may revisit a story multiple times before finalizing and committing to it in Iteration Planning. Also, as multiple teams are doing backlog refinement, new issues, dependencies, and stories are likely to result. In this way, backlog refinement helps surface problems with the current plan, which will come under discussion in ART sync events. The team backlog must always contain some stories that are ready for implementation without significant risk or surprise. Agile teams take a flow-based approach to maintain this level of backlog readiness, typically by having at least one team backlog refinement event per iteration . Backlog refinement looks at upcoming stories to discuss, estimate, and establish an initial understanding of acceptance criteria.

Person One-on-ones A dedicated space for the most important conversations of your week. People Team meetings Collaborate on shared agendas, take notes, assign next steps, and more.emoji_events Goals Collaboratively set and track goals, add milestones, and deadlines. This may also lead to the Product Owner and Scrum Team re-assessing The concept of Product Backlog Refinement and negotiating the relative priority of the user stories as the Team refines them. If you think you shouldn’t do it near the end of a Sprint, you’re probably cutting refinement too close. You really should have at least 2 or 3 Sprints’ worth of fully refined items. That also ensures you have ample time to answer any questions.

On-Demand DemosEmpower your team to build a culture of productive meetings with these on-demand product tutorials. Agenda TemplatesKeep all of your meetings running smoothly with these pre-built meeting agenda templates. Browser ExtensionsAccess meeting notes inside of Google Meet and get helpful details through Google Calendar events. The Product Owner adds new information that popped up during the session. The PO may have to re-order the backlog priorities given the newly obtained details. Finally, the PO seals the deal with the stakeholders updating them of any changes and obtaining their approval.

Teams may apply Behavior-Driven Development, using and use specific examples to help clarify stories. The purpose of backlog refinement is to have a product backlog ready for the next sprint. This is done by the scrum team having a chance to ask questions of the product owner. Product backlog refinement is obviously not a one-time endeavor, but an ongoing process between the product owner and the development team. It’s a place where they can collaborate to make sure the product backlog is clean and orderly.

You can only claim to have a refined backlog when you answer “No” to all the above questions. Until then, keep working on it, and avoid the below traps. Make sure the backlog is accurate, which means that it contains all the necessary items. Identify tasks that were started in the previous sprint but did not get completed. Understand why they weren’t completed, and determine how these tasks will be incorporated into the next sprint.

Backlog refinement is an ongoing process, and therefore, there is no right time for backlog refinement. Add new user stories based on newly discovered requirements. For example blocks of 1 or 2 hours spread through the mid-part of the Sprint.