The Scrum approach to agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. Scrum and other agile methods were inspired by its shortcomings. Scrum emphasizes collaboration, functioning software, team self management, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.


Scrum Backlog Grooming

Posted by admin under Scrum Basics

While backlog refinement (also called grooming) was not originally a formal meeting in the Scrum framework, Ken Schwaber, who founded Scrum, advises teams to dedicate five percent of every sprint to this activity. As with Scrum’s other meetings, the grooming should take place at the same time and place and for the same duration each sprint.

Everyone attends the backlog refinement meeting: the team, the Product Owner, and the ScrumMaster. During the meeting, everyone helps prepare the Product Backlog for the sprint planning meeting. This usually includes adding new stories and epics, extracting stories from existing epics, and estimating effort for existing stories. Why is this helpful? Because a groomed backlog will help streamline sprint planning meetings; otherwise, they can stretch on for hours. When product backlog items contain clearly defined acceptance criteria and are estimated by the team members, the planning process does not have to be tense or overly long. By dedicating a time to backlog maintenance, the team ensures that this preliminary planning occurs prior to the sprint planning meeting.

Watch an example backlog grooming meeting.

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Reader's Comments

  1. Céline Dedaj |

    Since July 2013, the Backlog Grooming is called “Backlog Refinement”. (cf. new Scrum Guide)

  2. Ma présence à l’Agile Tour Montréal 2013 samedi prochain | French Coding |

    […] mots Scrum, Sprint Planning ou même Grooming sont maintenant des mots faisant partie de mon vocabulaire de tous les jours au travail. Au cours […]

  3. Gene |

    Excellent video. Very nicely produced with good content.

    On reflecting on this presentation, I occurred to me that the product owner may have been able to reason about those finer requirements on his own? Is it better for the PO to start with vague user stories, and then let the team come up with the extra details? Or should a good PO be able to elaborate on the stories, such as dealing with historical data, and there by causes the meeting to be shorter.

  4. Steve Pasek |

    Since part of the goal of refinement is to ensure that all team members have a “common understanding” of the objectives, I would advise against the P.O. preparing too much information in advance of at least the initial refinement. If questions arise during initial refinement, they can be noted and delivered to the team in a second refinement session. I have found that too much detail focus in initial refinement can distract the team from formulating the value proposition that should be the main goal. Agreeing on the value or new capability that comprises the core of the work item is more important at first.

  5. Prasenjeet |

    Excellent video ! Made my concepts clear. Thank you !!

  6. Maria Thomas |

    I am wondering when will release planning happens?Release plannning is done after product backlog or during sprint review meeting?Please help me understand that.Thanks

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