Product backlog refinement

product backlog refinement
product backlog refinement

The Product backlog refinement (formerly called backlog grooming) allow to refine the product backlog. A lot of scrum team create a special ceremony for that but it’s not a mandatory in scrum.

Product backlog refinement

The scrum guide explain that the product backlog refinement is an act in the product backlog :

  • of adding details in the items
  • estimate of the items
  • order to them

It’s the moment of collaboration between the product owner and the development team. The scrum master would help them to improve this process essential to have a quality product backlog.

The scrum team can use until 10% of the sprint to refine the product backlog. It have not to neglect this process because without this refinement process, the team will waste a lot of time during the realisation of the product.

How to do the product backlog refinement ?

Scrum refuse to impose rules to do this process. The team have to define how and when the refinement is done.

A new ceremony

A majority of teams decide to make a new ceremony to do this product backlog refinement. For example, the team define that every wednesday after the lunch break, it reserves 1h or 2h to do this refinement.

On demand

Some teams prefers to do the refinement when the product owner has the need to do this refinement. Maybe it’s more agile but this kind of doing imposes to be more autonomous.

The items will be never blocked

It’s really important to understand that the refinement of each item will not blocked them ; Even if, the team consider that the item is “ready” when it’s estimated, the product owner can discreetly change it. Sure, I advice the product owner to inform the team of the changes.

So, be careful if you use the definition of ready practice because it’s really simple to do a “scrumbut” with this practice.

Useful link: La Product Backlog Refinement (french)

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