How to define the items in scrum?

items in scrum
items in scrum

How to define the items in scrum? What the scrum guide tell us? let’s look together how to answer these questions. It’s really important to define the best kind of items to have a clean product backlog.

What the scrum guide tell us about items?

The backlog items can represent :

  • features
  • functions
  • requirements
  • enhancements
  • fixes

They must have a description, one value, one estimate, an order and the test descriptions to ensure what define that these items will be “done”. These items have to be “done” in one sprint.

User-story, the most used backlog items !

The concept of user stories come from another agile framework: extreme programming. And it evolved thank to some agile contributors. Even if the user story has become very popular in the scrum team, it’s not a mandatory to use it.

However, a lot of teams use this concept because it’s really effective. They can easily represent the features, the functions and the enhancements with it.

How to write one user story

The description of the user-story (items) is particular; Indeed, the team will write it it focusing on the user. This is an example :

As a customer
I want add a new product in my cart
[So that I buy this product]

* The last part is not obligatory because without it, people can understand why the customer want add a new product in the cart.

To complete this description, the team can add “management rules”, “acceptance criteria”… The team have to choose the good format for this project. The team have to add an “estimate, an “value” and “test descriptions” into this user-story to respect the scrum rules.

Here are the most common using:

  • estimate: story point, poker planning
  • value: define the business value from 100 to 1000
  • description tests: use the gherkin language

The team can also use the ideal days but a lot of agilists don’t recommend this practice.

And for fixes and requirements?

Some teams use the user-stories to represent fixes but it’s a little bit weird because fixes are not an answer to customers/users. It’s better to create a new kind of item to represent the fixes.

The requirements can be represents in the user-stories; some teams refuse to use technical items and favors to include technical parts in the user stories.

But the team have the right to use enablers (requirement item, exploration items…), spike (specific exploration item), technical items… It has to choose the best using for working on the product.

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