All You Need to Know About Backlog Grooming

Christina Gkofa
Mar 6, 2019 · 6 min read
Image from confluence.equestind.com

Before we dive into the backlog grooming ceremony, let’s take a step back to define the backlog which exists in every product. Simply put, it’s a list of features and functionalities that your product needs in order to achieve its vision. Those features pile up over time as the number of users consuming your product grows. It’s therefore a “living” list that needs to be continuously managed to prevent it from blowing up.

Backlog Grooming

  • Clarification on what will be worked on next
  • Ensuring high priority items contain all specifications and requirements needed
  • Creation of new stories reflecting new needs
  • Re-assessing priorities
  • Editing/strengthening existing stories
  • Story estimation determining effort and time
  • Creation of sub-tasks
  • Removal of unnecessary items

Attendees

Frequency

Typically it’s held near the end of one sprint to ensure the backlog is ready for the upcoming one. However, a good Product Owner does not wait for the grooming meeting to arrive but constantly grooms the product backlog to ensure it is up to date and make the life of their team easier. After all they are the best people to know what is still relevant when it comes to the direction of the product.

Duration

Facilitation

Importance

An un-groomed backlog can cause frustration amongst the team members

Backlog Grooming Practices That Work

Image from rawpixel.com @pexels

1. Size of the backlog

2. Update statuses and leave comments

3. Write clear summaries

4. Write concrete tickets

5. Epics are not labels

6. Challenge estimations with comparable reference stories

7. Estimate ALL issues

8. Plan some sprints ahead

9. “I will create a ticket“

10. Don‘t be afraid to close issues

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