Did you know that of the people who use Scrum in their day-to-day work life, 85% say that it has a positive effect on the quality of their work? If you work in project management and haven’t tried Scrum yet, it’s time to get on board.
An often overlooked part of the Sprint planning process is backlog refinement. While at first glance, this process may seem unnecessary, backlog management can pay off greatly in terms of team productivity when it’s done well.
But how do you know whether you’re doing backlog refinement planning well, and how can you make these meetings even more useful to your Sprint planning process? Keep reading to find out.
Table of Contents
1. Schedule Enough Time
Give your team enough time to fully work through the backlog in your refinement session. If rushed, you may underestimate the amount of time each task needs or not fully think through all the details you need for each task.
At first, backlog refinement can take a significant amount of time. Many of your tasks won’t have much detail, and you’ll need to spend time finding this information. Once you get into the flow of things, though, this process should only take about 10% of your total Sprint time.
2. Keep the Key Objectives in Mind
Remember what you’re there to do during backlog refinement meetings. If tangential questions come up or you find yourself going down a rabbit hold on a specific task, make a note of what came up and commit to following up on that later. Then, gently redirect your team back to the task at hand.
3. Get Everyone in the Room
The whole Sprint team should be involved in backlog refinement. This includes your Scrum Master, Product Developers, Product Owner, and any other stakeholders who should be involved in the process.
The varied perspectives of each of these groups of people will make sure you’re not missing any key details while refining your product backlog.
4. Avoid Problem-Solving
This is a huge part of backlog refinement management. You’re there to divide the responsibilities for the next Sprint, not to start working on the tasks themselves.
Take note of any questions or concerns that come up, but don’t spend your time solving any of them. Delegate these tasks for team members to complete after the meeting.
5. Prioritize Your Time
Only figure out as much detail for each task as is necessary. If you don’t have the information you need to refine the details, don’t waste time in this meeting trying to figure out the answer. Instead, take down a note about the question and assign someone on the team to find the answer after the meeting.
Following this rule means that tasks further down in the backlog may have little to no detail. That’s completely fine. As they get higher on the priority list, you’ll have more of the information you need to flesh out the details of the task and who should be responsible for completing it.
6. Definition of Ready
All tasks in the Sprint should meet your Definition of Done before being considered complete. Similarly, all tasks should meet your Definition of Ready before being brought into the current Sprint.
Decide on your criteria for knowing when a task is ready to add to the Sprint, including its timeline, dependencies, and key team members. If a task doesn’t meet your Definition of Ready, ask questions and figure out the details until it does.
Power Up Your Backlog Refinement Today
Now you know six ways to make your backlog refinement meetings as efficient as possible. As long as you stay on task, include the right team members, and have clear definitions of success, you’ll be using your time efficiently and setting yourself up for a productive future Sprint.
Looking for more tips on meeting planning and refinement? Check out the other articles in the Business section of our site!