Agile Organization

Backlog Refinement: An Agile Method to Outshine

To keep the product backlog ready for the next sprint, agile teams use a backlog refinement process. Good backlog refinement can generate great ideas to make the right decisions without affecting the scope and time of your product delivery. In this article at Built In, Tony Timbol shares an improved product plan for your backlog refinement. It is applicable for high-performing teams that can maintain a workable pace. Backlog refinement is a winning option to help teams retain a consistent performance speed.

A Chance to Ask

Your product manager calls for a team meeting to improve the backlog and discuss and assess user stories for two weeks. After that, the person ensures that the team carries on with the proposed user stories. Together, the team and the product owner negotiate and underline the key attributes to draw a final decision. Skilled product owners lead the process by following their own success formula. Here are the four key components to achieve success:

Work on the Future

Instead of focusing on the present, teams must perform backlog refinement of the past activities. You must review the current user stories in the next sprint planning process. Without such advanced preparations, backlog refinement actions will take longer than expected, due to which the product quality will drop. Additionally, your team will suffer in the next sprint. So, be future-ready to form an improved product plan.

Knowledge Swap

Sharing knowledge among team members is easier than individually exchanging information. It is a backlog refinement exercise that any product owner can use. It requires experience and professional skills to ensure that your team has acknowledged the information. So, ensure that your stories have a meaningful title, a crisp description, and cover all the essential details.

Focus on the ‘What’

Aim to define ‘what’ instead of ‘how’ about a user story. Let the team think about the how part of it. Leaving room for the developers’ creativity to flourish is the ideal approach to create an exclusive product.

Time for Testing

The ideal duration of backlog refinement steps is between 30 minutes to two hours. So, calculate the timing, not per the team’s requirement but their efficiency. If a team fails to deliver a user story within a specific period, it may take far more time and effort to refine its backlog.

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