Clarify the requirements. How the Product Backlog Refinement works?


29 October 2017 - 4 min. to read

This part of the sprint used to be called Grooming, in English that is a term for dressing, looking after or preparing. The term functioned as the name of the update process, re-prioritizing, and estimating Product Backlog elements. The word, however, began to have a pejorative meaning in our environment. Why?

Today, more and more often, this word refers to “Child Grooming” – seducing children on the Internet. Due to the fact that both concepts are functioning in the area of the IT industry one has denied the other. And yes, it is better to call the above-described sprint part – Product Backlog Refinement.

Product Backlog Refinement – what is it?

Product Backlog Refinement is one of the sprint stages. This is not a formal scrum process, but it is still recommended by professionals. General sprint rules are familiar to us. When a Product Owner’s Product Requirements List is collected, it is required to prioritize the requirements under which the registry is created- Product Backlog Refinement. This register – as the name implies – will be its purification. This is as much about as its detailing and specification.

Presence of Product Owner mandatory

At the meeting the presence of the Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team is required. Their input is very important for the success of the meeting. It is they who set out their goals and have the widest knowledge of how the product would ultimately look. PBR’s job is to create the environment to have a discussion with the whole team involved in product development, so as to dispel any ambiguities and doubts about the order.

What is it all about?

The purpose of PBR is to specify and thereby extend the User Stories. Many new stories will be created. That’s good. The more stories we have, the brighter the vision of our product is. When it comes to organizing and updating the product backlog, some of the things we fall behind with will appear. That’s about it in the process. Thanks to PBR we will know what our next sprint will be after the meeting.

Book time for PBR

Backlog care should have a reserved time during the sprint. This is typically 5-10% of the total Sprint – depending on the complexity of the project and the team’s experience. It is best if PBR was a constant and regular element of the sprint, repeated at least once a week.

Closer to the ideal

Let us remember that the development and the final form of the product is the most important issue- both for the customer and for us. It is therefore worth to use ready-made specialist forms of work on the project. Product Backlog Refinement – so simple to implement – will help us achieve the perfection of the product we care about … Of course, within our capabilities.

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