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You are the Product Owner or the Scrum Master and you need to ensure that the Product Backlog Refinement session happens professionally. There should be an open environment where everybody should be given a fair chance to discuss and share. There could be clashes because there are cross-functional teams present but as the mediator, you need to be well-balanced and just. The objective should be to be focused and reach your goals strategically. This team should have people from sales and marketing, and the customer service team also. Emergent – A product backlog should evolve, adding new items as we learn more about the problem space.

The product is being created for customers, and hence, you should keep them in mind every step of the way. Many ideas are thrown into the mix, as with every other team meeting. If you review your projected plan beforehand and make sure all members know their roles – this should be clear straight up.

deep backlog

Don’t hoard user stories – delete those you don’t need or those which don’t bring any business value. A product backlog can be an effective way for a team to communicate what they are working on and what they plan to work on next. The importance of backlog is something you cannot underestimate. All the features, whether key or minor, should be included within it. With LogRocket, you can understand the scope of the issues affecting your product and prioritize the changes that need to be made.

In general, each product should have one single backlog that describes the work needed to build the product. To understand how and why, let’s start by defining the term product. The information in a backlog needs to be properly detailed and have context. Stakeholders from other departments probably won’t understand vague descriptions or technical jargon. Even if you don’t lay out their full acceptance criteria, you can share what they will be and why they’re important enough to be on the backlog.


Product Roadmap is about a longer-term development, it usually consists of a timeline that can span into years and presents the big picture. Meanwhile, Product Backlog is a chunk of this timeline that represents one or a few upcoming Sprints. When the roadmap represents grandeur strategy, the backlog focuses on tactical solutions and work that must be done in the upcoming weeks and months. Product Backlog refinement is the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items. This is an ongoing activity to add details, such as a description, order, and size. Informal, general explanation of a software feature written from the perspective of the end-user or customer.

  • Move low-priority items to a separate list, making the Backlog list shorter and easier to understand.
  • Here are some handy tips or best practices required to maintain a healthy backlog.
  • At the beginning of a Scrum, the product owner arranges the product backlog items that are to be completed by the Scrum team in that sprint.
  • The most essential thing here is to optimize activities in the backlog for future sprints.
  • Neither should the sessions be for getting clarity on other inter-team issues.
  • Backlog grooming must have a founding principle, and the foundation of all principles is the customer.

The backlog needs prioritized initiatives necessary to deliver a high-quality product. Team members should never have to wonder if there are important items that aren’t on the backlog or if unnecessary items are listed on the backlog. The information may have been a high priority and pivotal to the outcome once but may hold little significance now. Otherwise, it’s cluttering up the backlog and hiding the true priorities. Backlog sessions are a great way to remove the “fluff” so stakeholders can focus on the priorities that drive the main initiatives. Using metrics to measure results is a smart grooming best practice.

Since this will change depending on the current needs of your customers, you need to continually adjust and refine your priority order. The product owner conducts a meeting with stakeholders and existing user stories are reviewed by the team to determine which ones may be removed from the backlog. With a smaller, more refined backlog, sprint planning meetings will be quick and efficient. It lays the groundwork for team members to plan the next sprint delivering product features fast and efficiently with better velocity. We’ve covered a lot about the product backlog already but barely touched its benefits for the teams and projects that thought-out product backlogs provide. The goal of backlog refinement is to consistently maintain a minimum of two sprints worth of stories that are ready to work.

Things to Keep in Mind During Backlog Grooming

It’s all of the work a team will tackle in the future, but it’s also a flexible, living organism that evolves as a development team learns more about the product and its stakeholders. A product backlog captures the details about all we are planning to do, to achieve our vision. It is a prioritized list of everything that is deemed necessary related to required initiatives, projects and even the smaller things like requests and tech debt.

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This is because they have enough to keep them busy until it’s time for another grooming session and if priorities shift at any point. The consensus is that the ideal length for a backlog grooming session is between 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the team’s availability. A groomed backlog helps you not get overwhelmed by the number of incomplete tasks.

Several key processes make up agile methodology, and one of them (the one we’re talking about today) is backlog grooming. Ordering backlog items to deliver the most impact over the next sprint. Adding detail to high-priority backlog items for greater comprehension. Is your product backlog so overgrown that it’s starting to become a hindrance rather than an advantage? Keep reading to add another acronym to your tool belt and learn how to whip your Product Backlog into shape. Mike Cohn specializes in helping companies adopt and improve their use of agile processes and techniques to build extremely high-performance teams.

Product Backlog common pitfalls

Identifying dependencies and reducing risks related to backlog items. We hope the backlog refinement tips shared here can help you. As mentioned, user stories are items written from the perspective of an end-user. Ensure that every team member understands and adopts your process for backlog management. Contains the task-level details required to develop the product as outlined in the roadmap. This chapter describes the important role that the product backlog plays on a Scrum development project.

deep backlog

These stories are such that the product Developer should take up for immediate Refinement with the concerned people, following the 20% Product Backlog stories. Participants or rather people who attend the session are the most important entity for Product Backlog Refinement. The session has to be scheduled and the same should be informed to the participants beforehand, in a planned manner. Product Backlog Refinement can be productive only when it becomes a collaborative platform – each open to sharing ideas, brainstorming, and discussing the same.

Attendees of Backlog Grooming

LogRocket simplifies workflows by allowing Engineering and Design teams to work from the same data as you, eliminating any confusion about what needs to be done. For example, a feature that needs API integration with another platform might need to be completed before the UI can be developed on the application. This additional task of API integration must therefore take priority. In this scenario, the task for API integration is created and placed above the actual feature to be implemented. I am passionate about solving business problems by bringing the team together and removing impediments. I started my career as a business analyst before moving into product management.

deep backlog

Ideally most of items at the top of the product backlog will be sprint-sized, small enough to be worked on during a single sprint. Large, high-priority items should be broken into smaller stories prior to being declared sprint-ready . A typical backlog grooming error is to combine all of these data into a single backlog list with no classification.

Once the team has prioritized their Product Backlog, they should start at the top of the list and work down. Prioritization only works if the team follows through on their commitments. deep backlog Score your Product Backlog items based on how much they matter to your project and the people who benefit from it. Consider metrics like customer value, ROI , or interdependencies.

Who is involved in the backlog grooming process?

As indicated in the Scrum Guide, everything that will be built in the product must be represented in some way in the Product Backlog. While meetings tend to be lengthy, it is better to keep them brief. Determine what has to be done and only meet for an hour or two every two weeks. Because it serves as a repository for all activity that has to be finished, it makes sense to include these types of changes in the backlog so that the entire team is informed. 30% of the stories should be in a phase where there is enough information though detailing needs to be done.

deep backlog

This is an excellent time for the product manager and anyone involved in planning to prioritize product backlog items so that the highest-priority items are addressed first. Obtaining a DEEP backlog is one of the key outcomes of a product backlog grooming or refinement session, which is a recurring event for agile product development teams. Regular backlog grooming sessions help ensure prioritizing the right stories and that the product backlog does not become a black hole.

Use the DEEP framework

Product roadmap dictates how the strategy will be executed. Essentially, the backlog is a single source of truth for everything the product team needs to work on. Understanding how, when, and who should be involved in grooming your backlog is essential to keep it relevant, complete, and updated.

Additional Information

The product owner is responsible for determining which backlog items should be completed in what order. This tells the team how to approach the backlog and which tasks must be completed before starting other tasks. The backlog needs to be regularly updated and realigned to keep up with changes in the product roadmap. The backlog is constantly updated by the product manager, QA tester, developers, or other team members. This can cause a messy and chaotic backlog with many outdated items.

DEEP Backlog

Once sprint planning is complete, the sprint is ready to be kicked off. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for who needs to attend a backlog grooming session. However, it is ideal that the entire cross-functional team is represented to have the most effective session. The combined expertise of the various individuals on your team is what you need to flesh out your user stories effectively. A coherent roadmap and user insights provide the foundation for the product backlog.