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Backlog Refinement (Backlog Grooming) – Explained

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    Let’s talk about Backlog Refinement, an event in an Agile environment which purpose is to investigate and evaluate the most valuable items of the Product Backlog. This even is also known as Backlog Grooming.

    So what is Backlog Grooming / Backlog Refinement?

    It’s rather a series of events in an Agile environment during an active sprint with the main aim to get the Team to be prepared for the next sprint.

    Why we would want to maintain these events and what problems do they solve?
    These events needed for both the Product Owner and Development Team.

    The Product Owner gets questions from the Development Team regarding the most prioritized product backlog items that potentially could be implemented within the next sprint. Such activity helps the Product Owner to define the business direction more precisely and minimize the risks of making mistakes in the business requirements. The questions that normally come from the Development Team will challenge the Product Owner against the uncertainties that require many more details and overall will help confirm the common sense of the chosen business direction.

    The Development Team gets a better understanding of business and could feel the impact and involvement in the decision-making. Additionally, there is a big chance that some non-routine Product Backlog items will require analysis before they can be evaluated from the complexity standpoint in a more or less accurate way. And during this event, we can get that addressed.

    Summary:
    The entire team gets a better understanding of what to do next and the level of effort needed to accomplish that. The Product Owner’s decisions become more matured and well-defined. The Development Team gets an understanding of the business trend, feels the involvement in business decision-making, and could be much more accurate during the Sprint Planning with the evaluation of efforts needed to reach the Sprint goals as they can address technical gaps and uncertainties in advance.

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    Alex Kostritsa

    About author
    My name is Alex. For more than 10 last years I've been worked in the role of Project Manager in an Agile environment. I have experience working with different business domains including e-commerce, social networks, and gambling. As a Software Manager, I try to keep myself tuned and continue self-development.
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    • Odessa, Ukraine
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