I wrote this article, a rant really, in April 2014. It was lost in a website shuffle a couple years ago, and someone recently asked if I could put it back. So here it is. But, it’s been slightly renovated from the original version to bring it up to 2017 code.
Backlog grooming meetings are often the most unproductive and painful meetings in Scrum. If yours are great, then skip this article. It isn’t for you.
Here are the key points:
- The most successful organizations have balanced product teams that meet routinely, usually weekly, to review and reorganize the backlog, and plan the work they need to do to get ready for the next sprint.
- The best product owners have routine story discussions with team members to talk through options and details for the work they’re doing.
- Hold routine story workshops more frequently, at least once or twice a week.
- Let participants “opt in” because you won’t have productive discussions with people who don’t want to be there.
- Keep the discussions small. Smaller discussions are more productive. But always make sure you include someone who understands the functionality, someone who can write the code, and someone who can test it.
- Move conversations out of the tool and back to the whiteboard.
- Bring in whatever you need into the conversation to help you tell the story. But plan on changing and refining what you bring in.
- Acceptance criteria comes after building shared understanding of what we’ll build and answers the question “what would we check to confirm it’s done?”
- Photograph the results of your collaboration. Put those photos along with notes in the tool later. Don’t confuse collaborating with documenting.