Sometimes a challenge can be turned into an opportunity. When our team learned that the business needed to pull their popular Product Owner to focus on another team, a sense of panic set in. There would be a job search that could and did take months. Who would help the team on their path to creating value in the interim? How would we operate? Over time, what seems to be a negative turn of events was turned upside down.
Refinement is time spent during the current sprint discussing and elaborating product backlog items so that they are ready for future sprints. Unfortunately, many teams do not unlock the full potential of refinement. Backlog items should be sliced, and a solution should be proposed, reviewed, and discussed. If your team is having trouble getting started, here are 18 questions you can use to trigger refinement discussions.
In agile development, a bloated backlog results from teams accumulating huge lists of requirements, usually in the form of user stories. Retaining every possible story for building the product weighs down the backlog while squeezing (or obscuring) the highest-value stories. The best way to help minimize this risk is to optimize the time spent defining and refining the product priorities.
When one organization first shifted to agile, the team had trouble with maintaining the product backlog. No one could agree on priorities for items, they didn't know which item should be groomed next, and the backlog wasn't transparent to everyone. This team found a better method that works for them.
The iterative agile methodology provides a clearer vision, smaller time scale, and closer planning horizon. The authors look at approaches to estimation and planning, from product backlog grooming to task-estimating tables and more.