Agile product development teams hold a recurring event called backlog grooming, also referred to as backlog refinement or story time. The primary purpose of this event is to ensure the next few sprints worth of user stories in the product backlog are prepared for sprint planning. Regular backlog grooming sessions also help ensure the right stories are prioritized and that the product backlog does not become a black hole.
What is a sprint backlog?
A sprint backlog, also referred to as a sprint plan or just a 'backlog', is an ordered list of product backlog items the scrum team will work on in the next sprint. Sprints typically range from one week to four weeks.
The sprint backlog is created during the sprint planning meeting and refined during the daily scrum (daily standup) and product backlog grooming sessions.
What is the difference between sprint backlog and product backlog?
The product backlog is an ever evolving list of high-level requirements and enhancements for the product. The sprint backlog is a part of the product backlog that defines next few sprints worth of work which will be done by the scrum team.
How is a sprint backlog created?
The team first reviews the product backlog and selects the next few stories they think could be completed in a sprint. The selected stories become part of the sprint backlog.
During planning, each story is discussed and clarified before estimating and assigning it to a specific member for implementation. Some teams assign story points and some other teams estimate hours or days depending on the team preferences.
What is a sprint backlog meeting?
In addition to the daily scrum, the product owner and team hold a backlog grooming or refinement meeting once per sprint. This meeting is dedicated for up-front planning, discussing stories in detail and ensuring the next few sprints worth of user stories are prepared for sprint planning. The meeting typically happens at the beginning of each sprint.
During this meeting, scrum team members ask questions to product owner and stakeholders in order to get clarification on the details of individual user stories selected for the sprint backlog. Usually just one or two questions are enough to clarify any story in detail. As soon as all relevant questions have been asked,
How using a template can help for sprint backlog meetings?
The scrum team can substantially benefit from the use of sprint backlog template. The template not only helps with bringing order to individual stories, but also facilitates consistent and effective communication during the meeting.
A good template will provide a common language for users and stakeholders while helping effectively communicate details about user stories selected for the sprint backlog.
This sprint backlog meeting template is a fully customizable mindmap you and your team can use for your next sprint backlog refinement session.