Backlog Grooming


  • QA Engineer

    I have a question regarding backlog grooming. I have completed product prioritization using MoSCOW method. I have it prioritized it as follows. I have rationalized it working with client and gathering other data.

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    Question: Now, I am in the sprint backlog phase (sprint planning for the next sprint) and assume that I have 3 developers. How do I create sprint backlog atleast the bare structure. Do I have to pick ONLY Must haves for sprint backlog or use 60% of MUST haves and 20% of should haves and rest 20% of could haves for grooming?

    How do you go about this? Do you use some other technique? I am super confused how to go about this. OR should I get into the meeting with this information and let the development team create sprint backlog as they wish (my gut says the team will not appreciate it).

    For the purposes of this question, I havent added user stories, acceptance criteria. do assume that I will be writing user stories in reality.



  • In order to do Sprint Planning, you first need a Product Backlog. What you have is not sufficient to act as a Product Backlog.

    The Scrum Guide defines a Product Backlog as "an ordered list of everything that is known to be needed in the product". It appears you have this, but Product Backlog Items are more than just brief requirements. Product Backlog Items are ordered on the Product Backlog, considering priority and dependencies. Product Backlog Items are also continually refined by the Development Team and Product Owner to add details, estimates, and improve the ordering. One characteristic is that higher ordered items tend to have more details and more precise estimates than lower ordered items in the Product Backlog.

    Looking at what is referred to as the Product Backlog in the question, I see a few things that stand out. The "items" aren't very clear - they appear to be simple requirement statements that have not been refined by the team. I would expect a conversation between the Product Owner and Development Team to add detail, and perhaps even decompose items into multiple, smaller items that can be designed and delivered independently - after refinement, Product Backlog Items often meet the INVEST criteria. I would also not expect Product Backlog Items to have an estimate until after they have much more detail than shown here. The assignment of Product Backlog Items to Sprints is not something that is done by the Product Owner - this is done by the Development Team at Sprint Planning.

    What you're presenting is, in my opinion, insufficient for Sprint Planning. Refinement with the Development Team must happen first. After Refinement, the Development Team will have enough information about the items in the Product Backlog to start to make well informed decisions about what they will be able to accomplish in a Sprint. Over time, they can include historical data to further improve their decision making.



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