Backlog grooming

Backlog grooming

What is backlog grooming?

Backlog grooming, also commonly known as backlog refinement, is a regularly recurring session to keep a product team's backlog in ship shape. Namely that the backlog up-to-date and to ensure that there are sufficient backlog items ready for upcoming sprints.

The backlog items worked with can be of different types, e.g. user stories, improvements, bugs, refactoring, and discovery tasks.

It is a widely adopted activity by scrum and agile product teams and the process involves:

  • removing backlog items that are no longer relevant
  • creating new backlog items in response to newly discovered user insights
  • reordering backlog items based on relative priorities
  • assigning estimates to backlog items
  • adjusting estimates in light of newly discovered information
  • breaking down backlog items (here it is typically user stories) that are high priority, but are too big to fit in an upcoming sprint

It is the Product Manager who has ownership of the backlog grooming session (or the Product Owner if the roles are separated).

Backlog grooming is part of the Refinement step of the product management process.

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