Backlog grooming, also known as backlog refinement, is the process of reviewing and updating stories and tasks from a team’s or product’s backlog to ensure they are prioritized, understood, and ready for delivery.
The end goal is to make sure the team has a prioritized set of actionable stories and tasks ready for development. The meeting is held on a regular cadence, usually bi-weekly or monthly. Enough time should be reserved to review a sprint’s worth of stories and tasks. Start with an hour on a bi-weekly basis and adjust from there.
The product owner or product manager will have a list of product priorities that match items in the backlog. The development team reviews the backlog items with the product owner and provides input on feasibility, missing pieces, and technical dependencies.
Other stakeholders, such as testers and designers should also provide input. This review and input helps the product owner make informed decisions about priority and feature readiness for development.
Additional benefits of backlog grooming include:
- Ensuring the highest-priority items are at the top of the backlog and have met the definition of ready.
- Ensuring there is a clear, shared understanding between the product owner, engineering, and QA as to what is needed to meet the definition of done.
- Ensuring stories are consistently sized and small enough to be completed in the sprint.
- Improving consistent delivery of value to the business.
- Reducing scope creep by having a clear understanding of what each story or task entails.Producing better estimation.