Mar 14, 2019
Agile product development is all about recurring and refining product backlogs. Regular backlog grooming sessions help ensure the right user stories are prioritized and that the product backlog does not go dark.
It starts with breaking large user stories into small tasks. Discuss stories with the team members, clarify answer and related questions. Ensure next sprint user stories are same as discussed before or needs any changes by adding key contextual information and acceptance criteria. Different PM has different way of working. Focus of every PM will be to get expected outcome after backlog discussion.
Expected outcome after backlog session,
1. We should have a list of user story prioritized.
2. We want the items at the top of the backlog to contain detailed information.
3. If items in the top of the backlogs are larger, brake it to smaller tasks.
4. As you move from top of the backlog list to the down the stories might or might not be same when it was created, compared to the present scenario. We might have to look into it. The work completed during these sessions will ultimately lead to a greater shared understanding and smoother, more efficient sprint planning meetings.
How backlog are decided?
Creating/refining the product backlog starts with analysing the feedback and data collected from target users and customers. It might be a working software, or a new product where feedback collected from prototype. The data obtained may be quantitative, qualitative, or both depending on the validation technique used. Evaluate, if you are building the right product with the right UX, features, technologies, or how you can further enhance and optimize the product.
Connect the dots:
After analysing the feedback, incorporate your insights into the product backlog. This results in removing, adding items, editing, including epics, operational constraints, design and workflow sketches. If the feedback is not inclined to assumptions, hypnosis, regarding the target group, the user needs, and the business model, you might have to change your product strategy (pivot), remove the product backlog content, and restock your backlog.
After implementing the new insights into your backlog, decide what to do next and choose the right sprint goal. Ask yourself what needs to be done next and what is the purpose of the next sprint. Which ideas and assumptions do you want to validate, which risks to address?
Keep high-priority backlog ready
After having user stories in place, you are close to starting the next cycle. But before you do so, ensure that the stories are ready: clear, feasible, and testable.
First thing in morning
when you arrive to the office, look at your backlog, and make sure it’s in priority order. Did anything change yesterday? Were priorities shifted? Your backlog should be in priority order. If you do this consistently, planning your next sprints should be easy.
The backlog should be cared for, daily. As a product manager or product owner, you are responsible for the backlog and need to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. So groom it! Daily.