Backlog Refinement Patterns: Ying and Yang

The Scrum Guide is a great, simple instruction book that reminds people that to get the best out of Scrum. Remember, the Scrum Guide is only 13 pages long, so don’t over complicate things.

The devil is in the detail, though. While it reads very black and white, knowing how to accomplish things like Backlog Refinement still remain a mystery to many.

As an agile coach, I like to keep things simple for new Scrum Teams. This includes Backlog Refinement sessions.
Ying and Yang is one of my favourite patterns to teach new Scrum Teams how to collaborate on refining the Product Backlog together in a few short sessions.


Things to consider:

  • The more the Development Team uses its 10% of the Sprint length on Backlog Refinement the more prepared they’ll be for Sprint Planning. Sprint Planning should really be the last opportunity for talking about Stories.
  • Don’t do Backlog Refinement on the last day of the Sprint. The Development Team tend to be running for the finish line and are busy getting stuff “Done”.
  • Don’t do all the Backlog Refinement as a team. Spend a few short sessions together to plan who will attack what Stories and what they’ll do to pre-plan them so there won’t be any surprises or unknowns during delivery.

downloadPattern – ZXM – Backlog Refinement Ying and Yang

Matthew Hodgson

Matthew Hodgson

Founder of Zen Ex Machina. Scrum/Agile Coach. Designer of digital experiences since 1992. International presenter. UX & psych geek. Chocoholic. Loves red wine.

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