Backlog Refinement is a critical part of good practice in Scrum. Refining the Product Backlog ensures that the Scrum Team has sufficiently defined Product Backlog Items so that Sprint Planning runs more smoothly and the Sprint proceeds with few surprises. Importantly, refinement isn’t an event or once off meeting. Product Backlog refinement is an ongoing activity.
Backlog Refinement doesn’t serve empiricism directly, but makes the Product Backlog (one of the three artefacts in Scrum) more transparent in terms of:
Scrum Teams often hold several refinement sessions throughout their Sprint. Typically, the more tme that is spent refining items the better prepared everyone is for the next Sprint. The Scrum Team decides how and when refinement is done. A good rule of thumb is for refinement to consume no more than about 10% of the capacity of the Scrum Team .
Scrum Teams do refinement both collectively and as individuals. Sometimes, they will hold a workshop and other times people will run experiments and do research by themselves and bring back the results to the team in a subsequent session.
Stakeholders and technical subject matter experts are important collaborators and advisors for refinement activities.
1. As per Scrum Guide, versions 2017 and earlier.
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