Backlog grooming involves a review of the tasks needed to complete a project, and the review is done by the product owner together with other team members. You need to ensure that all the necessary items are covered in the backlog to achieve the right outcome. Backlog grooming must be carried out regularly to ensure that you get rid of obsolete user stories by replacing them with new ones. It also helps in re-assessing the stories that need to be given higher priorities and assigning estimates to every story. In order to hold an effective backlog grooming session, here are five ways you should consider.
Have a clear goal and agenda
During the grooming session, the product owner must state what they wish to achieve at the end of the meeting. Setting clear goals before the meeting starts ensures that the team members focus on a clear objective without going out of the main agenda. Setting the goal beforehand also ensures that there is no time wastage during the actual meeting.
Before you conduct any backlog meeting, always ensure that you prepare in advance to make it more productive on the actual date. Familiarize yourself with all the features that you want to introduce, and learn how each contributes to your strategy. Considering that everyone on your team is expected to present and propose their ideas, you must make sure that you articulate yours clearly to win every one. This will ensure your ideas are given a nod.
Follow a strict schedule
Working with deadlines helps to avoid last minute preparations, which tend to be very inefficient. Do prior preparations to avoid holding meetings that do not have the right agenda. You can have short prep meetings before the actual date for the backlog grooming session. Make sure other team members are not left behind with the preparations. Let everyone work with the set deadlines so that the entire exercise can be productive.
Be a good listener
As much as you might have your ideas lined up for the backlog grooming session, you need to be willing to listen to other stakeholders. Since every department has a role to play, always listen to the ideas of experts in different fields. This helps to combine efforts and utilize everyone’s strengths.
Limit the number of stakeholders
The best way to gather opinion from different stakeholders is by grouping them. For instance, if you have 15 stakeholders, you can group them into five groups. Have a session with each group to get their opinion instead of having one big and noisy meeting. It is easier to have an organized meeting when you are discussing with a few people than a crowd. It will also ensure that the idea of every stakeholder is heard because everyone is given a chance to speak.
Considering these points will help you to carry out a good backlog grooming session, which will help to achieve smoother Sprint Planning meetings. Preparing well will have a great impact on the kind of outcome you achieve in the end.