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Backlog Grooming vs Sprint Planning | The Complete Guide

Navdeep Singh Gill | 21 October 2022

Backlog Grooming vs Sprint Planning

What is the Scrum Framework?

Scrum is a simplistic method. It's the total opposite of a massive collection of intertwined components needed. Scrum is not a process. Scrum employs empiricism as a scientific method. Scrum is a heuristic technique to deal unpredictability and address complicated problems that replaces a programmed algorithmic approach with respect for people and self-organization. As defined by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in their book Software in 30 Days, Scrum in Action depicts the process from planning through delivery of software.

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What is Backlog Grooming?

For agile product development teams, it is also known as backlog refinement or story time, is a regular occurrence. The main objective is to ensure backlog user stories for the next several sprints are ready for sprint planning. Regular backlog grooming sessions guarantee that the relevant stories are prioritized and that the product backlog does not stagnate.

Its sessions also have a range of tactical targets:

  • Large user stories must be broken into smaller jobs.
  • To help clarify any uncertainty, discuss user stories with the team and address related queries.
  • Add crucial contextual information and acceptance criteria to incoming user stories to ensure they meet the team's "definition of ready."
  • The scrum master, project manager, and delivery team will sometimes (but not always) use this session to estimate stories and assign story points.

What is the purpose of Backlog Grooming?

After a backlog refinement meeting, you should have a priority list of user stories. The highest information must be found in the items at the top of the backlog. Any stories near the top which are too big to handle should be split down into manageable, more doable jobs. As you progress down the list, stories may grow in size and distant from your team's "definition of ready." The jobs completed during these sessions will lead to more shared knowledge and more efficient sprint planning meetings in the long run.

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Who runs backlog refinement sessions?

The product owner or product manager often leads backlog refinement sessions.
This does not imply that they are solely responsible for arranging backlog grooming sessions. These sessions are frequently led by the Scrum Master (in Agile Scrum teams), a project manager, or another team member. The grooming sessions will be run by whoever is ultimately in charge of a few key things:

  • Organizing the meeting and ensuring the proper people are invited (and attend).
    Maintaining a productive and on-topic conversation.
  • If the team gets stuck, I'll play timekeeper and move the discussion along.
  • Sending a follow-up message to the recipient.

Who are involved?

These meetings are meant to be collaborative. At refinement sessions, the entire cross-functional team must be represented. To effectively build out your user story, you'll need the combined expertise of your team's many tasks.
  • Someone to start discussions: A product owner, product manager, scrum master, project manager, or even an agile coach or consultant could be the person in charge.
  • The product owner and/or additional members of the product team.
  • The team is responsible for delivery. (If the team is too large to include, management representatives can be invited.)
  • Representatives from Quality Assurance.
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What should be done in Backlog Grooming?

Everyone who joins a backlog grooming session must plan and prepare in some way. This is especially true for product owners and managers, whose lack of preparedness can lead to annoyingly inefficient meetings.

  • Review Strategic Goals
  • Consult Stakeholders
  • Review key metrics

After you've gone over everything all over again, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What are the current hot themes and stories?
  • Why are these at the top of the priority list right now?
  • What is their value, and how do they connect to our strategic objectives?

What is Sprint Planning?

Sprint Planning sets off the Sprint by laying out the tasks that will be completed throughout the sprint. This master plan is the result of the Scrum Team's collaborative efforts.

The Product Owner makes sure that everyone is ready to talk about the essential Product Backlog items and how they connect to the Product Goal. Additional people may be invited to Sprint Planning by the Scrum Team to provide advice.

The following topics are covered in it:

  • Topic 1: Why is this Sprint significant?
  • Topic 2: What Can Be Accomplished During This Sprint?
  • Topic 3: How will the planned work be done?

Two important strategic issues will arise from a successful session:

The sprint goal is a brief written overview of the team's plans for the next sprint.

The sprint backlog is a list of stories and other items from the product backlog that the team has chosen to focus on during the next sprint.

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What should sprint planning include?

It aimed to find out the essential details about the team's planned work for the next sprint. With this in mind, the sprint squad should aim to cover at least the following topics during this meeting.

The following items can form a basis for your team's meeting agenda:

  • Determine the team's overall strategic goal for the upcoming sprint.
  • Examine the product backlog and decide which items should be added to the next sprint backlog and why.
  • Request that the team agrees on the suggested sprint goal and backlog items (led by the scrum master).
  • Discuss the team's capacity.
  • Discuss issues that have been identified as having the potential to impede or slow the development on the project.
  • Assign tasks to the new sprint backlog based on skill capabilities, capacity, and other contributing factors.
  • Estimate the time each task will take and decide on what "done" means for each item.
  • Confirm the sprint's start and finish dates.
  • Provide sprint-related questions to be asked at the start of the meeting.

Who organizes sprint planning typically?

Although input from other members of the organization can be helpful, the following individuals will be crucial participants in any sprint planning session:

  • The scrum master is in charge of the scrum (who leads and coordinates the meeting).
  • The owner of the product (who explains the product backlog items, answers backlog questions, and helps define the sprint goal.)
  • The product manager's title is (who might also be the product owner, but not mandatory)
  • The team is primarily responsible for development (who will commit to the work, estimate deadlines, and explain any capacity or skill-set issues that could prevent a job from getting done).
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Backlog refinement is to keep the backlog stocked with relevant, detailed, and projected items to a degree appropriate for their priority and in line with current information on the product and its aims. Unlike a more formal "requirements document," the backlog is a basis for preparing. For example, not all user stories need to be broken down to a fine-grained level or given comprehensive estimates at the start of the project; nonetheless, a "sufficient" number of stories should be ready for scheduling in the following few iterations at all times. An Agile project, like any other, is prone to "scope creep" in the form of user requests.

You can turn your final goal into a step-by-step instruction with proper Sprint planning and project management tools. Everyone on the team will know the final goal after a productive planning session, and the team will be committed to accomplishing it. In project management, sprints also help you discover and resolve issues that may impact the project in the future. The danger of surprises is greatly reduced after carefully planning an Agile project sprint, and all you have to do now is get to work.