What is backlog grooming?
Backlog grooming (backlog refinement, backlog management) sessions are an opportunity to:
- Review Items currently in the backlog to ensure they are still relevant.
- Make sure Items on the backlog are prioritized
- Make sure Items at the top of the backlog are ready for delivery
Below is a list of common activities that occur but are not limited to during a grooming session
- Estimate backlog items (story points)
- Make sure tickets have acceptance criteria
- Write user stories
- Break down user stories that are too big
- Improve / Iterate stories based on current knowledge
Who is involved in backlog grooming?
The backlog grooming session should include the Product Owner and some, or all of the rest of the scrum team. Usually, the session should not take up more than 10% of the development teams capacity.
Stakeholders can be part of the grooming session but it is best to limit their numbers.
When should a backlog grooming session occur?
Timing the grooming of a backlog to happen a few days before a sprint planning session can leave everyone familiar with the backlog and also give the team some idea of the goal for the upcoming sprint.
You can read more about Scrum and its events over at the official scrum.org site.