What is backlog grooming?

What is backlog grooming?

"So, what's all this backlog grooming malarkey?" I hear you ask, well it starts with Atlassian's 3-step sprint process, and it's far from malarkey.

What are these '3 steps', and why should I care?

If you’re familiar with product backlog, you won’t need to be told why you should care. This blog will explain what backlog grooming is, and why it is necessary.

As you may or may not know, sprint planning involves two key tasks, grooming the backlog, and prioritising which work to complete in the upcoming sprint.

Step 1: Backlog grooming

This involves a separate meeting with the product owner and SCRUM master; Atlassian advise this is done before Step 2: The Sprint planning process, and Step 3: Creating the first few action items. This pre-meeting should be made optional for the development team, as it nips any blame-game scenarios between the Development Team and Product Owner/s, in the bud early on.

It is also advised you take out 30 minuets for this meeting, whether the development team are present or not, for you to sort through the issues you’re most likely to take on in the next two sprints.

A meeting before a meeting?!


The beauty of doing it this way, is to preempt situations where items don’t have enough detail to be executed, or those that need more information from the product owner.

Backlog grooming, kills blockers that waste time, before they have the chance to pulverise the actual sprint itself.

Having this ‘meeting before a meeting’, ensures you are equipped with all of the information you need, so that at the end of it, you can walk out of that room, knowing your commitment. Bliss!

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