How to master backlog refinement meetings

Atlassian 작성자: Atlassian
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For Agile software development teams, maintaining a consistent understanding of the scope and context of the product is critical. Products already released to market often have a large backlog of user stories yet to be developed. Agile teams draw from the product backlog when planning sprints, and the condition of the backlog plays a significant role in the overall success of the product.

In simple terms, backlog refinement is about keeping the product backlog up to date. Backlog refinement meetings, also known as “sessions,” are the events that allow a team to update and prepare the backlog for an upcoming sprint.

A product backlog can be large and difficult to manage. But for good Agile project management, it is essential to master backlog refinement meetings.

This article provides proven strategies for conducting backlog refinement meetings that keep your backlog current, clean, and organized. It explains why backlog refinement sessions are important, how to run efficient sessions, and helpful tips Agile teams have learned along the way.

The purpose of backlog refinement sessions

A backlog refinement meeting is when a project team meets to review, update, and clean its product backlog. It is crucial in any Agile methodology, as it clarifies the team’s workload for a future sprint. These meetings aim to maintain two sprints worth of items in the backlog so the team always has a fresh supply of work and can pivot to new tasks when requirements change.

In a backlog refinement meeting, like in sprint planning, product owners and development team members discuss each backlogged item, clarify its requirements, and assess its priority and complexity, resulting in a more clearly defined and actionable list of items to work on.

By regularly conducting backlog refinement sessions, the team can ensure the development process remains agile and responsive to changing needs and priorities. Such dynamic environments require collaboration and project tracking tools like Jira Software, which has a backlog feature, help managers make those changes for their teams at large.

How to run an efficient backlog refinement meeting

Agile project management begins with efficient backlog refinement meetings. The following steps will help you create a smooth and repeatable process that assembles the right people, sets expectations, prioritizes and evaluates items, and defines the next steps.

1. Review and prioritize backlogged items

Before the backlog refinement meeting can take place, the product owner needs to do an initial review of existing product backlog items (such as user stories, features, or tasks) and remove those that are no longer relevant. As a product evolves and feature requirements change, some items will no longer fit the project vision. The product owner should also implement feedback from previous sprint reviews and clear items the team decides to remove.

The product owner should then prioritize all items that remain in the backlog, knowing this prioritization may change as the team deliberates on each item at the meeting.

2. Create and share the meeting agenda

Like any meeting in a project management context, an agenda is essential to keep discussions on topic. Product owners can create the backlog refinement meeting agenda and collaborate with relevant team members, allowing them to give early feedback and time estimates on the items and prepare for the upcoming topics.

The agenda’s main purpose is to keep the team focused on the selected backlog items and successfully complete the refinement activities within the time set for the meeting. Atlassian’s meeting agenda template makes setting agendas, capturing notes, and sharing action items easy for Agile teams by providing a premade format for your meeting minutes.

3. Ensure necessary participants are present

Because backlog refinement meetings can involve complex discussions and sometimes run for a full hour, it is vital to invite only the needed participants.

Who should be in the backlog refinement meeting? A typical session requires the attendance of the following team members:

  • The product owner
  • Development team members (Scrum team)
  • The project sponsor
  • The meeting facilitator (Scrum Master)
  • A product manager (optional)

4. Determine the right time to meet

The best time to meet depends on the length of the sprints and the complexity of the project. If a team holds weekly sprints, the project manager should have a backlog refinement session weekly. If sprints are two weeks, the project manager should plan a session every other week. If the sprints are longer than two weeks, bi-weekly sessions are still best to help the team prepare for changing priorities or unforeseen issues.

Whatever the team decides, aim for hour-long meetings to tackle the entire backlog and ensure the product manager schedules them on the calendar and the meeting facilitator rigorously timeboxes them to avoid wasted time.

5. Evaluate the user story

For an Agile team to successfully evaluate the complexity of an item, they must have a shared understanding of the user story. User stories are informal explanations of what the feature does from the customer’s perspective.

The backlog refinement meeting is the time to examine existing user stories and evaluate whether they are still relevant to the project. This is also the time to add new user stories based on newly gathered insights or to split larger user stories into smaller ones. This continuous improvement of the user stories is an important part of the Agile process as it allows the team to identify opportunities to improve the product incrementally.

Identify next steps and follow up

During a backlog refinement meeting, the team will identify items to include in the sprint and remove the rest. In some instances, a session can reveal multiple backlog items with the same priority, but the team might not have enough time to complete all of them. Agile planning poker cards are a helpful tool for deciding which items to move forward with and which to save for the next sprint.

When the meeting ends, follow up by sending the meeting minutes to all participants and ensuring they understand the priority of the items discussed. Breaking down the development into action items using a tool like Jira Software helps keep the critical backlog components in focus. This prioritized backlog then becomes the focus of the next sprint planning session.

Benefits of productive backlog refinement sessions

When done correctly, product backlog refinement meetings contribute to overall efficiency and team productivity, and ensure project completion. The following sections outline some of the advantages of backlog refinement sessions.

Optimized backlog

These sessions declutter and optimize the process. They keep the product backlog focused and clean and ensure it is not clogged with irrelevant items.

공통된 이해

Because these meetings require the team to discuss each item in detail, the team and stakeholders develop a shared understanding of what the work requires and which items should be prioritized.

Effective sprint planning

Meeting participants can ask questions and offer feedback, resulting in streamlined sprint planning meetings. In addition, the shared understanding of the project makes sprint planning easier and quicker.

공동 작업 개선

Team members come from various backgrounds and have differing views on priorities and how long items will take to complete. The refinement meeting allows members to share their views, helping them get on the same page about priorities and deadlines.

Empowered team

Team members who participate in refinement meetings take ownership of the sprint and, by extension, the project and the work required to complete it. The result is an empowered team that holds itself accountable for the outcome of each sprint.

Tips for successful backlog refinement meetings

There is an abundance of tips and strategies for conducting backlog refinement meetings. However, the following best practices have proven useful to Agile teams globally.

Keep your backlog DEEP

Roman Pichler and Mike Cohn first used the acronym DEEP to outline a way to structure a backlog to maximize its usefulness. The following are the four elements of a DEEP backlog:

  • Detailed appropriately: Make items useful by adding details.
  • Emergent: Add, change, or remove backlog items based on new insights into the project or with changing project requirements.
  • Estimated: Give each item a time estimate.
  • 우선 순위 지정: 가장 가치가 높은 항목을 목록 상단에 배치하여 스프린트에 있는 항목의 우선 순위를 지정합니다.

각 항목에 준비의 정의 사용

준비의 정의(DoR)는 백로그 항목이 팀에서 작업할 준비를 마쳤는지를 나타내는 합의된 기준 집합입니다. DoR은 팀이 작업에 수반되는 내용을 이해하고 작업을 완료하는 데 필요한 시간을 추정할 수 있도록 합니다.

항목을 관리 가능한 부분으로 나누기

작업을 나눌 때는 각 백로그 항목을 완료하는 스프린트의 절반을 넘기지 않는 것이 좋습니다. 1주일 스프린트의 경우 완료하는 데 4일이 걸리는 항목은 일정에 지장을 줄 수 있으므로 각 항목을 2일 동안 진행하도록 작은 항목 2개로 나눠야 합니다.

세분화 세션 나누기

처음 몇 번의 백로그 세분화 미팅은 몇 시간이 걸릴 수 있습니다. 팀의 집중력을 유지하고 후원자, 제품 관리자 및 기타 이해 관계자와의 미팅 시간을 최적화하는 한 가지 방법은 세션을 2개 이상으로 나누어 진행하는 것입니다. 세션당 1시간 동안 진행하는 것이 가장 좋습니다. 이렇게 하면 참가자가 백로그 항목을 살펴보고 각 항목이 전체 프로젝트에 어떻게 적용되는지 검토할 수 있습니다.

Jira Software로 백로그 세분화 미팅 간소화

제품 백로그 세분화 미팅을 통해 제품 백로그를 잘 관리하고 우선 순위를 지정할 수 있으므로 반드시 진행해야 합니다. 하지만 이 미팅은 시간이 오래 걸리며, 특히 적절한 도구를 사용하여 백로그를 만들고, 결정된 사항을 기록하고, 팀과 공유하지 않을 경우에는 혼란스러울 수 있습니다.

Jira Software의 백로그 기능을 사용하면 백로그 세분화 작업에 대해 팀원과 쉽게 공동 작업할 수 있습니다. 모든 항목에 댓글과 세부 정보를 추가하고, 팀원에게 작업을 할당하고, 가치 또는 위험도에 따라 항목을 나열하고 우선 순위를 지정할 수 있습니다. Jira Software를 통해 백로그 세분화 미팅을 간소화하고 전체 프로젝트 관리 프로세스를 개선할 수 있습니다. Jira Software로 팀 효율성을 어떻게 높일 수 있는지 알아보세요.

백로그 세분화 미팅: 자주 묻는 질문

백로그 세분화 세션은 얼마나 자주 진행해야 합니까?

백로그 세분화 미팅을 진행하는 빈도는 팀 스프린트 주기에 따라 달라집니다. 1주일 스프린트는 평균적으로 매주 진행합니다. 2주 이상 걸리는 스프린트의 경우 격주로 진행하면 백로그를 유지 관리할 수 있습니다.

백로그 세분화 미팅은 얼마 동안 진행됩니까?

백로그 세분화 미팅 시간은 프로젝트 복잡성과 제품 백로그 규모에 따라 달라지기 때문에 정해져 있지 않습니다. 하지만 처음 몇 번의 미팅은 2시간 정도 할당하는 것이 좋습니다. 프로젝트가 시작되면 일반적으로 세분화 미팅은 1시간 정도 진행되며, 스프린트가 진행될수록 더 짧아지는 경우가 많습니다.

백로그 세분화 세션은 어떻게 준비해야 합니까?

백로그 세분화 세션은 주로 제품 소유자가 준비합니다. 가치에 따라 항목의 우선 순위를 지정하고, 가장 우선 순위가 높은 항목에 필요한 세부 정보를 추가하고, 미팅 안건을 준비해야 합니다. 팀원들은 안건을 읽고 나열된 항목에 대한 질문과 피드백을 준비해야 합니다.

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