Project Management

Backlog Refinement: 5 Things to Avoid

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

On agile projects, backlog refinement is when the development team gets together with the product team to review, discuss and clarify the items currently at or near the top of the backlog. The goal is to make the stories “ready for development” by clarifying requirements, asking questions, and finding any artifacts or items needed for the development team to get started, such as designs, copy or images.

Backlog refinement sessions are a critical part of the agile process for several different reasons. The first is probably the most obvious: making sure that all items in the backlog are well understood by the development team ensures that the stories are properly sized, dependencies are clarified, and the goals of the stories are discussed and prioritized. But the value of these sessions doesn’t stop there.

Getting the team together to talk about items in the backlog has other benefits. It helps to create team alignment and a shared understanding of where the product is headed. Talking about future enhancements or work planned for later can give the team a broader picture of what is to come. It also fosters team collaboration. By discussing future work, the development team can talk with the other members of the team to learn about what everyone will be working on, what options exist, and who might be involved for future investigations. The discussion itself also has value…


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