Coach Richard Dolman has recently been a guest on the Mastering Business Analysis Podcast by Dave Saboe. In episode MBA107: Backlog Refinement – From Misunderstanding to Collaborative Discovery, Richard helps us take backlog refinement from an underutilized meeting that doesn’t get the respect it deserves to a powerful forum for collaborative discovery, as he wrote previously on this blog.
Backlog refinement is the act of the team reviewing the items in the backlog and discussing the detail to get clarity as to priorities and plan their work. It’s an opportunity for the team to come together and collaboratively discover what they’re being asked to do.
Refinement includes elaborating on the backlog items for further clarity, decomposing large items into smaller pieces, doing lightweight functional design, elaborating on acceptance criteria, and even some sizing. The goal is to have near term, high priority backlog items that are small enough and understood by the team to begin working on in the next iteration.