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Richard Dolman
Backlog Refinement: The Rodney Dangerfield of Scrum Ceremonies
BACKLOG REFINEMENT
The Rodney Dangerfield of
Scrum ceremonies
No Respect!
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Have you ever been in a Sprint Planning session and realize the
team doesn’t have enough understanding of the product backlog
items (PBIs) to properly plan the Sprint?
Does your team feel like they don’t have time to "waste"
elaborating PBIs, learning about Acceptance Criteria, or
collaboratively estimating as a team?
Has someone mandated it’s “too expensive” or “inefficient” to
bring the whole team together regularly or that just one or two
“leads” should review and estimate PBIs for the entire team?
We’re having a dinner party for 42 of our
closest agile friends and their “+1”s.
I need help with:
q Planning the event and the venue
q Planning the menu and all the food/beverage
service
q Preparing everything and setting up for the
event
q Hosting the event
EPIC : Dinner Party
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
We’re having a dinner party for 42 of our
closest agile friends and their “+1”s.
I need help with:
q Planning the event and the venue
q Planning the menu and all the food/beverage
service
q Preparing everything and setting up for the
event
q Hosting the event
EPIC : Dinner Party
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Focus should be on collaborative discovery…
Your Backlog - a Pipeline for Planning
Refinement
…and gaining enough understanding of the requirements to
prepare for Sprint planning.
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
We need to elaborate,
decompose or visualize
items…
We need to estimate/size
items…
We need to add, remove and
prioritize items…
*image courtesy of Kenny Rubin, Innolution, LLC.
Are we actively collaborating?
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
…Or just sitting in a room with one person talking?
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
while others are disengaged…
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Refinement Concepts and Techniques
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
How visible is your Backlog?
Do you have a
that everyone agrees to and can see?
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Is your Backlog DEEP?
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Have context (frame of reference)
Are we still aligned on our Vision?
Where are we within our Roadmap, Release
or MVP?
What Risks do we need to address next?
Do we have Feedback from our last demo?
!?
… !?
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
What Visuals do we have?
Story Map
Architecture
What visuals do your team create / use as part of backlog refinement?
Persona or Empathy Map
Wireframes
“Walk the Dog” (Dhaval Panchal)
Defined Role(s)
Core Requirement
Value/Justification
IT HELPS US HAVE ACONVERSATION!!
As	
  a	
  <user	
  role>/	
  “who”,	
  	
  
I	
  need	
  to	
  <ac2on/result>/	
  “what”,	
  so	
  that	
  <benefit>/	
  “why”.	
  	
  
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
What makes a good Story?
Say it with
me…
IT HELPS US HAVE ACONVERSATION!!
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
What makes a good Story?
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Splitting Patterns
Workflow pattern
As a content manager, I can publish content to the
corporate website
...I can publish content directly to the corporate website.
...I can publish content with editor review.
...I can publish content with legal review.
Business Rule Variations
As a user, I can search for flights with flexible dates.
...as “n days between x and y.”
...as “a weekend in December.”
...as “± n days of x and y.”
Major Effort
As a user, I can pay for my flight with Credit Card or
PayPal.
...I can pay with one credit card type (VISA only).
...I can pay with multiple card types (VISA, MC,AMEX).
…I can pay with PayPal.
Simple / Complex
As a user, I can search for flights between two
destinations.
...specifying a max number of stops.
...including nearby airports.
...using flexible dates.
...etc.
Variations in Data
As a content manager, I need to create brand-specific and
geo-specific web content.
…by Brand category
...in English
...in German
...etc.
Operations (e.g. CRUD)
As a user, I can manage my account.
...I can Create an account.
...I can Read/Retrieve my account settings.
...I can Update my account.
...I can Delete or cancel my account.
Defer Performance
As a user, I can search for flights between two
destinations.
...(slow - just get it done, show a “searching” animation).
...(in under 5 seconds).
Break Out a Spike
As a user, I can pay by credit card.
Investigate and prototype how to interface with new credit
card processing system.
… then implement credit card processing (as one or more
stories).
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
INVEST in good Stories
–  Can we deliver an independent increment of
value? 
–  Can we limit dependencies?
*Bill Wake
I
N
V
E
S
T
INDEPENTENT
NEGOTIABLE
VALUABLE
ESTIMABLE
SMALL
TESTABLE
–  Has it been, or can it be, negotiated? 
–  It shouldn’t be too prescriptive in terms of
‘how’. 
–  The story needs to be valuable to the
customer. 
–  If we can’t define the value, why are we
doing it? 
–  We understand it well enough to estimate it. 
–  The estimate aligns to our norms for
planning. 
–  It needs to be “small” enough to be delivered
in a single Sprint. 
–  Smaller Stories promote faster feedback.
–  We understand it well enough that we can
write a test for it. 
–  We have acceptance criteria that helps set
boundaries for ‘done’.
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
What about Estimating?
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Prioritizing = Negotiation
Saying “No”
Handing off requirements doesn’t work
It just creates Waste
and compromises Quality!
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Collaborative Discovery = Collective Ownership
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Don’t let remote/ distributed
teams be an impediment
Refine the “Dinner Party”EPICs…
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Now, about that Dinner Party…
Now…
Have a conversation.
Collaborate with your
table mates to practice
some of these
techniques.
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Recap of Concepts and Techniques
Closing
Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
Richard Dolman
richard.dolman@agile42.com / @richardolman
Q&A
Thank You

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@richarddolman_backlog refinement_the rodney dangerfield of scrum ceremonies(agile2015)

  • 1. Richard Dolman Backlog Refinement: The Rodney Dangerfield of Scrum Ceremonies
  • 2. BACKLOG REFINEMENT The Rodney Dangerfield of Scrum ceremonies
  • 3. No Respect! Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Have you ever been in a Sprint Planning session and realize the team doesn’t have enough understanding of the product backlog items (PBIs) to properly plan the Sprint? Does your team feel like they don’t have time to "waste" elaborating PBIs, learning about Acceptance Criteria, or collaboratively estimating as a team? Has someone mandated it’s “too expensive” or “inefficient” to bring the whole team together regularly or that just one or two “leads” should review and estimate PBIs for the entire team?
  • 4. We’re having a dinner party for 42 of our closest agile friends and their “+1”s. I need help with: q Planning the event and the venue q Planning the menu and all the food/beverage service q Preparing everything and setting up for the event q Hosting the event EPIC : Dinner Party Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
  • 5. We’re having a dinner party for 42 of our closest agile friends and their “+1”s. I need help with: q Planning the event and the venue q Planning the menu and all the food/beverage service q Preparing everything and setting up for the event q Hosting the event EPIC : Dinner Party Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
  • 6. Focus should be on collaborative discovery… Your Backlog - a Pipeline for Planning Refinement …and gaining enough understanding of the requirements to prepare for Sprint planning. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 We need to elaborate, decompose or visualize items… We need to estimate/size items… We need to add, remove and prioritize items… *image courtesy of Kenny Rubin, Innolution, LLC.
  • 7. Are we actively collaborating? Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
  • 8. …Or just sitting in a room with one person talking? Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 while others are disengaged…
  • 9. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Refinement Concepts and Techniques
  • 10. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 How visible is your Backlog? Do you have a that everyone agrees to and can see?
  • 11. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Is your Backlog DEEP?
  • 12. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Have context (frame of reference) Are we still aligned on our Vision? Where are we within our Roadmap, Release or MVP? What Risks do we need to address next? Do we have Feedback from our last demo? !? … !?
  • 13. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 What Visuals do we have? Story Map Architecture What visuals do your team create / use as part of backlog refinement? Persona or Empathy Map Wireframes “Walk the Dog” (Dhaval Panchal)
  • 14. Defined Role(s) Core Requirement Value/Justification IT HELPS US HAVE ACONVERSATION!! As  a  <user  role>/  “who”,     I  need  to  <ac2on/result>/  “what”,  so  that  <benefit>/  “why”.     Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 What makes a good Story?
  • 15. Say it with me… IT HELPS US HAVE ACONVERSATION!! Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 What makes a good Story?
  • 16. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Splitting Patterns Workflow pattern As a content manager, I can publish content to the corporate website ...I can publish content directly to the corporate website. ...I can publish content with editor review. ...I can publish content with legal review. Business Rule Variations As a user, I can search for flights with flexible dates. ...as “n days between x and y.” ...as “a weekend in December.” ...as “± n days of x and y.” Major Effort As a user, I can pay for my flight with Credit Card or PayPal. ...I can pay with one credit card type (VISA only). ...I can pay with multiple card types (VISA, MC,AMEX). …I can pay with PayPal. Simple / Complex As a user, I can search for flights between two destinations. ...specifying a max number of stops. ...including nearby airports. ...using flexible dates. ...etc. Variations in Data As a content manager, I need to create brand-specific and geo-specific web content. …by Brand category ...in English ...in German ...etc. Operations (e.g. CRUD) As a user, I can manage my account. ...I can Create an account. ...I can Read/Retrieve my account settings. ...I can Update my account. ...I can Delete or cancel my account. Defer Performance As a user, I can search for flights between two destinations. ...(slow - just get it done, show a “searching” animation). ...(in under 5 seconds). Break Out a Spike As a user, I can pay by credit card. Investigate and prototype how to interface with new credit card processing system. … then implement credit card processing (as one or more stories).
  • 17. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 INVEST in good Stories –  Can we deliver an independent increment of value? –  Can we limit dependencies? *Bill Wake I N V E S T INDEPENTENT NEGOTIABLE VALUABLE ESTIMABLE SMALL TESTABLE –  Has it been, or can it be, negotiated? –  It shouldn’t be too prescriptive in terms of ‘how’. –  The story needs to be valuable to the customer. –  If we can’t define the value, why are we doing it? –  We understand it well enough to estimate it. –  The estimate aligns to our norms for planning. –  It needs to be “small” enough to be delivered in a single Sprint. –  Smaller Stories promote faster feedback. –  We understand it well enough that we can write a test for it. –  We have acceptance criteria that helps set boundaries for ‘done’.
  • 18. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 What about Estimating?
  • 19. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Prioritizing = Negotiation Saying “No”
  • 20. Handing off requirements doesn’t work It just creates Waste and compromises Quality! Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015
  • 21. Collaborative Discovery = Collective Ownership Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Don’t let remote/ distributed teams be an impediment
  • 22. Refine the “Dinner Party”EPICs… Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Now, about that Dinner Party… Now… Have a conversation. Collaborate with your table mates to practice some of these techniques.
  • 23. Copyright© Richard Dolman 2015 Recap of Concepts and Techniques
  • 25. Richard Dolman richard.dolman@agile42.com / @richardolman Q&A Thank You