Backlog Grooming

After experiencing a few sprints, the sprint planning sessions might be long or disorganized with time spent figuring out which story to include or not (right sized and pointed). It might be wise to consider adding the process generally known as backlog “grooming”.


Acceptance Test
An acceptance test is a test that verifies that the story respects the Product Owner acceptance criteria. These acceptance criteria should be included with each story as early as possible in a Sprint, or before taking the story in sprint is ideal. Using acceptance criteria is essential to confirm a team-wide understanding of each story. For teams who have automated testing setup, it is recommended to automate the acceptance test cases so that the status of the story can be verified anytime in the future by simply running its acceptance test.

Story Pointing

The purpose of story points is to give stories a rough size estimate. Story points are not supposed to be precise, so it’s recommended to use a scale like 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, … Even though the scale is rough, if the team is consistent in assigning the same number of points to stories of similar size, their velocity (number of points completed per sprint) will tend to stabilize over time.


There are a number of backlogs represented in the agile Scrum process that all represent work required to enhance a product, but have slightly different context.

Product Backlog

Scrum Artifacts

Although many people assume at first that Agile methodologies remove all types of documentation, this is not the case. Heavy requirement documentation, which is usually inaccurate, incomplete and outdated the second it gets signed off, are replaced with user stories. These are the starting point for any work and provide a lightweight approach at gathering requirements. You will find below other items that cover the necessary level of documentation in Agile and that are referred to as artifacts.

Sprint Retrospective

The retrospective is an internal team meeting designed to look inward at the process and organization. It is designed to help the team self-facilitate the process and assure that they are adapting to changing environments and seeking to improve. The goal of this session is to promote continuous improvement in how the team does the work and provide more value to the rest of the organization.

Daily Scrum

During the sprint, it’s extremely important for the team to work collaboratively to best achieve the sprint goals. The daily scrum meeting is an important mechanism for the team to synchronize their work, remaining informed about the work being done across the team and raise impediments to be addressed.

Sprint Planning

Preparing for a Sprint In addition to closing out the current sprint, the Product Owner and ScrumMaster should be preparing the product release backlog for the next sprint. Changes may still surface in the sprint review meeting, however, for the most part, the next set of user stories should be “right-sized” and prioritized to be tasked for the next sprint.

Release Planning

Release planning is the continuous process of defining, splitting and prioritizing the stories in the release backlog. The agile approach assumes there will be changes (such as new customer requests, discovery of dependency issues, and feedback and learning from sprint deliveries) that will necessitate adjustments in the priority and definition of the stories in a release.

Scrum Ceremonies

Agile teams should do everything in their control to stay away from any meetings and instead strictly attend the Scrum ceremonies. These ceremonies are listed below and they are meant to offer just the right level of planned group sessions during a sprint to keep everyone informed. Ad hoc meetings to discuss design, testing and anything else that the team needs to be successful strictly on the item included in the sprint happen on an as needed basis.


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