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Backlog Maintenance

Backlog Refinement … Are you doing it “Right”?

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Backlog Refinement … Are you doing it “Right”?

Jason Tanner is a colleague of mine here in the Cary, NC area. He’s a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) with the Scrum Alliance, which means he can teach certified ScrumMaster and Product Owner classes.

With that title and role comes a responsibility to stay pure to the “rules” of Scrum and its defined practices.

So, Jason will often argue with me about specific agile practices such as:

  • Sprint #0’s
  • Hardening Sprints
  • Release Trains & Planning

As (1) not being part of Core Scrum, and he’s certainly right about that, and (2) just being plane old bad practices. It’s here that I sometimes push back a bit on Jason, thinking that he might be a bit too purist in his approach and thinking.

But it’s all done in good humor and with respect.  Or at least I think it is. But that’s beside the point.

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Even the BEST, can be Wrong

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Even the BEST, can be Wrong

I’ve been a Mike Cohn groupie for as long as I can remember. Mike has written, what I consider to be, three of the seminal books on agile approaches for software development. I’ll leave it as an exercise for you to lookup the books, but he’s really been one of the leading voices on how to “do Scrum” and “do Agile” for an incredibly long time.

I took my CSPO class from Mike and Ken Schwaber, just so I could learn from two of the “masters” in my agile journey. And when anyone asks me for a recommendation of an instructor for a CSM or CSPO class, Mike is at the top of my list. I remember sending all of our potential ScrumMasters at iContact years ago to Mike’s CSM classes. My logic was, that if we were going to spend the money, we might as well go to the best.

Now that I’m looking at the start of this article, I’m almost embarrassed as to how much of a Mike Cohn groupie I am. But I digress…

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Grooming, Maintaining, or Refining your Backlogs – Practices for Success

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Grooming, Maintaining, or Refining your Backlogs – Practices for Success

In 2009 I wrote the first edition of Scrum Product Ownership as a way of helping Product Owners understand their roles and responsibilities better. Before that, it was mostly an exercise in guessing and survival. In 2013, I updated the book in a second edition[1]. In both books I took on the topic of Backlog Grooming. 

As it turns out the term “grooming” is losing its luster in the community and terms like maintenance and refinement are replacing it. I believe the latest copy of the Scrum Guide uses the term refinement. So I will try to start using Backlog Refinement consistently throughout this article. That being said, I really, really like the implications of the term grooming.

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