Backlog refinement explained — best practices & techniques

Paweł Łubiarz
3 min readApr 25, 2021

How to conduct perfect product grooming

What is backlog refinement?

It’s a meeting to work with your product backlog. Backlog refinement may be a regular meeting or scheduled when needed. There are several possible goals for such an event:

  • removing user stories that no longer appear relevant
  • creating new user stories in response to newly discovered needs
  • re-assessing the relative priority of stories
  • assigning estimates to stories that have yet to receive one
  • correcting estimates in light of newly discovered information
  • splitting user stories that are too big to fit in an upcoming iteration

Why you should conduct a refinement meeting?

The intent of backlog refinement is to ensure that the backlog remains populated with items that are relevant, detailed and estimated to a degree appropriate with their priority, and in keeping with the current understanding of the project or product and its objectives.

How to prepare the meeting

Remember: Refining an object that does not contribute to the product vision is the most inefficient use of a Scrum Team’s time.

Before you add anything to the refinement agenda make sure that you checked every step on the flowchart presented below:

During the meeting

After the right items were added to the agenda we need to make sure that we will discuss them in the most efficient way. The chart below would help you to navigate through every issue which needs to be discussed:

With each meeting, you can try to adjust the flow to the team’s needs.

Best practices

Paweł Łubiarz

Product Manager at Piwik PRO | MyLuggage Founder | Helping startups to kick-off their products