Product Owner Sue has learned from her past mistakes (See Not Ready for Planning) and she now holds Backlog Grooming/Refinement Sessions whenever she has enough Stories to be worth Estimating (typically every 2-3 Sprints). During these meetings team members estimate New Stories, split Large Stories and develop Acceptance Criteria.
With 10 new Stories and couple of “Epics” that need to be split, Sue has scheduled a Grooming session for the middle of the Sprint. She has invited all the team members to attend; Kirby (see New People on the Team) comes but is grumbling, “I don’t see the point in this. Its just going to waste precious coding time. Why can’t this just happen in Sprint Planning?” (Editor – Kirby hasn’t quite found his rhythm yet). Sue reminds the team tht the meeting exists so the team can ensure that Product Backlog is well prepared for the next Sprint Planning meeting. In addition, it helps her understand how much of the backlog they can realistically complete before the next release in three month’s time (Editor – yes they have infrequent releases).
She asks that they start estimating her first new story:
“As a frequent book buyer I want the store to remember me so I can add books to my shopping cart without having to login”.
Team members start asking questions requiring clarification:
- Ian asks, “Are there any other technologies to consider?”
- Does this include being able to see the book in the shopping cart? Sue – No
- What if we don’t have accounts implemented when we start this story? Sue – Then just use a fake/sample account for now
When the questions peter out Team Members begin flipping through their Planning Poker™ cards (I will have some for my readers soon), looking for the right numbers. Kirby just looks around in confusion. Nobody had checked to see if he understood the estimation process. There was a pause and Scrum Master John asked, “What do you know about our estimation process?” The reply was, “Nothing.” John asked if he understood the flaws of traditional estimation – Kirby was sure he had this one down cold, “Yeah, you need to double the figures and then add a fudge factor, but never tell the developers otherwise their work will expand to fit the time available.” There was some nervous laughter, as Kirby has had trouble fitting into the team in the past (see New People on the Team). Read More…