Dev.BG – Effective Refinement Meetings
For years, we have had an hour for “Refinement” on our calendars once a week. But is it “Refinement meeting”, is it “Grooming”, is it “Backlog refinement”…?! And what exactly are these meetings about? How exactly do they work? Do they help the Team, or are they just another waste of time because it was written somewhere that this is how it is done?
What shall the Team do on these meetings? Do we write requirements at these meetings, do we write “user stories” and “acceptance criteria”, and is then when we play poker or at the “planning”?!
The fog is quite thick on all these matters. There is no single answer as to which is the best practice. And it is not logical that there should be.
The fact is that the Team needs the knowledge about a given requirement, expected to turn into one or more functionalities (or none) to be comprehensive, accessible, clear and organized. It is also a fact that Nobody has time to read, and even less, can we afford to waste time in long discussions and cumbersome documentation instead of just making a decision, noting down a question and implementing a tiny but meaningful piece of software.
And most of all, we cannot afford to waste our time on emails, messages and comments of the “what have we decided about this case” type…
So, after many examples of non-working practices, wasted chances and disappointed customers, a fast, efficient and, most importantly, intriguing and engaging form was born to collect all the questions, considerations, ideas, risks, previous experiences, assumptions, dependencies, expectations and goals – all the knowledge of a “user story” in a colourful and pleasant to work Miro board – The User Story Analysis.
User Story Analysis is a tool for effective Refinement Meetings.
We take the hottest “story” and unravel it from all sides – why do we do it, for which business aspect is it critical, have we correctly understood the customer problem, is it really a problem, and should it be solved with software? How will we test it, and who else do we need to deliver it? What can go wrong with the decisions we’ve made? How do we prepare for when things go wrong?
Refinement Meetings are a way for the Team to enter the “sprint” with a little more confidence that they will deliver the “story” and with a little more capacity, and User Story Analysis is a nice and fruitful practice for gathering the skills and knowledge of the Team and enabling them to move fast.
Refinement meetings without an agenda are a waste of time.
The time for analysis is much cheaper than the time searching and waiting for answers, fixing bugs and calming down burnt-out developers and disappointed customers.
Engage everyone involved and keep all the information in one place.
Register for free here: Effective Refinement Meetings RSVP