Earlier this week, I facilitated a backlog refinement meeting. In the past, the team was used to all of the requirements being completed (in advance) by the analysts. The delivery team would then execute on those requirements. The problem, of course, was no shared understanding.
We came into the meeting with everyone agreeing they were on the same page. That was true for about 15 minutes. The more we talked, the more they realized they were looking at things from individual perspectives.
At the beginning of the meeting, we had less than 10 user stories, from an analyst’s perspective. By the end of the meeting, we had a prioritized backlog with over 100 user stories at different levels of granularity. It’s not perfect and it’s never done. But, it’s a start. For the first time, developers and testers were engaged at the beginning. At LeadingAgile, we call this the Product Owner team. When the highest priority stories get to a “ready” state, they will be pulled into a delivery team’s queue. Until then, we need to answer some of the more complicated questions, mitigate risk, and achieve that shared understanding.
Image Source: Based on hand drawn image from Pictofigo