An open discussion
Now that we have created our user stories and prioritized our user stories in the product backlog with the most valuable items at the top, we want to move on to the next step in the agile development process, grooming.
Grooming is an open discussion between the development team and product owner. The user stories are discussed to help the team gain a better understanding of the functionality that is needed to fulfill a story. This includes design considerations, integrations, and expected user interactions.
Role, Function, and Goal
The team will discuss the role, desired function, and goal of the user story with the product owner. Then, among themselves, they will discuss how they plan to technically implement the user story.
Beyond grooming individual user stories, the team uses weekly grooming sessions in order to groom the product backlog. With the product owner, the team will review the backlog and see if there are any stories that need to be added or can be removed based on any iterations from the previous sprint. They will also want to re-assess the priority of the backlog and split user stories which are high priority but are too large to fit in an upcoming sprint. Changes in the product backlog can only be completed and approved by the product owner.
An obvious benefit of continuous grooming to user stories and the product backlog is the ability to ensure that elements in the backlog are relevant, estimated with an appropriate degree of relative complexity, and that the current project and objectives are understood by the team and product owner.
Grooming sessions occur weekly during the sprint (or development cycle) and typically last 1-2 hours.
To learn more about grooming and how it fits in the agile software development process, download The Official Agile 101 Handbook by clicking the link below.