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Why I prefer ‘Release Plan Refactoring’ to ‘grooming’

by Joe Little, 12 October 2013 | The Agile Blogosphere

This post is from LeanAgileTraining by Joe Little. Click here to see the original post in full.

I was just doing a course with Dave Muldoon in Canada. One of the workshops was scaling. In that context, we discussed release plan refactoring or product backlog grooming.


To me, the Scrum community has many definitions of ‘product backlog grooming.’ In fact, the community has many different words for it. And it is confusing, especially to beginners.


I like to use the phrase ‘release plan refactoring’ instead.


Today, briefly, I wanted to explain why.


But first, why is this question even important?  Because ideas affect actions. If we do the action without a deep understanding of the intent, we are very likely to do the action in an ugly way.


Basics


The bare framework of Scrum does not define ‘release planning.’ Nor does it define ‘backlog grooming.’ The latest Scrum Guide does have a few vague phrases like this: “Product Backlog refinement is the act of adding detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog. This is an ongoing process….”


My understanding is that Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber are not against doing specific things and using specific words in specific situations. They just feel that they don’t want to include those things in the bare framework of Scrum. Why? Well, that’s a lengthy conversation for another day.


Probably not all teams...

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