The backlog grooming is the old word to say “backlog refinement” ; Don’t look for a difference between backlog grooming and backlog refinement, it’s exactly the same thing. But some people still use this word today.
Why backlog grooming change its name?
The word “backlog grooming” is used to talk about one bad practice: “try to trap kids in Internet”. So in some region of the world, the use of this word in scrum seemed to offend some people. Finally, scrum decide to change this word by a new word “backlog refinement”.
So we can just to recommend you to stop the use of “backlog grooming” !
What is this practice?
The product backlog refinement (ex backlog grooming) is a very important practice in scrum. The scrum team will refine regularly the product backlog to have a better capacity to deliver more value for the customers.
The objectives of this practice are :
- refine the content of the backlog items (often user stories)
- estimate the necessary effort to produce each of them
- range the items inside the product backlog
It’s the time when the development team ask some explanation to the product owner to be sure to really well understand the requests.
The team do this practice because it avoid to have too long sprint planning! If the team don’t take the time to refine the backlog before, all the work will be during the sprint planning.
How to do the refinement (backlog grooming)?
A lot of team decide to create a new event to do this work; some framework like LeSS formalize this kind of doing. For example, the team will take 2h each Wednesday to refine the product backlog.
But it’s not a mandatory to create a new event. Scrum don’t impose that; the framework only explain that the team must not to take more 10% of the time for the refinement.
Few teams decide that the team do this work when the product owner needs. It’s the refinement on-demand. But this kind of doing is really seldom now.
So, the best way: let the team choose the format that it prefer to do!
Useful link: LeSS in french