why backlog refinement is an activity in scrum and not an event?

Last post 08:32 pm August 29, 2018
by Simon Mayer
3 replies
09:19 am August 29, 2018

Hi Folks,

I am just wondering, why backlog refinement is an activity in scrum and not a event? 

My logic is, the focus of a sprint is the sprint goal. In backlog refinement you talk about future state which can change. More-over

it's not a time-boxed activity. We generally say to have 10% capacity allocated. That's my reasoning. Happy to have your views on same.



10:49 am August 29, 2018

Refinement can he handled as an event if a team thinks that would be best. It just wouldn’t be an event prescribed by the Scrum framework.

In Nexus however, Product Backlog Refinement must be handled as an event.

What are your thoughts on why it is acceptable to manage refinement as an ongoing activity with a single Scrum Team, while that comparitively informal arrangement becomes less satisfactory at a Nexus level?


11:02 am August 29, 2018


My logic will be, in single team the nature of complexity is less. It is better to have such a collabaration in an 

informal way when subjected to a single team.

If we talk about Nexus, 3-9 teams are involved. When more then one team is involved, more dependencies

and complexity comes into existence. Secondly it will make integration work difficult, if dependencies are

not mapped out correctly. Backlog refinement is a perfect opportunity when PBI's are detailed and dependencies

are mapped out. If treated as a formal event, this can be achieved better i feel.



08:32 pm August 29, 2018

It can be constraining to treat refinement as an event.

As it's common practice to schedule "Refinement" as a meeting in the calendars of the whole Scrum Team, it may be that refinement is seen as a noun, and not a verb; an event, and not an activity. That can be psychologically limiting to the self-organization of a Scrum Team.

Barry Overeem wrote a useful blog post about refinement: https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/myth-14-refinement-required-meetin…