September 9, 2021

Inspection and the Product Backlog - Back to the Foundations of the Scrum Framework (17)

Scrum is founded on empirical process control, and inspection is one of the three pillars.

Each of the Scrum Artifacts is inspected in one or more Scrum Events to detect undesired variances. If you feel something isn’t running as expected, have a good look with your team at your Artifacts what could be going on.

Inspection is about detecting undesirable variances in progressing towards agreed goals.

Let’s take the Product Backlog.

The Product Backlog is inspected at least during Sprint Planning and Sprint Review to detect variances in what the product might be able to be, and what it might be able to provide as capabilities one day (both shorter term and long term) compared to the Product Goal.

Typically the entire Scrum Team and stakeholders are involved. 

The Product Backlog lists the items that are expected to be one day part of the product. If you take a good look at these, will these really achieve the Product Goal, and even the mission the vision of the team and the organisation? What are the overlaps? What are the gaps?

A Product Owner for sure, yet also the other team members will benefit to involve end-users in these conversations. What are they looking for? What are their struggles? Do we want to address these? Are these aligned with the Product Goal? And if so do we find these back in the Product Backlog?
What items are in the Product Backlog that do not seem to address any of the challenges the end users are expressing, nor the Product Goal? Are the users overlooking these? Or do these items not make sense? Or are these really innovations that the users have never thought about...?

Summary:

"Do you inspect your Product Backlog to detect variances in the expected future of your product?"

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Prompt: With your entire team evaluate your Product Backlog. What might be missing to answer to the users' challenges? What might be too much in the Product Backlog that is not needed in the product?

We hope you will find value in these short messages and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

PS. Next week we'll look at the Sprint Backlog and Inspection.

 

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What to Inspect the Product Backlog for?