Managing the meeting time during pre grooming

The meeting is advised to be no longer than 30 min in total. The only exception is when there is no more time to wait and all of the clarifications can be done immediately.

1. How the iteration is going (5 min):

    • Are all items on track?

    • What items require more clarification?

    • What items will move to the next iteration?

    • Are there any showstoppers to be aware of?

    • Which items need to be solved offline as a top priority? Any ideas how?

2. Tactical Priority review (0-5 min):

    • Are there items that were not planned but require immediate attention?

    • What is the impact of unplanned items? What has to move to the next iteration?

3. Next iteration priorities (0-5 min)

    • Are the priorities set during Backlog Grooming still valid?

    • What is the impact on the already established plan? What needs to move to? Can we reduce the scope?

4. Next iteration clarity (Apply to each feature) (0-15 min)

Are business requirements clear?

    • Do we know how to implement, or do we need an investigation before defining the story?

    • What is the use-case? Is it clear?

    • Do you understand how to test it?

    • Are there any technical or business assumptions to these features?

    • Do you understand how to test it?

    • What would be the ballpark estimate for this story, having the current amount of clarity?

    • What key information is missing to further breakdown the story and start implementation?

5. Recap of what needs to be done before the next meeting. (1 min).

Driving the Meeting -The Pomodoro Technique” The key to success is to make the meeting intense. Apply “The Pomodoro Technique” (wiki) making 25 minutes bursts of extremely focused effort. Use the meeting flow as a set of action items for the meeting.

Performing decisive actions is important to not let anyone derail the conversation. Capturing all the information will help later on – nothing is set in stone. For each item capture or perform immediately:

    • Questions and answers.

    • Assumptions.

    • Dependencies.

    • Notes.

    • Use-cases.

    • User Story.

    • Who to talk to, or who needs to provide information.

    • Assign items to people.

    • Breakdown huge items into smaller items, by isolating what is clear and autonomous

    • Links to design, requirement documents.

    • Anything else that pops-up.

There is never enough information, and there is always too much useless information. But without raw information there is no way to structure the information.

Embrace structure.

Raw data has to be structured to become comprehensive. After the first few meetings, you will see repeating patterns of how information is being presented during the meeting. This has everything to do with how and what questions are being asked. Structuring the data will help you perform more decisive actions during the next meeting – you will know how to handle incoming information. This will effectively allow you to have more productive meetings and less offline time to structure data.