Difference Between Product Backlog Grooming and Sprint Planning

Agile is the most loved software development methodology. From the top, some of its elements look quite mysterious. So here is a quick walkthrough of two similar-looking agile events- the product backlog grooming and sprint planning. Have a brief look at this article to understand both of these events better
Difference Between Product Backlog Grooming and Sprint Planning

Today around 70% of companies rely on agile strategies to accomplish their objectives. Hence, it becomes essential to know about two essential things in the agile framework. Product Backlog grooming and Sprint planning are often misunderstood; hence here is an in-depth comparison of both.

Let’s start by understanding what agile is and what are the different roles in the agile framework. This is important because product backlog grooming and sprint planning are two activities inside the agile framework. So before we start comparing the activities, it will be helpful to know the agile framework.

Why is Agile Important?

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Agile is a software development lifecycle model that is iterative and time-boxed. Every activity that takes place in an agile project comes with a fixed time limit. The base for agile software development lifecycle is that it is flexible and it can quickly adapt to changes.

As it is an iterative model, there is no predefined plan to be followed. Every time a request comes up, it is taken into consideration and worked upon inside the stipulated time.

In agile, there is continuous feedback as it follows an iterative approach. Everything built during a sprint is tested and verified by the product owners and clients.

If changes are required, they are recommended, or else further work continues. Due to this approach, 98% of companies have benefitted in their projects using the agile methodology.

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Here are the roles that make working in agile possible.

  • Product owner
  • Scrum Master
  • Stake Holders
  • Developers
  • QA Teams
  • Additional Operations Teams

Now let’s have a look at the difference between product backlog grooming and sprint planning.

Product Backlog: Overview & Benefits

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In simple words, the product backlog is a universal list of items a team needs to do. The product backlog is a priority-based to-do list of tasks that an agile team needs to do to deliver a successful product.

Product backlogs contain everything starting from user stories, features to be implemented, system bugs, user requests, and even infrastructure changes. It is like a one-stop shop for any agile project. Anything that comes up during an agile project is arranged in the product backlog.

Product owners and project managers are responsible for creating and maintaining a product backlog during an agile project.

What is Product Backlog Grooming?

Product Backlog Grooming

When an agile project begins, a product backlog contains very basic things, but as the project progresses, things start getting added into the product backlog. As the project advances, the client requirements become more straightforward, and new features and requests get into the product backlog.

Moreover, with new components being delivered at the end of every sprint, the bugs and infrastructure changes also start coming up. Client feedback and new user stories are created and added at the end of every sprint.

All these things pile up and make the product backlog an untidy place. Product backlog grooming is associated with maintaining a good product backlog. Having a good and organized product backlog allows all team members to derive their work quickly.

Product backlog grooming is a task performed by product owners and managers. Under this task, everything that is inside the product backlog is arranged based on priority; hence it becomes more accessible for people to work.

During grooming, the managers and product owners collaborate with the team members and filter out already completed and unnecessary items from the product backlog.

An organized and groomed product backlog is helpful to create better sprints and achieve completion faster.

Also Read: IT Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services

Let’s have a look at product backlog grooming’s benefits.

Benefits Of Product Backlog Grooming

  • Removal Of Unnecessary Items
  • Rearrangement of user stories and tasks according to their priorities
  • Better Sprint Planning
  • Avoid delays in crucial deliverables

Having known about product backlog grooming now, it is time to get insights into sprint planning.

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Sprint Planning: Overview & Benefits

As the name suggests, sprint planning is a planning activity. It is usually performed by the product owner, project manager, and a scrum master collaboratively.

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Items from a product backlog are picked and identified by their importance. Regular tasks, as well as crucial deadline-oriented tasks, are identified and fixed to perform. The product owner meets with the other members and collaboratively identifies which tasks from the product backlog need to be performed first.

In simple words, whenever a new sprint begins, a sprint planning meeting is held to create a plan for smooth functioning. Every item decided and agreed in the sprint planning meeting needs to be completed in the coming sprint.

Tasks with high priority from the product backlog are picked up and arranged in a way that more and more work can be completed in a single sprint.

The main aim of sprint planning is to ensure timely delivery of components and guide the team towards the end goal. Sprint planning meetings always happen after the sprint retrospective meeting of a previous sprint. This is important because anything that needs change can be included in the coming sprint.

Here are a few tips to run an effective sprint planning meeting.

Tips To Run A Sprint Planning Meeting

Sprint Planning meeting

  • Start by defining the sprint goal and objective for everyone.
  • Understand and discuss your team capacity before building a sprint plan.
  • Go through the product backlog and arrange high-priority tasks into the sprint at first.
  • Assign tasks to team members based on their skills and capacities.
  • Create a timeframe for the sprint. Always try to follow a linear time frame for sprints throughout the project to avoid confusion.

Also, if you stick to these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the below-listed benefits of sprint planning.

Benefits of Sprint Planning

  • Clear directions for each task
  • Increased productivity of team members
  • Faster project deliver
  • Lower risk of failure
  • Better knowledge of team members’ performance

Having known about both the topics let’s look at Product backlog grooming vs. sprint planning to know how they are different.

Also Read: Top Software Development Metrics Of All Time

Firstly product backlog grooming is vital for better sprint planning. Without a groomed backlog, there will be many problems, and a sprint won’t be effective. Moreover, with good sprint planning, you’ll be able to deliver projects in a timely manner.

Secondly, product backlog grooming takes place before any sprint planning.

Product backlog grooming is a practice, whereas sprint planning is an important event defined in the scrum.

Product backlog grooming has a long-term objective, whereas sprint planning has a short-term objective. Sprint planning is responsible for completing all tasks in a sprint effectively.

Wrapping Up

At the base, everything begins with a good backlog. A product backlog is good only if it is groomed and maintained frequently by the product owners and managers. By now, you’ve known what product backlog grooming and sprint planning are so that you can make better decisions regarding your agile project.

Harikrishna Kundariya
Harikrishna Kundariya
Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, app lover, technology savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz @Mobile App Development Company where you can Hire Mobile App Developer. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on app development.

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