After my experience working with dozens of scrum teams in transitioning to Agile, I am thoroughly convinced that a great deal of Agile success is wrapped up in the two things that most lower functioning teams do not do well – Release Planning and Backlog Grooming.
So what is backlog grooming?
Personally, I do not like the words “backlog grooming.” To me it is merely an extension of sprint planning so forgive me when I refer to this as extended sprint planning. I think one of the things that early Scrum made a mistake on is that it expected sprint planning to happen the very first day of the sprint in what for many are LONG planning sessions. In fact, I would not be surprised if the term backlog grooming was coined so that early Agilites could save face!
In other words, let’s call this something other than sprint planning so we don’t have to admit we were not 100% right on what sprint planning should be. (Given the religious nature of Agile and Scrum I fully expect to be excommunicated and eviscerated so please feel free to comment).