Chapter 9

The Sprint Backlog and Release Planning

After the Product Owner has identified and prioritized all of the work items, the Agile Team then goes off to estimate the workload of the highest-priority items into a Sprint Backlog. The Sprint Backlog is the list of requirements or tasks that will be completed during a sprint, or set period of time. All of the items in the Sprint Backlog must be distilled enough for a team member to work on. Ideally these items will be broken out and sufficiently defined so that a team member can finish a piece of work within a day.

Everything in the jungle has a soul and a story—even project work. Since the Product Backlog holds all the items and functionality that needs to be built into a product, the Agile Team breaks down the work into user stories in a backlog grooming session. A backlog grooming session can take place at the beginning of a project, but should also continue constantly through the sprint cycle. This meeting is the meat and potatoes of the preliminary tasks that need to be done before work begins. The team members take as long as necessary to put flesh on the bare-bones tasks (called a grooming session). (Figure 9.1 shows tasks broken down by theme.) This can take a couple hours while the entire team works in coordination to put all of the stories together to fit in the first sprint. (Sometimes a grooming session is combined with sprint planning, as described in Chapter 10.) This first sprint is a Timeboxed iteration. As teams ...

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