5S on the Backlog

Improving

Support for technical debt on Product Backlog items

Improving

Description

Like any 5S operation, reviewing the Backlog to do some clean up is essential in agile.

Teams usually perform a 5S during the Sprint Refinement meetings as part of the Sprint Planning. Actually, the Refinement meeting used to be named “Backlog Grooming”, but this terminology was discouraged since the word has bad connotations referring to child abuse [Küblböck 2016]...

Keeping your backlog tidy is a must and it’s the Product Owner’s responsibility [Küblböck 2016]. A 5S on the Backlog should be helped by Team Members.

Impact on the testing maturity

The 5S eases the flow as per the Theory of Constraints, for the grooming done prevents from wasting time on wrong Product Backlog Items (PBI). As a consequence, to ease 5S on the backlog, there should be few PBI in advance to avoid a pushed process. There should be just enough PBI ready for the Sprint to come plus the few next Sprints. 

To turn the ideation process into a pulled process, this reveals an opportunity to introduce the Definition of Ready (DoR) to help cadencing the ideation process with the development process.

You may also chase other bottlenecks in the ideation flow thanks to a Value stream mapping (VSM) [Finn Miller 2017] [SAFe 2021-46]. 

Agilitest’s standpoint on this practice

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© Christophe Moustier - 2021