Participants:
2-10
11-25
25+
Prep Time:
Time to Run:
1-3 hours

Backlog Refinement Template

Prepare for a sprint or strategic planning

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Refine your product backlog to ensure it's up to date ahead of a sprint or planning session. Easily import issues from your Jira Cloud instance into this template, prioritize and update, and then send your refined backlog back to Jira.

About the backlog refinement template

The backlog refinement template allows you to reexamine what’s relevant in your backlog, what’s not, and what new user stories you should include. That way, your team gets a clear view of the tasks they must complete in the sprint.

What is backlog refinement?

Backlog refinement is a process in which the product owner and developers of an agile team review the tasks on the backlog, prioritize user stories based on their impact on business results/effort, and make updates to the backlog so it’s ready for the next sprint.

Why run a backlog refinement meeting?

Here’s how running a backlog refinement meeting benefits scrum teams.

Focus on features that matter

The needs and expectations of your target user will continually change over time, which is why you must frequently update your product. A backlog refinement template helps you identify which ideas in your backlog are irrelevant and replace them with new user stories, so you can continue building the product users want.

Better prioritize user stories

Focusing on the most urgent tasks first is essential to avoid wasting time during product development. Backlog refinement meetings keep your team focused and allow you to prioritize user stories based on their urgency, level of effort, and impact on business goals. As a result, your team will be more efficient and deliver a high-value product much faster.

Improve team alignment

Every member should have a shared understanding of their work. Backlog refinement meetings allow team members to discuss user stories, have a conversation about business challenges, and gain clarity on their responsibilities.

Tips for getting the most out of backlog refinement meetings

1. Follow the DEEP method

The DEEP method is a framework created by Roman Pichler and Mike Cohn to help product owners better manage their backlog. The acronym breaks down as follows:

Detailed Appropriately

The user stories in your backlog refinement meeting must have enough details for product team members to act upon.

Estimated

Your product team needs to agree on a standardized measure to assess the effort involved in each user story.

Emergent

Always remember that nothing is permanent in a product backlog, and you can remove, add, or update user stories.  

Prioritized

You must rank the items listed in the backlog based on their value and strategic purpose, with the most important user stories listed at the top.

2. Adopt a customer-focused approach

Make sure to keep the backlog refinement discussion on what will satisfy and engage users so you can focus on how to create a better product for them.

3. Identify your backlog dependencies

Dependencies in a product backlog refer to any task you can’t get started on until your team has completed another user story. Make sure to identify the dependencies in your backlog before updating it with new tasks.

How to use the backlog refinement template

1. Check in

Ask your team members to drop their names in the template’s sticky notes and rate how they’re feeling before your backlog refinement session.

2. Review

Review the backlog to identify if there are any issues that could break down into smaller tasks or be removed from your backlog altogether.

3. Prioritize

With your team, prioritize which issues you want to focus on now, next, or later.

4. Assign effort

Estimate the story size of each issue with your team members.

5. Solicit feedback

Ask each team member how they feel after the backlog refinement exercise and log their energy levels after the backlog refinement session.

Features of the backlog refinement template

Import and export tasks from Jira

Import and export tasks in the backlog refinement template. Once you update the backlog, you can send it back to Jira with the refined updates.

Share your backlog refinement template with others on your team

Once you’ve finished the backlog refinement meeting with your team, you can share your template with others as an image or PDF. That way, you can show stakeholders the outcome of your backlog refinement session and get their final approval.

How to create a Backlog Refinement Template

Backlog Refinement Template Frequently Asked Questions

Who should be involved with backlog refinement meetings?

How long should my backlog refinement meeting be?