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Product Backlog Grooming: When to schedule during the Sprint

The Sprint is the over-riding cycle during the entire cycle. The schedule is broken up into multiple Sprints (of a desired time duration for each Sprint) and the work to be done during each Sprint (and the following Sprints) is decided by the Product Owner in terms of a prioritized Product Backlog. In the Sprint Planning meeting at the start of every Sprint, the team actually works through the details of the tasks to be done for the various User stories, and this decides the amount of work that is actually planned for the Sprint. However, the Product Backlog meeting happens before the Sprint Planning meeting, with the purpose of the meeting being to get the team and the Product Owner to discuss the various User stories, do refinement of the User stories, get the team to do questioning of the User Stories if they have any queries, as well as do some investigation if their are some technical issues or complications that need to be investigated before the Sprint Planning meeting. What this means is that the sequence of steps is that Product Backlog Grooming happens for those User stories which are planned to be used in the next or future Sprint Planning sessions.
One of the questions relates to the time frame in which the Product Backlog Grooming meetings are held. I know teams which hold them every week, since they see that as a way of ensuring that the User stories are properly updated, and also ensure that the Sprint Planning meetings are as smooth and accurate as possible. For other teams, the frequency of these meetings is not so often, planning on doing them a couple of times during the Sprint, and hoping that this will ensure that they have enough reviewed meetings for the next Sprint.
If the team does want to schedule these Product Backlog grooming meetings, what would be a good time to hold such meetings ? Let us consider a Sprint that has a length of around a month (or 4 weeks). In such a Sprint, the experience that I have seen is that the Product Backlog Grooming meetings that are held are typically grouped in the weeks during the middle of the Sprint, not during the first or the last week of the Sprint. Is this absolute – No. Nothing like this can be absolute, instead the team has the right to decide the timeframe of such meetings, and review them based on their experiences with the meetings that have already been held.
Why avoid the first or the last week ? Well, the first week is when the team is working through the User Stories and tasks that are allotted during the Sprint Planning meeting and the team members are typically trying to get their heads around these tasks. And in the last week, the team members are typically pushing the hours, trying to ensure that the tasks that have been scheduled for the Sprint do get done, and trying to do a Product Backlog Grooming meeting during such a timeframe may not really get the enthusiastic cooperation of the team and may turn out to be an exercise in futility with the team not really into it with their full zeal.

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