Backlog refinement (sizing, backlog management) is the process by which a product owner or product manager adjusts and prioritizes backlog items to ensure that the work being done is actually bringing the most value.

😓 Problem

Project managers would love to be able to include the whole team in the prioritization process, as well as their input on priorities. However, meetings tend to be long because, often, the team or a person in particular will end up spending too much time on one topic.

The most common problems of backlog refinement meetings are:

  • Overpromotion of an idea because of someone’s obsession with it.
  • The unfair win of the loudest person in the room; simply because they’re loud!
  • The tendency of a lot of introverts to keep their creativity to themselves.
  • The probability of people opting for someone else’s opinion, rather than their own. Why? Because talking can be exhausting.

It would be great if we could structure the backlog refinement meeting so it turns into a pleasant, efficient session. So how do you make teams see the value in prioritizing together?

🤔 Why do backlog refinement meetings with your team?

By now, we know that organizations without a strong diversity inclusion culture invite lower productivity + higher absenteeism and turnovers; in other terms, higher costs.  

Aligning teams on the work, and including them in the prioritization process simply builds better teams; everyone gets to voice their opinion which means that the planning is closer to reality.

🤓 How Foxly can help with your backlog refinement meetings

Everyone's vote on priorities matters. With Foxly, you can turn prioritization sessions into a way for all stakeholders to collaborate and contribute, not to mention have fun in the process as they come together.

Foxly has a feature called Priority planning poker, which is essential for bigger teams. It can be used as a solution to:

  • lengthy prioritization sessions that make you want to die;
  • disagreement that has no end in sight;
  • or difficulty hearing everyone when so many people are involved.

The process

If you get yourself into a situation where you’re including 4 people or more in a backlog refinement meeting, Priority planning poker is the answer.

  1. It’s fair: everyone gets to vote on metrics while the average is taken as the result.
See Average results of the Jira planning poker vote in Foxly
Average results of the planning poker vote

2. You can choose the metrics to prioritize with each team; for example, when prioritizing with devs for example, you can remove impact given it’s something you’d want to discuss with stakeholders instead. With devs, you can keep Confidence and Effort.

Different Jira planning poker sessions for teams and stakeholders in Foxly
Different planning poker sessions for teams and stakeholders

3. Once you start the session, others can still join.

Invite team to your Jira planning poker game in Foxly
Invite team to your planning poker game

4. Foxly allows you to view the issue currently being prioritized and when clicking on ‘view details’, you’ll get additional info from Foxly.

Layout of Jira planning poker game in Foxly
Foxly planning poker game layout

5. Outliers (results that fall outside the norm) can be discussed, then kept or the vote can be taken again.

See outliers and individual votes in JIra planning poker game by Foxly
See outliers and individual votes

6. Once you’re done with the voting, click on ‘finish’; every time you accept the results, priority scoring is automatically calculated in Foxly. It also means that when you feel people are getting tired, you can leave the session unfinished and come back to it later.

Celebrate finished Jira planning poker game in Foxly with Confetti
Finished planning poker game 🎉

🤩 Why Foxly is the best for you

When compared to classic planning poker, where the development team estimates by using story points only, Foxly’s Priority planning poker takes into consideration more than one factor (time estimation of the delivery team).
Foxly allows you to involve stakeholders from various contexts, concluding in better decision-making as to the scope to pick up next.

Prioritize your product backlog as a team

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