3 Signs Your Scrum Needs Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air. The trees are budding, the tulips are peeking through the ground, and the birds cheerfully greet you with the sunrise. And with spring’s arrival, you’ve discovered you’ve got that itch. That itch to clean up. The signs are everywhere, begging to you, “Clean me up! I need a refresh!” Whether it’s the remnants of last fall’s lingering leaves strewn across your lawn, the peeling paint on the side of the garage or the rusty gate squeaking in the wind, you’re eager to get a move on and spring clean.

But What About Your Scrum?

It’s easy to notice the signs around your house that spring cleaning is a definite must. But, as you roll from Sprint to Sprint, it can get hard to see the signs right in front of you that, just like your garage, your Scrum needs some spring cleaning too. Your Scrum is getting bogged down, a little haggard around the edges and in need of some springtime love. To help you get a leg up on the cleaning, here are 3 signs to look for in your Scrum. Not so surprisingly, they all focus on the same Scrummy area that can collect a lot of dust and debris: The Product Backlog.

1. Your Sprint Planning Takes Forever

And you dread it. It’s like hours of your life you’ll never get back. Sure, the meeting has one basic goal: to create a list of Stories to be delivered in the next Sprint. And, yes, we realize that there are those Sprints when a full day of planning is necessary – especially if a Team is new to Scrum. But, that’s not what we’re talking about here. We mean the Sprint Planning that takes a full day of rather unfocused, unproductive and uninspiring time.

The Scrummy Spring Cleaning Solution: Better Backlog Refinement (Grooming). Backlog Refinement includes moving Stories from the Fridge, Freezer or InBox into the Back Burner and further refining them until they are Ready to go to Planning.

2. Your Product Backlog Is Way Too Long

Is reading through your Product Backlog like taking a journey back in time? Do you find yourself commenting, “Oh yah, I remember that feature. Remember when the customer thought it was really important and then they totally changed their mind?” Why is that feature still in the Product Backlog?

The Scrummy Spring Cleaning Solution: Simply put, if a feature is no longer wanted, it shouldn’t live in the Product Backlog. Remove it. Like now.

3. Your Product Backlog Has No Rhyme or Reason

You know that rake that you need right now to clean up the yard? The one you see buried in the dark crevasses of your garage, but to get to it you need to forcibly relocate unidentified boxes, mysterious garbage bags, and the occasional old tire? How frustrating is it that what you need right now isn’t ready for the picking. That’s no different than a Product Backlog that lacks order.

The Scrummy Spring Cleaning Solution: For each item, determine its value to help relatively prioritize the Product Backlog.

Now, roll up your sleeves and dig into some good ‘ol Scrum Spring Cleaning. You might get a little dirty in the process, but it’ll make for some very successful summer Sprints.

Looking for more expert tips on refreshing your Scrum? We’ve got coaching for that.

As Always, Stay Agile.