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Should PO prioritize the Product Backlog before team members estimate each item?

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  • tinachenau
    Hi everyone, Hello!! I am a new Scrum Master and now I am with a 3-member Scrum team. First, I asked the Product Owner to define a Product Backlog. Second, I
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 25, 2008
      Hi everyone,

      Hello!!

      I am a new Scrum Master and now I am with a 3-member Scrum team.

      First, I asked the Product Owner to define a Product Backlog.

      Second, I asked the Product Owner to prioritize the Product Backlog.

      Then, I arranged an Estimation meeting to estimate each Product Backlog
      item. during the meeting, one team member who also has a Scrum Master
      certificate questioned me: I think from the training I've had before, I
      am pretty sure that you shouldn't have asked the Product Owner to
      prioritize the Prodcut Backlog before the estimate meeting.

      Have I done it right? Please help me.

      Shuang Chen.
    • Nina Niskanen
      Hello Shuang Chen, If the backlog is huge (IMHO spanning over two or three months of work), then it might be a good idea not to have the team estimate every
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 25, 2008
        Hello Shuang Chen,

        If the backlog is huge (IMHO spanning over two or three months of
        work), then it might be a good idea not to have the team estimate
        every single thing in the backlog before handing it over to the PO for
        prioritisation, after all, there is a very good possibility that some
        of them will never get done, because more important stuff will come
        in. The point about having the team do the estimates before
        prioritizing is that once the PO learns how much everything will cost
        them, they might want to change their minds on which is done first and
        they should be allowed the chance to do that.

        If you have a big backlog then just have the team estimate only a part
        of it the first time, probably prioritized, then have the PO look it
        over again, in case they want to change the order of things now that
        they know the cost. Your PO will probably want some team time allotted
        to them during sprints anyway, so you can continue the work of
        estimating the backlog during those sessions and the PO can keep
        prioritizing the backlog as they see fit.

        Nina

        2008/6/26 tinachenau <tinachenau@...>:
        > Hi everyone,
        >
        > Hello!!
        >
        > I am a new Scrum Master and now I am with a 3-member Scrum team.
        >
        > First, I asked the Product Owner to define a Product Backlog.
        >
        > Second, I asked the Product Owner to prioritize the Product Backlog.
        >
        > Then, I arranged an Estimation meeting to estimate each Product Backlog
        > item. during the meeting, one team member who also has a Scrum Master
        > certificate questioned me: I think from the training I've had before, I
        > am pretty sure that you shouldn't have asked the Product Owner to
        > prioritize the Prodcut Backlog before the estimate meeting.
        >
        > Have I done it right? Please help me.
        >
        > Shuang Chen.
        >
        >



        --
        I reject your reality and substitute my own.
      • peterstev
        Hello Shuang Chen, I second Nina s feedback and think your approach is almost certainly correct. Even if the list was short, it s a good exercise for the
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 25, 2008
          Hello Shuang Chen,

          I second Nina's feedback and think your approach is almost certainly correct. Even if the list was short, it's a good exercise for the product owner to start thinking about priorities.

          Preparing for my first sprint in my first Scrum project, we had many feature lists, bug lists, wish lists and absolutely no idea what was really important. So this first step was to define the total scope. I collected all the feature lists, wish lists and bug lists I could find, and sent them to the customer with instructions to consolidate and prioritize the list on a scale of 1 to 3. The consolidated list had over 100 entries, and the customer himself realized that the list of priority 1 items was so long that he had to introduce a Priority 0 to mark the items that were really important to him. This consolidated list became our product backlog.

          Our first estimation meeting we estimated all the Prio 0 item and a chunk of the Prio 1's. After three hours of estimated, we'd had enough ;-)

          I'm not sure if we ever implemented any "Priority 1" items. I don't think so, because a new project started after we got through the Prio 0's. (BTW you can read the whole story on my blog: Sprint Zero).

          Cheers,
          Peter

          Peter Stevens, CSM
          http://scrum-breakfast.blogspot.com
          http://fingerspell.sierra-charlie.com
          tel: +41 44 586 6450



          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Nina Niskanen" <nina.niskanen@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello Shuang Chen,
          >
          > If the backlog is huge (IMHO spanning over two or three months of
          > work), then it might be a good idea not to have the team estimate
          > every single thing in the backlog before handing it over to the PO for
          > prioritisation, after all, there is a very good possibility that some
          > of them will never get done, because more important stuff will come
          > in. The point about having the team do the estimates before
          > prioritizing is that once the PO learns how much everything will cost
          > them, they might want to change their minds on which is done first and
          > they should be allowed the chance to do that.
          >
          > If you have a big backlog then just have the team estimate only a part
          > of it the first time, probably prioritized, then have the PO look it
          > over again, in case they want to change the order of things now that
          > they know the cost. Your PO will probably want some team time allotted
          > to them during sprints anyway, so you can continue the work of
          > estimating the backlog during those sessions and the PO can keep
          > prioritizing the backlog as they see fit.
          >
          > Nina
          >
          > 2008/6/26 tinachenau tinachenau@...:
          > > Hi everyone,
          > >
          > > Hello!!
          > >
          > > I am a new Scrum Master and now I am with a 3-member Scrum team.
          > >
          > > First, I asked the Product Owner to define a Product Backlog.
          > >
          > > Second, I asked the Product Owner to prioritize the Product Backlog.
          > >
          > > Then, I arranged an Estimation meeting to estimate each Product Backlog
          > > item. during the meeting, one team member who also has a Scrum Master
          > > certificate questioned me: I think from the training I've had before, I
          > > am pretty sure that you shouldn't have asked the Product Owner to
          > > prioritize the Prodcut Backlog before the estimate meeting.
          > >
          > > Have I done it right? Please help me.
          > >
          > > Shuang Chen.
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          > --
          > I reject your reality and substitute my own.
          >
        • Bob Sarni
          Greetings Shuang Chen, You can take either approach - do not prioritize before estimating or prioritize before estimating. Many are taught that the backlog
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 30, 2008
            Greetings Shuang Chen,

            You can take either approach - do not prioritize before estimating or
            prioritize before estimating. Many are taught that the backlog should
            be estimated before prioritizing. I personally like to have the
            Product Owner take an initial attempt at prioritization, this could
            be a quick low effort attempt. As they do this, sometimes they find
            high priority stories that need more refinement before the team
            estimates them. After estimation, the Product Owner should revisit
            the prioritization because the estimates may provide more insight and
            may change they way they view some of the stories.

            Regards,

            Bob Sarni - Certified Scrum Coach
            Bsarni@...


            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "peterstev" <peterstev@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Hello Shuang Chen,
            >
            > I second Nina's feedback and think your approach is almost certainly
            > correct. Even if the list was short, it's a good exercise for the
            > product owner to start thinking about priorities.
            >
            > Preparing for my first sprint in my first Scrum project, we had many
            > feature lists, bug lists, wish lists and absolutely no idea what was
            > really important. So this first step was to define the total scope.
            I
            > collected all the feature lists, wish lists and bug lists I could
            find,
            > and sent them to the customer with instructions to consolidate and
            > prioritize the list on a scale of 1 to 3. The consolidated list had
            over
            > 100 entries, and the customer himself realized that the list of
            priority
            > 1 items was so long that he had to introduce a Priority 0 to mark
            the
            > items that were really important to him. This consolidated list
            became
            > our product backlog.
            >
            > Our first estimation meeting we estimated all the Prio 0 item and a
            > chunk of the Prio 1's. After three hours of estimated, we'd had
            enough
            > ;-)
            >
            > I'm not sure if we ever implemented any "Priority 1" items. I don't
            > think so, because a new project started after we got through the
            Prio
            > 0's. (BTW you can read the whole story on my blog: Sprint Zero
            > <http://scrum-breakfast.blogspot.com/2008/01/sprint-zero.html> ).
            >
            > Cheers,
            > Peter
            >
            > Peter Stevens, CSM
            > http://scrum-breakfast.blogspot.com
            > http://fingerspell.sierra-charlie.com
            > tel: +41 44 586 6450
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Nina Niskanen"
            > <nina.niskanen@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Hello Shuang Chen,
            > >
            > > If the backlog is huge (IMHO spanning over two or three months of
            > > work), then it might be a good idea not to have the team estimate
            > > every single thing in the backlog before handing it over to the
            PO for
            > > prioritisation, after all, there is a very good possibility that
            some
            > > of them will never get done, because more important stuff will
            come
            > > in. The point about having the team do the estimates before
            > > prioritizing is that once the PO learns how much everything will
            cost
            > > them, they might want to change their minds on which is done
            first and
            > > they should be allowed the chance to do that.
            > >
            > > If you have a big backlog then just have the team estimate only a
            part
            > > of it the first time, probably prioritized, then have the PO look
            it
            > > over again, in case they want to change the order of things now
            that
            > > they know the cost. Your PO will probably want some team time
            allotted
            > > to them during sprints anyway, so you can continue the work of
            > > estimating the backlog during those sessions and the PO can keep
            > > prioritizing the backlog as they see fit.
            > >
            > > Nina
            > >
            > > 2008/6/26 tinachenau tinachenau@:
            > > > Hi everyone,
            > > >
            > > > Hello!!
            > > >
            > > > I am a new Scrum Master and now I am with a 3-member Scrum team.
            > > >
            > > > First, I asked the Product Owner to define a Product Backlog.
            > > >
            > > > Second, I asked the Product Owner to prioritize the Product
            Backlog.
            > > >
            > > > Then, I arranged an Estimation meeting to estimate each Product
            > Backlog
            > > > item. during the meeting, one team member who also has a Scrum
            > Master
            > > > certificate questioned me: I think from the training I've had
            > before, I
            > > > am pretty sure that you shouldn't have asked the Product Owner
            to
            > > > prioritize the Prodcut Backlog before the estimate meeting.
            > > >
            > > > Have I done it right? Please help me.
            > > >
            > > > Shuang Chen.
            > > >
            > > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > --
            > > I reject your reality and substitute my own.
            > >
            >
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