Grooming the backlog

Learn how to break down stories into smaller ones, re-prioritize stories in the backlog, and mark that stories are ready to be put into an iteration.

During this iteration planning meeting, it might become apparent that existing stories need to be broken down into smaller, more manageable stories. For example, we have a story in our backlog called, Create Initial Copy for an Email Blast. We know there are multiple steps to getting the story done, so we’ll need to break it down into several sub-stories. We do this by selecting the story and clicking the Break Down a Story button in the top toolbar. In the pop-up window that appears, we can create sub-stories. Let’s add hours here. 1. Research copy content. 2. Create initial copy. 3. Final copy. 4. Proofread copy. The top right-hand corner shows how many total story hours there are to divide among your sub-stories. Use that number to assign hours to your sub-stories so they add up to this total. In this case, we have 16 hours to divide between the four sub-stories, so we can assign those hours accordingly. Finally, the team needs to answer whether or not these sub-stories are ready for work to be done on them. We’ll say yes to all of them. Once you click Save, you’ll notice that the backlog has expanded to include the new stories you created and that the parent story is the original task we broke down. We can also groom our backlog stories to be in the right order based on priority and need. Highlight the story, or stories, that need to be moved according to priority. Drag and drop the highlighted stories to the correct location on the list. Make sure the view is set to backlog, or you won’t be able to move the stories.