13 Alternative Workshops to Product Backlog Refinement meeting

Anca Onuta
6 min readApr 10, 2020
Alternative workshops to PBR — Mawia — Agile Coaching Lille

We all hate meetings. For me, we meet to get something out of it. Refining the backlog is an essential step in the scrum team predictability. I propose 12 workshops as an alternative to the PBR meeting.

#1. Together alone workshop. The full team meets to refine the backlog, but each one of the team members works separately on a specific topic. You can create groups of 2 people, but I strongly recommend each team member to work alone. The Product Owner will turn to all the team members to provide further clarification or to answer questions. Each team member will need to write the description and the acceptance criteria of the user stories. At the end of the workshop, the team comes back together. Each team member presents to his/her colleagues the user stories written, and together they make further adjustments, clarifications and estimate the user story.

#2. Spikes are a timebox used to research a particular topic. Estimated user stories are the output of the spike. It is best to do teams of 2 to the research on an item in detail. Spikes are about getting your hands into the code, not just analysis. Learn more about How Spikes help to Improve your Agile Product Delivery.

#3. Prototypes. The team selects a feature, and together they prototype the future solution. You can code it directly or use a dedicated prototype tool. At the end of the workshop, the Product Owner can invite five users to test the prototype. Based on the output, the PO can define after the user stories.

#4. Persona definition means going deep into knowing the user of your product. It involves identifying a real ideal user and understanding this person: what the person thinks…

Anca Onuta

🎯Agile Coach / Fractional COO📍Lille, France