Story Time Meetings

Keeping you backlog in order doesn’t tend to happen in isolation. My past experience is the backlog drifts because of a concentration on completing day to day Sprint tasks. You can tell when the backlog has drifted, the planning meeting goes long. Kane Mar suggests an approach of using a Story Time meeting.

A Story Time meeting should be held at the same time and location every single week and involve the entire team, including the Product Owner and ScrumMaster. The sole intention of these weekly meetings is to work through the backlog in preparation for future work. This may include adding new stories and epics, splitting up overly large stories, and sizing.

At my past company this often came up as an issue since backlog items wouldn’t get estimated or explored much until the Sprint planning meeting. The idea is to have the product owner keep up with these items and follow up with people to get estimates as new items show up. In practice that just didn’t happen.

I like the idea of blocking out time to make sure it gets done and it helps ensure the planning meeting is smoother and over sooner. You wouldn’t need to use it with every team since some teams are just naturally better at making the time to keep the backlog in good shape.