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The Scrum Guide notes that refinement (as it pertains to the Product Backlog) is the act of breaking down and further defining items into smaller, more specific items. This is an ongoing activity to add details, such as a description, order, and size. Attributes often vary with the domain of work.

<aside> 💡 In project management terminology, breaking items into smaller items is called decomposing (as in a body decomposing and wasting away into smaller pieces).


How and Why does it need to be done?

There is no “it shall be done this way” rule in the refinement process. So, let’s make something up.

Refining (also known as grooming) your backlog is done in chunks. The process becomes more natural while going through each Product Backlog item to determine its priority. Those that become top priority will be reviewed and revised (refined) regularly until the Development Team agrees upon their acceptance criteria, design, and high-level implementation details.

The entire process is a learning adventure. The team will learn the requirements and how to work together to complete the refinement. In the end, it’s up to the Scrum Team to figure out how they want to refine their backlog items.

<aside> 💡 The refinement process is also done when turning Project Backlog items into Sprint Backlog items into User Stories and then into tasks.