Exploring the Rock Crusher – Refinement

Refinement is an analysis and design process that shapes poorly formed rocks into well-formed rocks and splits larger abstract rocks into smaller, more concrete rocks. Refinement is, first and foremost, a learning process. It adds new knowledge and increases our understanding of the problem and potentially valuable solutions. Refinement may also involve progressively splitting larger rocks into smaller rocks until they are sufficiently right-sized for pulling through the thin pipe.

The Backlog Refinement Meeting

The classical backlog refinement meeting is an essential Rock Crusher ceremony. During a backlog refinement meeting, the team collaboratively analyzes and splits rocks. Backlog refinement with the Rock Crusher involves asking four questions about a rock:

  • How valuable is this rock?
  • How big is this rock?
  • Is this rock worth it?
  • How ready is this rock?

The answers to these questions help determine the rock’s priority, subsequent refinement needs, and the urgency of creating a well-formed and ready rock. The team may be able to refine many of the rocks during the refinement meeting itself. Other rocks may require significant investigation and analysis. The team may add crushers to the backlog to capture and manage this work. During the refinement meeting, the lessons from previous crushers are evaluated and used to guide subsequent refinement decisions and prioritization.