Readiness Rhythm

Preparing a well-formed product backlog representing the product vision and roadmap, containing estimated and prioritized user stories and other work items with enough detail to support planning for the next sprint. Gathering of all other material and information needed to carry out sprint planning.

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Product Backlog

Product Backlog
  • Owner: Product Owner
  • Contains all work items for product
  • User stories have INVEST qualities
  • Visible to team and stakeholder
  • DEEP:
    • Detailed appropriately
    • Estimated
    • Emergent
    • Prioritized
  • Reflects current goals

User Story Writing

User Story
  • Owner: Product Owner, Stakeholders
  • User role:
  • User story:
    • As a ROLE
    • I want FEATURE
    • So that BENEFIT
  • Acceptance criteria per story
    • Independent
    • Negotiable
    • Valuable
    • Estimated
    • Small
    • Testable

Backlog Grooming

Backlog Grooming
  • Owner: Scrum Team
  • Remove obsolete items
  • Add new items
  • Refactor existing items:
    • Eliminate dependencies
    • Split to reduce size
  • Update estimates as needed
  • Reprioritize
  • Provide enough detail for sprint planning


  • Owner: Scrum Team
  • Per backlog item by priority:
    • PO explains item and Scrum
    • Team discusses
    • Refactor as necessary
    • Review acceptance criteria
    • Team estimates all work required to complete, relative to other work items
    • Dev Team selects estimates without showing
    • Show estimates at same time
    • Discuss outlier estimates and repeat until converged

Planning Rhythm

Selecting work items for a slice of functionality — a potentially shippable product increment — for development during the next sprint.

Setting up visual controls for passive status reporting and early warning of issues during development.

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Sprint Backlog

Sprint Backlog
  • Owner: Dev Team
  • Set of work items for development during sprint
  • Commitment for development by Dev Team
  • Tasks for all user stories
  • Exclusive focus of Dev Team during sprint

Definition of DONE

Definition of DONE
  • Owner: Product Owner
  • All conditions that must be met for user story completion, such as:
    • Design
    • Coding and code review
    • Unit testing
    • Acceptance criteria met
    • Code checkin and integration
    • Load testing
    • User documentation
    • PO sign-off

Sprint Goal

Sprint Goal
  • Owner: Product Owner
  • Target for product development during sprint
  • Guiding focus for dev team

Sprint Planning

Sprint Planning
  • Owner: Scrum Master
  • PO sets sprint goal
  • Review definition of DONE
  • Consider product backlog items by priority:
    • Discuss, review acceptance criteria
    • Dev Team writes tasks for item
    • Dev Team decides whether to pull item to sprint backlog
    • Stop when commitment fails
    • Use velocity and capacity as gauges for commitment
  • Update visual controls:
    • Post sprint goal
    • Move sprint backlog to kanban board
    • Create burndown chart

Delivery Rhythm

Executing the sprint backlog to produce the potentially shippable product increment through self-organized team activity based in continuous communication, high quality standards, blocker removal, and incessant focus on high-velocity completion of work items to deliver value.

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Acceptance Test Driven Development

Acceptance Test Driven Development
  • Owner: Dev Team
  • Covers all work: design, coding, QA, etc
  • Self-organized approach
  • Joint responsibility for item completion
  • Cross-train to help teammates

Continuous Communications

Continuous Communications
  • Owner: Scrum Team
  • Maximize communication, minimize meeting time
  • Collaborate openly across functions
  • Provide early warning of issues
  • Share experiences with functional peers
  • Introduce outsiders to Scrum

Visual Control Updates

Visual Control Updates
  • Owner: Scrum Master
  • At least daily
  • Update burndown chart
  • Ensure kanban board reflects current status
  • Remove resolved blockers
  • Add new blockers


  • Owner: Scrum Master
  • Same time and place daily, 15 minute timebox
  • Invite silent observers
  • 3 standard questions:
    • What did you do since last time?
    • What will you do until next time?
    • What blockers stand in the way?
  • Offer and accept help
  • Spin out long conversations
  • List blockers

Validation Rhythm

Gathering feedback by demonstrating product increment to stakeholders and customers, and retrospecting as a team on sprint process and outcomes.

Incorporating these new learnings to improve processes and updating the product backlog.

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Potentially Shippable Product Increment

Potentially Shippable Product Increment
  • Owner: Product Owner
  • Software produced during sprint
  • Focus of review meeting
  • Implementation of sprint goal

Product Feedback and Improvements

Product Feedback and Improvements
  • Owner: Product Owner
  • Capture feedback for backlog grooming
  • Measure production impact of new releases
  • Prepare product changes for backlog grooming


  • Owner: Scrum Team
  • Scrum Team only – no visitors
  • Forum for self assessment
  • Gather data: blockers, defects, metrics, items of concern
  • Structured discussion: lean coffee, mad-sad-glad, start-stop-continue
  • Identify biggest issues
  • Apply Five Whys analysis
  • Select root causes to address


  • Owner: Product Owner
  • Invite stakeholders and customers
  • Minimize preparation time
  • Introduce sprint goal
  • Demonstrate software completed in sprint
  • Collect feedback