Backlog Refinement Meeting Agenda

Backlog refinement meeting agenda template

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When I worked for a marketing agency, we switched to Agile project management and implemented it with Scrum. We did that in 2017, I worked through sprints until 2022 (when I left to start Buildremote), and the company still runs that way.

I’ve run a few backlog refinement meetings in my day (that’s not being facetious – I’ve only run a few, but more on that later). In this article, you’ll find a backlog refinement meeting agenda, and how/why we decided to cut out the backlog refinement meeting.

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Backlog Refinement Meeting Agenda

Purpose: To review items in the backlog to make sure the team is working on the right items toward the larger goal.


  • Frequency: Every other sprint (2, 4, or 6 weeks typically), or Adhoc
  • Duration: 45 minutes


  • Backlog Overview (15 minutes)
    • Review of the backlog for the next sprint few sprints
  • Discuss & Prioritize (20 minutes)
    • Which priorities could be removed?
    • Which user stories should be prioritized?
    • Are any important ones missing?
    • Put an estimation of effort on each backlog item
  • Next Steps (5 minutes)
    • What needs to be communicated to the team?

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See Also: 


Who attends Agile backlog refinement meetings?

  • says the Product Owner owner, developers/team, and appropriate stakeholders should be at this meeting.
  • Atlassian says the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and one representative of the development team should be there.

I lean toward the Atlassian way:

  • Product Owner: The owner of the product/project
  • Scrum Master: The driver
  • One Team Member: The worker

This will give you a good balance of all three levels of input – where things need to go, how to get there, and how it will be done.


Backlog Refinement vs. Retrospective vs. Sprint Review

There are five core meetings within the Scrum Methodology. Each is an important piece in the process, but you don’t necessarily have to hold all five as standalone, recurring meetings.

Three in particular – the backlog refinement meeting, the sprint retrospective meeting, and the sprint review meeting – seem particularly overlapping.

If you want to cut down on meetings, like we did, here’s what we ended up doing (and you could, too):

Combine “Sprint Planning” and “Sprint Review” into one meeting.

A sprint review meeting comes at the end of the sprint. A sprint planning meeting comes at the beginning of a sprint. Here’s the problem: those describe practically the same day. Plus, the sprint planning meeting already includes an agenda item to review the previous sprint.

Move the Backlog Refinement to adhoc.

I don’t think you need a recurring backlog refinement meeting. However, you occasionally do really need it.

That’s why I’d move this to as-needed.

Then, set a reminder to decide if you need a Backlog Refinement.

In your sprint retrospective agenda, add a quick discussion item: Do we need a Backlog Refinement this sprint?

Ask the Product Owner or a key team member to decide, then book the meeting if it’s called for.


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