Refinement sessions as exploration getting to the 'how' via the 'what'


Refinements: extremely valuable in every phase of the process

Many customers come to rb2 with a request to solve their complex issues technologically and process-based. It is then essential that we understand the bare bones of the complex issue as quickly as possible. To put it bluntly: what are we going to build and how are we going to build it? Not entirely by chance, these are also the basic questions that are asked in the Scrum. To answer that question, we embraced a very effective process. It's not new or original, but it is effective. 

Refinements in optima forma: 

  1. We begin with some exploratory conversations to get to know each other better. 
  2. We carry out an initial brief inventory of the complex issue. 
  3. We take a deep dive into technological preconditions and possible solutions. 
  4. We hold several refinement sessions to come up with an initial rough outline of a backlog and to draw up a work process. 
  5. We carry out a POC (proof of collaboration) across 3-6 sprints to validate the work process while simultaneously delivering initial working increment(s) in software.

Refinements according to rb2

Steps 1 and 2 are very high up in the list and are intended for all sides to get to know each other. It is often said that this is a sales process. We then want to get stuck into a deep dive analysis. This is a refinement in which our architects and analysts listen to the question, provide feedback and freely spar about any constraints/requirements/goals and other conditions that a solution must or can meet. 

Over a series of refinement sessions, we carefully map out any other requirements regarding the Backlog. During these workshops, our technical consultants, architects and delivery managers closely communicate with the customer's key stakeholders. This way, we not only come up with the best technological solution, but we also look further into Epics & User Stories and we can work out the most effective way to collaborate. Steps 3 and 4 can either happen separately or together. 

The outcome of these sessions is brought together in a proof of collaboration. In this, we validate the first design of the architecture, Epics and Stories on the Backlog, as well as the (Agile) work process. This process gets the project off to a flying start and provides enough fuel to start an endless series of sprints. Here, we outline how we shape and continue to improve our Agile process within these sprints.