Suggested Leadership Actions

Use these Inspect and Adapt activities to review and improve the requirements creation practices of your Agile teams.

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  • Review your teams’ approaches to requirements through the lens of upfront vs. just in time. What would you estimate is your “requirements spoilage rate” (percentage of requirements that are out of date or need to be redefined between the time you define them and the time you implement them)?

  • Are your teams using top-down or bottom-up approaches to elicit requirements? To what degree are you seeing the typical challenges described in this chapter for each of these approaches? Do the teams have plans in place to account for them?

  • Attend a backlog refinement session with the goal of understanding the status of the team’s backlog. Do they have enough requirements defined to support efficient sprint planning and efficient development work during their sprints?

  • Investigate whether your teams have a documented Definition of Ready and are using it.

  • Review the past sprint reviews and retrospectives and identify backlog items that could not be completed because of insufficient backlog refinement. Has the team taken actions to prevent that from happening in the future?


  • Take steps to create a Definition of Ready.

  • Take steps to ensure product backlog refinement is occurring in a timely way.

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