My partner is a shopaholic, she loves nothing more than walking around shops for hours. One of the more distressing parts of the ‘shop’ is when she is faced with multiple choice and has to make a decision based on what would be best, often making a quick decision becomes a drawn out one.
An example would be stopping at a petrol station, asking the kids what they would like to snack on and then not being able to find the chosen snack for one of our children. At this moment the simple selection of a snack for our children becomes a nightmare when faced with the selection of 30+ choices of chocolate. Which snack do I buy? What type of chocolate is closest to the one requested? How big is the requested snack? etc… My partner will openly say that she would prefer to have a limited choice in which too choose from for our children.
Without upsetting my other half on her ability to make choices, I’d like to ask the question; Is an infinite choice select really best for your PO / PM? Or is it better to limit the options available for selection? As a team how much time is wasted defining stories for 30 chocolate bars (package design, chocolate content, etc…)? Is it prudent to limit the amount of choices available?
When I’m working with newly formed teams who have no Agile / Scrum experience I explain to them that the Product Backlog is like a wish list, so technically you could create a story that puts a pig on the moon. As a team progresses you quickly realise that creating ‘pointless’ stories has a cost; excessive backlog grooming. Create a intelligent, realistic deliverable / achievable product backlog, one that doesn’t take excessive time to manage. I always advise teams to keep ‘just enough’ user stories in the Product Backlog, enough for selection by the PM / PO and enough for the team to barter with.