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Wilco van Esch

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    Questions to ask during Refinement sessions

    Let's assume a common context of Story tickets in Jira being discussed in a Refinement session.

    What kind of input can you, as a member of the team, give to make this ceremony worth the time?

    If you can't surmise the answers to these questions from the ticket, ask them aloud:


    • What value will users get from this?
    • Is it worth the opportunity cost?
    • Is this an idea we want to prototype or a request from paying customers?

    Measuring success

    • After release, how will we know we achieved the expected value?
    • Will we beta test this change through a dark launch?


    • What does [unclear acceptance criterion] mean?
    • Could we rewrite [unclear acceptance criterion] as [better wording]?
    • Could we clarify [free text specifications] through a scenario outline table, through Gherkin DSL, and/or through representative examples (Specification by Example)?
    • Have we covered all relevant happy path scenarios?
    • Have we covered all relevant unhappy path scenarios?


    • If we tried to start this today:
      • would there be any dependencies or blockers?
      • would we need to complete any investigation (spike) first?
      • do we need any alignment with:
        • the support team who will write help centre articles for this?
        • the marketing team who will update marketing materials for this?
        • the translation team who will provide translations for this?
      • could we benefit from whiteboaring and deciding a technical solution?
      • would we have all supporting documentation (e.g. lofi UI/UX designs in combination with a UI component library) available?


    • To test this, do we need:
      • a special test environment and/or mocking solution for a third-party integration?
      • production-like test data which we do not currently have?
      • instrumentation which we do not currently have?
      • to provide the ability to change the application's state?
      • to expose one or more custom data attributes?
    • Which scenarios are we going to cover at the level of an isolated unit test, which at the level of a sociable unit, which at the level of an integration test, and which through a UI-level test?