The Product Owner is accountable for the stories that are written and placed in the backlog. So, you might consider controlling who can write stories.
The key to managing the Product Backlog is a combination of communication, transparency and trust.
Make sure to take the time to establish forums to discuss priorities. See Prioritization and the Product Backlog.
Backlog grooming or refinement is the process of adding the detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog.
This is an ongoing process in which the Product Owner and the Development Team collaborate on the details of Product Backlog items. Remember INVEST the time to write quality stories.
Independent | Negotiable | Valuable | Estimable | Small | Testable
In the Scrum Master role for a Salesforce effort, I was approached with some concerns about the lack of detail for some of the stories. After speaking with the Product Owner, I realized that she had quite a bit of knowledge about the business process. However, the Product Owner was stuck on how to organize the stories so that they were manageable by the team. Since we were very close to an upcoming Sprint, I setup a meeting for the team to meet to discuss a couple of the stories.
In order for this to be a productive discussion, I asked her to bring materials to the meeting that would help the team understand the overall business process.
#nbdleaves: Don't spend more than 30 minutes putting together a high-level process flow.
Start with a very high level picture outlining the business goals.
During this discussion, we were able to review the expected outcomes as well. We found the need to make revisions to existing workflows. Some fields were reused or in some cases we needed to create new fields.
#nbdleaves: Agile Accelerator and Jira
both have the ability to identify the criteria for which the story will be accepted
As we used this activity for future sprints, it became known as a Showcase.
While these are very productive discussions, it is also time consuming and takes time away from development. The rule of thumb is take no more than 10% of the capacity of the Development Team. However, you should consider other administrative activities in that 10% such as department or division meetings. So, that makes that number even smaller.
Story elaboration should be done just-in-time. Ideally, it should occur just prior to the new sprint so the stories are fresh in everyone's mind.
Manage the backlog at regular intervals so that you know what's in it. Use the showcase sparingly and be prepared for Grooming.
The Scrum Guide
The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®) v3
Agile Extension to the BABOK®Guide Version 1.0