When Should You Estimate the backlog items?
Most scrum teams will get backlog estimations during the Sprint Refinement / Grooming meeting.
This is ok, actually its a great time to do it. You have all the members of the team together in one room; and it’s a good opportunity to break down backlog stories and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Some teams (and my preference too) is not to have the whole team at these events. Some teams have this as a one or two our meeting. I think its OK to do this but often its unnecessary to take the whole team. A third of half the team is probably sufficient. This way you can keep team member participation in meetings down (if you rotate attendants, or invite who you think has the best understanding in a particular area).
This meeting should be used as a kind of ‘check point’. It should be the opportunity for the Product Owner to fully understand the items at the top of the product backlog. Also flushing out some of the edge cases or more granular detail.
What About After The Stand Up?
I read an article that suggested a good time for them is to get estimates after the daily stand up.
Read more about the daily stand up here
They said that doing this after a daily stand up, a few days before the end of the sprint was the ‘sweet spot’ for them. They state that doing it this late there are not many new tasks being reviewed in the backlog, but it’s not that late that the Product Owner does not have time to act on new information provided by estimations.
Plus at this time, the whole team is together and they are already interrupted from what they are doing and available.
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