I would like to know if anyone is in a similar situation working as part of a SCRUM team -
The majority of our team are R&D staff, or academic research staff. We work in what might be called "bleeding edge" research areas, across multiple disciplines. Various (maybe all) members at some point have struggled with creating backlogs. The reason being is that because so much of what they do is unknown in advance, they generally end up doing a small piece of work, in which what must come next becomes clearer (multiple new stories per exploratory work), in which it makes sense to work on "what comes next" almost immediately i.e. not wait for the next 2 week sprint.
Give that the work our team undertake is not repetative, with iterations of unknown work that are required to be worked on "as they come", does anyone have any tips on how to plan a backlog multiple sprints in advance.
To give an example - one day a member of staff might run an experiment in a lab on some the effects of some radioactive material on a tissue sample, of which the results need to be intepretated. These stories can generally be written in advance no problem. But depending on the analysis, some theoretical work might need to be done to rethink the problem, further experiments might need to be done to confirm a finding (an easy win in terms of generating new stories), or altering the experiment format is necessary. It is often the case that new variables / methods / software / hardware / even the fundamental problem may change upon the initial anaylsis - which yes the intitial phase can happen over a mere few days so I'd say one fifth of the stories could be planned per sprint.
It's beginning to get really tough committing to even a one week sprint as we can't commit a week's worth of user stories. Any suggestions would be great.