The Sprint Goal is an objective to be met by the Sprint through the implementation of part of the Product Backlog. It provides guidance to why we are dlivering our work, its focus, and contribution to the product.
If we have a Sprint Backlog, essentially the plan for the Sprint, why do we need a Sprint Goal?
Remember that knowledge work, such as software development, is complex. THis means we can’t plan plan perfectly for the unknown. When we create the Sprint Backlog, there is an expectation that work will emerge during the Sprint. Scope may need to be re-negotiated. The Sprint Goal helps provide focus on an objective we want to achieve and allows the flexibility to negotiate the work to achieve that objective.
Creating a clear Sprint Goal can be challenging for Scrum Teams. Here are four common problems with Sprint Goals and a few tips for improving them.
When we have compound Sprint Goals (e.g. achieve X and Y and Z), we are splitting focus and not allowing much flexibility. Here are a few reasons we end up in this situation and suggestions for how to think differently.
When we get to the end of a Sprint, is the entire team in agreement on whether or not the Sprint Goal has been achieved? If not, the Sprint Goal may be too vague. Here are a few tips for creating more clear Sprint Goals.
Here are some examples of unclear Sprint Goals and modifications to make them clearer.
Unclear Sprint GoalClearer Sprint Goal
Enhance shopping cart functionality.Streamline purchasing process to enable an increase in conversion rates.
Improve performance.Increase page load time by X%.
On-board new market segment.Enable new market segment to purchase Service Y.
Remember we have to actually pay attention to it to help provide focus.
A word of caution: achieving a Sprint Goal is pass/ fail. There is no such thing as 85% achieved.
A Sprint Goal is supposed to provide purpose. It helps the team know why they are building the Increment. People want to do meaningful work. People want to do work that has an impact. This is a driver for intrinsic motivation. Lets think about ways to make Sprint Goals more meaningful to the people who are building the product.
In summary, a good Sprint Goal:
Ockerman, S. (2016) Getting to Done: Creating Good Sprint Goals. Online at: https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/getting-done-creating-good-sprint-goals
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