Climbing towards better sprint goals!

Sprint goals are an important tool for describing the value a team is striving to deliver. Goals can be used to rally the team and to bring the energy of disparate individuals to bear on a specific business problem.  Despite the power of the tool, sprint goals are not universally created and when they are done they are not always well done. In order to guide positive behavior, framing sprint goals so they exhibit:  

  1. Unity of purpose – The sprint goal is a statement that brings individuals together by establishing purpose or aim.  Establishing unity of purpose provides a team with a story about why they exist and why they are striving for a goal.
  2. Focus – The goal statement tells the team and it’s stakeholders what business problem will be solved during the sprint.  
  3. Future-orientation – The sprint goal is a statement about the product owner’s vision (in conjunction with the team) about the needs of the product customers that can be solved in the next sprint.  This is a short-term prediction that will evolve for each subsequent sprint based on feedback from customers and input from the organization’s strategic vision.
  4. Value – Establishing the value of the work of the team reinforces unity of purpose and focus. In addition, value translates into importance which provides motivation for everyone involved in translating an idea into functionally that the business or customers are using. 
  5. Clarity- No legalistic mumbo jumbo.  Sprint goals need to be written in understandable business domain language that is established by the product owner and team.

Writing sprint goals while keeping the five attributes in mind will lead to more actionable goals and more valuable outcomes.  The product owner should craft an expression that unites a team and that shows the way forward in a tangible manner so that the team’s creativity can be unlocked to solve a specific business problem.