Sprint Goal: do you have it?

  • Elena Rigamonti

My story with the Sprint Goal and what I learned recently.

My story with the Sprint Goal

Lately I am learning a lot, I admit it!
Some months ago I joined our internal Slack channel #ask-scrum. Together with Léo we create challenging Scrum related questions for the subscribers . All questions are based on the theory contained in the Scrum Guide. Therefore, I am reading the Scrum “Bible” over and over again. :-)

Once we asked “It is possible to add or remove Product Backlog Items from the Sprint Backlog within the Sprint?” The answer is yes! “Yes, the Development Team can renegotiate the scope with the Product Owner.
If the Development Team wants to renegotiate the scope, a Sprint Goal is needed. Otherwise it is hard to identify what is important and what is not. If the Development Team has a goal, they can add or remove some work to the Sprint, because it is beneficial to the Sprint Goal.
The Sprint Goal describes why the Development Team creates the Product Increment.
Together with stakeholders it is drafted during the Sprint Review, where Scrum Team talk about the next ToDos. It is official defined during the Sprint Planning and serves as the base for planning and every days work. Without the Sprint Goal the Development Team lacks a guidance and can’t reduce/increase the scope within the Sprint in a valuable way. The Sprint Goal is one of the key concepts of Scrum framework.

Does my Scrum Team has a Sprint Goal?

Why? Defining a Sprint Goal is not easy as Scrum itself; “Simple to understand, difficult to master”.
The product which my Scrum Team develops exists for a long time and as we are in the so called “maintenance” phase, we have a lot of small enhancements – apparently unrelated to each other. Additional our clients don't necessarily have a clear vision and roadmap for the product, which makes defining a detailed goal even harder.

My learning

So basically I said “Ok this is fine, we can survive without a Sprint Goal". But I was missing an important point. Actually the Scrum Guide says “...The Sprint Goal can be any other coherence that causes the Development Team to work together rather than on separate initiatives.” This means, it does not matter whether you have a well defined product roadmap or you work on several small unrelated enhancements. The Sprint Goal will always help to work together.

Work together is the success

Does it mean we don’t work together as a Scrum Team? No, of course we do, but it is much harder. Having a common goal simplifies our daily live.

The key of all the story is: without a Sprint Goal working together and implementing Scrum successfully is challenging. Let's define one!

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