Daily standups, acceptance criteria, user stories, retrospectives…am I right Agilists? In the day-to-day, it’s easy to just go through the motions. Remembering a reason behind one of these motions always brings a smile to my face. This takes us to the concept of the Sprint Goal. What is the Sprint Goal? In the first topic […]
In the day-to-day, it’s easy to just go through the motions. Remembering a reason behind one of these motions always brings a smile to my face. This takes us to the concept of the Sprint Goal.
In the first topic of Sprint Planning, the whole team collaborates on a Sprint Goal. The Sprint Goal spells out why the Sprint will be valuable to stakeholders. To make an analogy, if you think about a car with a dead battery, the customer’s goal may be a running vehicle that allows that person to drive to work. A technician who achieves that goal will satisfy the driver as long as the solution doesn’t break the bank or cause future headaches.
The Sprint Goal focuses the team by shaping the Sprint Planning agenda. The set of work the team outlined in the agenda should satisfy an overall goal once complete. In other words, what is the purpose of this Sprint?
I’ll cite a recent example from my current team. As we readied ourselves to start a Sprint, our Scrum Master pointed out that we had not picked a goal. We revisited the Sprint Backlog to see if there was a clear narrative. That exercise sparked a lively discussion, during which we decided to de-prioritize some items in favor of others as we honed in on one specific objective.
The Sprint Goal exists to inform the work the team will bring in during Sprint Planning. From that viewpoint, the way the above scenario unfolded was a bit backwards but we got there nonetheless. If we had cut corners and skipped coming up with a goal, we likely would have worked on items that were less valuable to our stakeholders.
All of Scrum’s events, roles, and artifacts have a built-in why behind the what. The same goes for the four values and twelve principles of Agile. Those why’s go a much longer way in motivating us to trust the process than the mindset of “because we’re Agile” or “because we have to”. The Sprint Goal helps us satisfy the customer. Additionally, it ensures we are building the right thing and not merely building some thing.
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