Scrum sprint goal
“The problem with specifying the method along with the goal is one of diminished control. Provide your people with the objective and let them figure out the method.”

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What is a Sprint Goal?

A Sprint Goal defines the desired outcome after the Sprint. It sets the theme for the Sprint, and ensures that everybody understands what value will be added to the product in the current sprint. Example Sprint Goals are:

  • A website visitor can view products
  • A website visitor can order a product
  • A website visitor can pay with Visa

Some examples of bad Sprint Goals are:

  • Implement product template 
  • Configure checkout page
  • Implement Visa API

You can clearly see the difference between the first three Sprint Goals and the last three goals. The first Sprint Goals are formulated from the end user perspective and focus on the outcome, and they state the added value. The latter three “Sprint Goals” are formulated from implementation point of view and don’t clarify what the added value will be at all. “Implement product template” has no value to the end user, the added value will be that the user has the ability to view the products on the website.

Why do we need a Sprint Goal?

Clarity, alignment and focus. Good Sprint Goals arise from the Product Vision and make it very clear what value will be added to the product within the Sprint. By reading the Sprint Goal, everybody on the Scrum Team and every stakeholder should understand the added value of the Sprint. Having a good Sprint Goal will also motivates the Development Team as they will clearly know why they are doing the Sprint. A good Sprint Goal also creates focus within the team because everybody knows what they are working towards.

A Sprint Goal should focus on the end result, and not on the way to get there. This means that the Development Team can decide what’s the best way to get there, which aligns with the self-organizing principles in Scrum. 

How to create a good Sprint Goal

Use the following tips to create good Sprint Goals:

  • Start from the Product Vision
  • Define your Sprint Goal from the end user perspective
  • Keep your Sprint Goal short, it should not cover every little detail that’s on the Sprint Backlog
  • Focus on the outcome, and not on the way to get there. Give the development team the freedom to decide the best way to get there.
  • Limit your sprint to one Sprint Goal. Having multiple Sprint Goals decreases the focus.
  • Create the Sprint Goal together with the entire Scrum Team. The Product Owner should come with a proposal, but the entire team should collaborate on the result.

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