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Sprint Goal – An Important Essence Of Scrum

Certified Scrum Master, CSM Certification, CSM Training

Even after practicing scrum, do you still feel the gap between the teams? In scrum events do you hear more “I”s than “We”s? Team members are more focused on their performance. Is your daily scrum event all about working status, update meetings rather than discussing common goals? Then it may mean that you need to add an important essence known as Sprint Goal as you are practicing Scrum.

A Sprint Goal is a requisite abstract idea in the Scrum and it has a purpose of sprint and provides a common objective to the team. The Sprint Goal is an objective that will be fulfilled within the sprint by executing a Sprint Backlog.

Crafting the Sprint Goal

A successful Sprint Goal is crafted by the product owner, developers and Scrum Master.

Let’s see how a Sprint Goal get crafted:

  1. Priority of the product backlog items is decided by the product owner. The product owner raises the objective of the sprint during the sprint planning meeting and provides the backlog items that help in achieving the same objective. We can’t call it the final sprint objective as it needs to be reviewed by other departments.
  2. Then the developers decide the work plan accordingly. They create a work plan according to their strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities. They will decide how much more work is required to achieve the objective and also help in creating sprint increments.
  3. As a servant leader Scrum Master makes sure that the product owner and developers should come up with a good and realistic Sprint Goal during the sprint meeting.

Characteristics of a good Sprint Goal?

  1. Sprint Goal is a commitment for Sprint Backlog  – It is a way to measure progress towards the Sprint completion.
  2. A common Sprint Goal helps the team to work in one direction. Multiple objectives can create a hindrance to team collaboration.
  3. It is collaborative creation of the Scrum Team.
  4. The goal should be crafted while keeping in mind a few points like it should be SMART – specific, measurable, realistic, achievable and time-bound.
  5. The Sprint Goal should be concise to remember.
  6. Preferably Sprint Goal should not be equal to number of product backlog items taken in the sprint as this will give you the flexibillity to negotiate in case of changes
  7. Sprint Goal can never ever be changed only become Obselete (no longer worth to be achieved)
  8. Scrum Master should ensure that everyone in the team believes that as a team they will be able to achieve it together

Importance Of Sprint Goal

  1. The major purpose of a Sprint Goal is to give direction to the team. Without a Sprint Goal, sprint will become a deadline to achieve relevant backlog items. Sprint Goal gives purpose and shows a path to the developers and the product owner helps them to facilitate in achieving the sprint objective.
  2. Without a common objective or goal, team members are unable to collaborate. Without a Sprint Goal, they will work individually and sometimes on irrelevant backlog items.
  3. Sprint Goal forces product owners in prioritizing the backlog items for the sprint and also helps the team to identify relevant and important items. Sprint Goal enforces right behaviour of Product owner and makes them remove uncertainities.
  4. A Sprint Goal makes it easier to be communicated to Stake holders as without gettinginto details they understand what value they can expect from the completion of the sprint. Also, it is a great help for the stakeholders to identify if the sprint has completed its purpose and satisfied the current market conditions.
  5. Sprint Goal acts as an important factor for NEGOTIATION when chnages come during the sprint as it facilitates the working path for the scrum team and helps them in taking efficient decision making on the changes.

Challenge that you will face while drafting a Sprint Goal

Crafting a realistic and good Sprint Goal is not always an easy task. Here we will give you an idea about how to eliminate challenges and to draft a successful Sprint Goal.

  1. Alway remember Crafting a goal is an act of doing it and learning from your past goals on how to write it better. The more you do it the better a team becomes at it.
  2. Eliminate irrelevant items- with the help of the product owner try to coherent the important items from the backlog and draft the final list. It is advised to not include items that are not needed or related to the Sprint Goal.
  3. Too big Sprint Goal- a concise Sprint Goal will help the team to focus. While a big Sprint Goal will deviate from the team objective. e.g: “As a team we will get the top two payments methods integrated to the website i.e. Paytm & Netbanking”.
  4. Sometimes getting everyone on the same page can be difficult however a Scrum Master uses the facilitation skill to get consensus.

Where to show a Sprint Goal?

As we know Sprint Goal plays a major part in the scrum, so it should be visible to the team throughout the sprint in all scrum events. Write down a Sprint Goal in a place that everyone can see daily like on a wall in the daily sprint discussion room or on the central wall. It will help the team to talk about their journey towards the Sprint Goal.

If a scrum team uses JIRA or KANBAN to keep track of their daily scrum they can create a task with Sprint Goals and can keep records of their achievements with other items.

In the virtual world some teams write it on their email signature to make it visible.

Conclusion

A successful Sprint Goal stimulates motivation in the team. It will help the developers to understand the purpose and result of the work they are doing. A Sprint Goal acts as a blueprint for the scrum team on why it is working on the sprint.

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