Agile Software Development

The Importance of the Sprint Goal for the Success of Scrum

A sprint comprises backlog items. For many, those backlog items are enough information for teams to get down to work. But in an article for Scrum Alliance, Deepak Agnihotri insists that backlog items alone are not enough to accomplish the best work. For teams to deliver the best results, they must also be abiding by a designated sprint goal.

Always Have a Goal

A sprint goal provides the overall answer of why the given backlog items have been selected for inclusion in a sprint. It functions as a source of guidance for teams as they work in a sprint. Here is how Agnihotri says you can identify your sprint goal:

During the sprint planning meeting, the product owner (PO) defines the sprint objective, and the development team pulls those high-priority product backlog items (PBIs) into the sprint backlog, which are needed to meet the sprint objective. The product increment (PI) achieved through the completion of the core set of PBIs becomes the sprint goal for the development team. There may also be other high-priority PBIs that are incoherent with the overall sprint objective but are needed in the next PI. It is OK to include them in the sprint backlog, but these issues remain peripheral to the sprint goal.

There a few situations that inhibit easily identifying the sprint goal. One is where the team is stuck spending a sprint exclusively fixing defects and expanding testing coverage. Similarly, maybe there is a situation where backlog items mostly consist of maintenance issues. Or there is also a possibility that a product owner might ask the team to work on features that satisfy different stakeholders’ needs but do not necessarily add up to a clear goal in one sprint. If this last scenario arises, it could be possible that the product owner is making the wrong decisions, but it is just as likely that the product owner is dealing with very complicated pressures that do not yield clear-cut solutions.

For further thoughts on these ideas, you can view the original article here:

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