So what are we doing? Sprint Goals

I made a mistake earlier this week. I was in a product owner team meeting and the question came up “what is the goal of our current sprint?”  Nobody knew. Not the developers, not engineering management, not the product owner, not the scrum master. So I put the product owner/manager on the spot, and we all fumbled around for a minute or two, and we did eventually derive a clear goal for the sprint. I knew that something was wrong.

I’ve been reading the Scrum Guide on a daily basis now. Whether this is a highlight of life or a sorry statement isn’t clear, but it’s at least very educational. The section on sprint planning had this statement on the sprint goal.

After the Development Team forecasts the Product Backlog items it will deliver in the Sprint, the Scrum Team crafts a Sprint Goal. The Sprint Goal is an objective that will be met within the Sprint through the implementation of the Product Backlog, and it provides guidance to the Development Team on why it is building the Increment.

My mistake was holding the product owner responsible for stating the sprint goal. I should have held the full team accountable for this. That doesn’t let the product owner off the hook… it just adds everyone else.

It is important to come out of the sprint planning with a committed set stories and a sprint goal. The team will craft the sprint goal in our next sprint planning meeting.

I have a few concrete suggestions:

  • The board that has the sprint burndown should have the sprint goal written on it as well.
  • When we do the standup, the sprint goal should be displayed on the screen along with the burndown chart, since the standup is not where the whiteboard is.

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