July 13, 2021
0 min read

How to define Sprint goals

How to define Sprint Goals.png

Agile teams organize their work into production cycles known as Sprints. The software development team, along with the Scrum Master and stakeholders set goals for each Sprint. They set these goals in special planning sessions, known as Sprint Planning Meetings. 

In Scrum, the Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Scrum team attend the Sprint Planning meeting.

During the meeting, the Product Owner describes high-priority features they will incorporate into the project. The team then examines the User Story to create a Task for the Sprint Backlog. They use precise technical language to describe what work they need to accomplish.

From the Sprint Planning Meeting the software development team aims to come away with the:

  • Sprint Goal

  • Sprint Backlog

More details on Sprint Backlog is in our "Sprint Backlog vs Product Backlog: most important differences" article.

So, what is a good Sprint goal?

A great Sprint goal describes a high-level objective for the Sprint about to be begun by the software development team.  The goal should give the team a long-term view of what the end product will look like. The Sprint goal should help focus the team on the goal of the current increment. The Sprint goal will also delineate what value the Sprint will provide to the Product Owner.

Effective Sprint goals share a few characteristics:

  • They help teams prioritize their work during the Sprint

  • They facilitate collaboration between team members

  • They channel stakeholder feedback

  • They help the Scrum team maintain focus

A good Sprint goal should do more than restate the User Story. The Sprint goal should explain the purpose and impact of the work they will undertake. Another part of the Sprint process, Sprint Reviews proves very effective for software development teams.

According to Scrum.org, teams use the  Sprint review to : 

“inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations. The Scrum Team presents the results of their work to key stakeholders and progress toward the Product Goal is discussed. During the event, the Scrum Team and stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint and what has changed in their environment. Based on this information, attendees collaborate on what to do next. “

Typically the Product Owner decides during the Sprint Review which goals the team can mark as achieved.

Savvy teams also take full advantage of Daily Scrum Meetings to help achieve their Sprint goals. The team uses the Daily Scrum Meeting to quickly assess their progress and possible roadblocks. Every member of the team should attend the daily scrum. The scrum master, product owner, developers and designers all attend. People outside the team may attend the meeting, but only as observers. People from outside the team do not act as active participants. In each daily scrum the team members answer three questions:

  1. What tasks did you complete yesterday?

  2. What tasks will you work on today?

  3. Do you foresee any roadblocks or issues that might slow you down?

Teams should stand during daily Scrum meetings. The team focuses on quick updates rather than deep diving into bottlenecks or problems. The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. To reduce complexity, it is held at the same time and place every working day of the Sprint. 

Each Scrum contains increments. Increments contain many items or goals from the product backlog. We call these Product Backlog items, or PBIs. PBIs can be new features, enhancements or bug fixes. PBIs make up the foundation of the Sprint. Teams use PBIs to map out their work.

Read more on PBIs here: Epic, Story, and Tasks in Agile.

Every software development team will have different goals. They will work with their stakeholder and the Product Owner to determine what goals prove the most important. Let’s examine some examples of helpful Sprint goals. In looking at these examples we learn how to determine our own best Sprint goals.

Say we want to launch a new e-commerce platform, starting with just a few items. Our Sprint goals  would look something like this:

Sprint 1

Wireframes and Database

In this Sprint the software development team sets up the basic structure. They build basic UX wireframes. The team will configure the server structure and set up a minimal database.

Sprint 2

API connections and Graphic Design

In this Sprint the team adds basic API components. API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs act as intermediaries between two applications. In our example, the software development team uses APIs to connect the shopping cart and map to our main application.

The UX designer adds visual elements to the wireframes. This fleshes out the designs and gives the developers concrete images to work with. 

Sprint 3

Testing and Feedback

In the third Sprint, our software development team focuses on making sure all our pieces work together. The team should make sure all the components function as required. The scrum master should help the team fix bottlenecks and solve any issues that arise. The stakeholders and Product Owner should make sure that the project meets their requirements.  The goal of this sprint should be a minimum viable product, our user testers should be able to add an item to their carts. 

What are the benefits of setting Sprint goals?

Setting Spring goals helps teams set priorities. It helps them work together. Sprint goals allow teams to communicate in a transparent way with stakeholders. Sprint goals also allow for effective feedback and communication between the Product Owner and the development team. Creating the right Sprint goal helps teams to resolve uncertainty. 

Here at Blocshop, we take our Sprint goals very seriously. We organize our teams using Agile and Scrum so that we deliver your project on time and under budget. If you’d like to learn more about how we use Sprint goals, please do get in touch!

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