Why doesn't Scrum guide mandate the Sprint goal?

Last post 11:23 pm July 14, 2020
by Dibbha Iyer
9 replies
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12:08 am July 8, 2020

Why doesn't the Scrum guide mandate the Sprint Goal given it is key to the success of the Sprint and provides the much needed direction to bring value to the Product Increment?

01:06 am July 8, 2020

Why doesn't the Scrum guide mandate the Sprint Goal given it is key to the success of the Sprint and provides the much needed direction to bring value to the Product Increment?

What makes you think the Sprint Goal isn't needed? Consider how the Scrum Values would be affected if there is no Sprint Goal. Consider the impact on Transparency and the ability to Inspect & Adapt in the absence of a Sprint Goal.

04:35 am July 8, 2020

A follow-up question: What if Scrum Team cannot converge/agree to a common Sprint Goal within the timebox of the Sprint Planning?

As I understand, by the end of Topic 1, the ST should have the Sprint Goal in order to continue with Topic 2. And that SM ensures that timebox is respected and if he/she sees it getting deviated can make them aware. But there is no distribution of timebox for the two topic meetings.

05:51 am July 8, 2020

Why doesn't the Scrum guide mandate the Sprint Goal given it is key to the success of the Sprint and provides the much needed direction to bring value to the Product Increment?

The Scrum Guide says that Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and rules are immutable and that Scrum exists only in its entirety. What mandate are you looking for?

04:33 pm July 12, 2020

What makes you think the Sprint Goal isn't needed? Consider how the Scrum Values would be affected if there is no Sprint Goal. Consider the impact on Transparency and the ability to Inspect & Adapt in the absence of a Sprint Goal.

I guess I wasn't questioning the importance of a Sprint Goal. My question was more to do with understanding this statement - "Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and rules are immutable and that Scrum exists only in its entirety". Does the Scrum guide consider the presence of a Sprint goal to be a core to this framework just as its events, artifacts, roles and rules? Which means that the result isn't Scrum if Scrum team does not execute a Sprint without a Sprint goal? I have the same question for Scrum values as well. One may be using the Scrum framework with the roles in place, events being held, artifacts existing and rules being followed but without the Scrum values, none of these would make Scrum successful. 

I would think the Sprint goal and values should be immutable as well for Scrum to work in its entirety. I was wondering why Scrum guide does not specify these in this statement "Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and rules are immutable and that Scrum exists only in its entirety". Perhaps I have misunderstood the message hence seeking advice.

Should there be a question in the exam that asks if for Scrum to exist in its entirety, are Sprint goals and values mandatory (just like the roles, rules, events, artifacts), I was wondering what the answer should be.

05:27 pm July 12, 2020

I would argue a Sprint Goal is required, because the Sprint, Sprint Planning and Daily Scrum cannot exist as defined, unless there is a Sprint Goal.

In terms of the Scrum Values, it's much more open to interpretation; but it's a more challenging topic.
Having a Sprint Goal or not should be a binary decision, and it's therefore easy to identify if a core part of Scrum is missing; but who is to say how committed, courageous, focused, open and respectful everyone is? And should they be even more so?

Can Scrum exist with a team that is not courageous? I would say so, but then I would hope that team would see it as an area for continuous improvement.

09:54 pm July 12, 2020

I would argue a Sprint Goal is required, because the Sprint, Sprint Planning and Daily Scrum cannot exist as defined, unless there is a Sprint Goal.

Agree @Simon. So, in essence would it be appropriate to say that a Sprint Planning cannot proceed without a Sprint goal? 

12:53 am July 13, 2020

Agree @Simon. So, in essence would it be appropriate to say that a Sprint Planning cannot proceed without a Sprint goal? 

It would be better to state that the Sprint Goal (along with the Sprint Backlog and forecast) is considered an output of Sprint Planning. You might say that Sprint Planning might proceed a bit more smoothly if the Product Owner has an objective in mind for the Sprint, and an ordered Product Backlog refined, before the start of Sprint Planning.

And yes, the Sprint Goal is mentioned 27 times in the Scrum Guide and is required.

04:55 am July 13, 2020

Does the Scrum guide consider the presence of a Sprint goal to be a core to this framework just as its events, artifacts, roles and rules? Which means that the result isn't Scrum if Scrum team does not execute a Sprint without a Sprint goal? I have the same question for Scrum values as well. One may be using the Scrum framework with the roles in place, events being held, artifacts existing and rules being followed but without the Scrum values, none of these would make Scrum successful. 

I would think the Sprint goal and values should be immutable as well for Scrum to work in its entirety. I was wondering why Scrum guide does not specify these in this statement "Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and rules are immutable and that Scrum exists only in its entirety". Perhaps I have misunderstood the message hence seeking advice.

@Dibbha Iyer, What you ask is a very good question and I hope I can clarify it this way...

One of the roles in Scrum is the Scrum Master and this what the Scrum Guide says

The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. Scrum Masters do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values.

and

Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development;

then read these excerpts,

When the values of commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect are embodied and lived by the Scrum Team, the Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life and build trust for everyone. The Scrum Team members learn and explore those values as they work with the Scrum events, roles and artifacts.

Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming more proficient in living these five values.

Scrum is founded on empirical process control theory, or empiricism.

Three pillars uphold every implementation of empirical process control: transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

I also happenned to notice that you summarized that sentence regarding roles, events and rules being immutable into one sentence. The full excerpt is 

Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and rules are immutable and although implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum. Scrum exists only in its entirety and functions well as a container for other techniques, methodologies, and practices.

So yes, the events, artifacts and rules are immutable. What the next part says is that, you can implement parts of Scrum, like the roles, events and artifacts, or sometimes some of those (Scrumbut), but what results by doing a part of it is not Scrum.

Without empiricism, without the values.... the events, artifacts and rules will just be very mechanical, and it won't truly have meaning.

Therefore, empiricism (transparency, inspection and adaption), the Scrum Values, Sprint Goal and the Definition of Done are key components in Scrum Theory.

The Sprint Goal helps bring the Scrum Values to life, particularly, the values of focus and committment. It brings Transparency over the work undertaken for a Sprint and because of that the Scrum Team is able to Inspect & Adapt their progress towards achieving the Sprint Goal.

So, are you able to see the connection now and why the Sprint Goal is so important? 

Hope this helped.

 

 

11:23 pm July 14, 2020

Thanks everyone for the clarification.

@Steve Matthew - Thanks for connecting the dots within the Scrum guide.