Sprint Goal for a Scrum team working on 4-5 different objectives each Sprint

Last post 11:53 am January 18, 2022
by Soumyadeep Mishra
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11:43 am January 17, 2022

Dear all,

I know it may sound like an often asked question around Sprint Goals, but I (Scrum Master) really am finding it difficult to discuss with my team about a 'unifying' Sprint Goal that ties all the 4-5 different objectives we work on during each Sprint.

The Agile Coaches in my organization always asks about having Sprint Goals for each Sprint and basing discussions during Daily Standups on the basis of whether progress has been made with respect to our Sprint Goal or not. However, my team works in 4-5 different objectives each Sprint and it becomes very difficult for us to come up with a Sprint Goal tying all of them together. The one futile attempt when we took, it resulted in a 'bullet-wise' Sprint Goal which was not looking like a 'goal' at all but a combination of several goals.

My question would be - would it make sense if we have bulleted Sprint Goals and base our discussions in the Scrum events on the basis of that or its prudent always to have a one single, all-encompassing goal? In case of the former, how would it unify the team together for a common cause for a Sprint and to help each other if any of the aspect of the goal is lagging behind/ facing impediments?

12:31 pm January 17, 2022

With 4-5 different objectives pulling folk in separate directions, do you really have a team at all?

If there is some sort team, why are they deciding to take on so many objectives, rather than putting their collective focus on one?

12:36 pm January 17, 2022

Are all of these objectives related to the same product? 

The Sprint Goal should be in alignment with the Product Owners current Product Goal and what sort of value to PO wishes to have in the next increment(s) depending on how many increments usually get created each sprint. 

PBIs should then be selected from the Product Backlog based on the SG. 

 

12:48 pm January 17, 2022

You don't need to unify all of these objectives into a singular Sprint Goal. Instead, think about the singular most important thing to achieve within the Sprint timebox and make that your Sprint Goal. Perhaps you can unify a couple of these objectives into a Sprint Goal or perhaps you need to choose one. Either way, there should be something that is more important than anything else. This will help the team make informed decisions on what work to prioritize and what feedback to seek out if, during the course of the Sprint, they realize that they can't achieve the scope of work. The team can self-organize around the Sprint Goal and be able to deliver that commitment to the stakeholders at the end of the Sprint.

It's also important to realize that not every Product Backlog Item selected by the team needs to relate to the Sprint Goal. The team may have a capacity of N for the Sprint, but achieving the Sprint Goal may be done by completing a subset of Product Backlog Items of size M such that M < N (where M and N are in the same units - items, points, hours, etc.). At Sprint Planning, the team may decide to pull in a set of Product Backlog Items of size N so it's clear what they believe they can achieve and will try to achieve, but it's more important to meet the Sprint Goal instead of completing the Sprint Backlog.

11:39 am January 18, 2022

Thanks for your response @Ian Mitchell!

This is a valid point that instead of being part of a single team, they're pulled into different directions with respect to the work being undertaken each Sprint. This is basically because of the nature of the product we're dealing with where the team needs to work on analytical capabilities with respect to different KPIs on a Dashboard. So team members picks up different KPI areas and work on those based upon the current set of priorities discussed.

11:42 am January 18, 2022

Are all of these objectives related to the same product? 

Thanks for your response @Scott Anthony Keatinge! They're indeed part of the same Product and are part of the overall Product Goal team is working on!

11:53 am January 18, 2022

You don't need to unify all of these objectives into a singular Sprint Goal. Instead, think about the singular most important thing to achieve within the Sprint timebox and make that your Sprint Goal. Perhaps you can unify a couple of these objectives into a Sprint Goal or perhaps you need to choose one.

Thanks a lot for your response @Thomas Owens!

This really is very helpful and worth giving a try! We'll try to create a Sprint Goal based around the 'singular most important thing to achieve in the Sprint'!