sprint target / sprint backlog

Last post 05:41 pm July 9, 2019
by Daniel Wilhite
6 replies
06:07 am February 4, 2014

Hello everyone,

I am new to scrum and even though I was reading a lot, one of the things that is unclear to me is the relation between the sprint target and the sprint backlog.

I understand that the sprint target is formulated by the time in the sprint planning meeting, what I don't understand is whether it is defined through the backlog items picked? Or is it a more overall goal like "the software should perform better with added functionality in the areas .... " or are the finishing up ("done") of sprint backlog items the goal?

Thanks for helping out, even though for most of you this is a simple question.

07:50 am February 4, 2014

The Sprint Goal expresses the product value that the increment should deliver. The selected items should be sufficiently cohesive to make the release of an associated increment worthwhile.

04:37 pm July 8, 2019

I have a similar question... Sprint Goal is the target of development team or spring backlog?

Could someone help me understand?

07:58 pm July 8, 2019

Sprint Goal is the target of development team or spring backlog?

Short answer is both.

Sprint Goal is just that.  A goal for the Sprint that is accomplished by delivering a potentially releasable increment of value.  As such it is a goal for the Development Team and drives the creation of the Sprint Backlog. There should be enough stories pulled into the Sprint Backlog to accomplish the Sprint Goal.  As the Sprint progresses focus should rest on the potential of accomplishing the goal.

As has been said in may threads in this forum, there are differing opinions on the make up of the Sprint Backlog.  Do all the stories in the Sprint Backlog have to be related to the Sprint Goal?  I encourage you to work with your Scrum Team to determine the correct answer for your organization and team.  Read some of the other threads about Sprint Backlog and Sprint Goal to get a lot of opinions. 

04:22 am July 9, 2019

 Thanks, Daniel Wilhite for such detailed information. But recently I encountered this question in an online test. And these two ( Sprint Goal and Sprint backlog) were two options among four options. Other two options were not relevant, but these two look the probable answers and since question said only one answer is correct. So could you help me understand if you need to choose one of then which option would that be? Also, I want to know the answer based purely on the scrum guide. Could you help to let me know what would be the answer?

I thank you in advance.

Mohit Tyagi


03:12 pm July 9, 2019

To understand which of the two (Sprint Goal, Sprint Backlog) should be the focus of the Development Team, ask yourself which of the two determine the success of a sprint.   Also, ask yourself which item supports the other.

05:41 pm July 9, 2019

I really like @Timothy's question to your question. I used it to come up with my answer below. But before you read my answer, I suggest you look at his question and take time to come up with your own answer.  Go ahead, I'll wait for you to do that. 


<music plays in the background>


<several people talk quietly on the other side of the room>


<you finish your glass of water and reach your own answer>


Ok, since you have your own answer now, let me share mine with you. 

In the Scrum Guide section on Sprint Planning a subsection describes/explains the Sprint Goal. Reading that section I interpret that the primary audience of the Sprint Goal is the Development Team even though it is crafted by the Scrum Team.  It is used as a target for creating the Sprint Backlog, for directing the Development Team's focus during the Sprint, as a basis for all discussion that occurs at the Daily Scrum, as a measurement on whether a Sprint should be canceled.  So I say that the Spring Goal is the target of the Development Team and the Sprint Backlog is a means of reaching that target.