What are some examples of BAD Sprint Goals?

Last post 01:30 pm June 25, 2022
by Chuck Suscheck-PST
5 replies
11:11 pm June 15, 2022

I'm teaching a class tomorrow and the section I'm doing talks about good Sprint Goals.

Good Sprint Goals

It's easy to find examples of good Sprint Goals. I especially like Christian Verwijs article (external link) on the topic which includes things like:

  • Make product catalog manageable for our sales department
  • Allow users to order by using pre-paid credits
  • Translate user-facing sites and messages to the user’s language

But I also find learners can understand a topic deeper if they get bad examples of the thing they are learning as well.

Bad Sprint Goals

So, does anyone have any examples of bad, almost laughable, Sprint Goals that would help aspiring POs, Scrum Masters and Scrum Developers understand what the difference is between a well written Sprint Goal and a bad one?

bad icon wikipedia  commons

[Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons]

08:52 am June 16, 2022

Some that i've seen; (paraphrased without local context)

"Finish testing the stories from last sprint" 

"Release version x.x" 

"Create requirements document for xx feature" 

"Create API so other team can build some functionality"

I could probably come up with more if i had some time to think. I've seen some rough attempts at this over the years.

09:28 am June 16, 2022

In my experience the most common one is: "Our Sprint Goal is to complete everything on our Sprint Backlog" (unspoken rider: "with sanity and team membership intact"). This is very common for a reason and I find it is well worth exploring this matter with a class.

11:01 am June 16, 2022

The most common problems with Sprint Goals is:

  1. The are too big
  2. The are too vague
  3. They are not meaningful
  4. They are actually a micro-aggression
  5. They are subtly passive aggressive

Some examples of bad sprint goals?

  • We are going to implement feature x to get the manager off our back
  • We are going to fix the bug that Jeff causes in the last Sprint
  • We are going to do the things we didn't get to in the last Sprint
  • We are going to finally make this thing work



11:17 am June 16, 2022

Thanks @Michael, @Ian and @Cameron!

Always Be Nice!

I could totally see a frustrated team starting to create passive aggressive Sprint Goals. That's funny, but also a really good indicator that something is going wrong in terms of the Scrum Values.

I'm going to send my class to this link and Tweet this out and see if we can collect any other good examples of bad Scrum Goals on this page.

For now I'm turning the 'thumbs down' into a 'thumbs up' given all of your great ideas and help.

[Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons]

01:30 pm June 25, 2022

None of my teams make bad sprint goals  ;) 

While it's not answering your question, you can look at: https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/10-powerful-questions-create-better-sprint-goals

and craft goals that are opposite of this article.