Aligning Sprint Goals with customer outcomes
Aligning Sprint Goals with customer outcomes means stating the goal in terms of reducing a satisfaction gap, which is the difference between a customer’s current experience and their desired experience. A Scrum Team reduces a satisfaction gap by improving a specific and measurable customer outcome. Setting a Sprint Goal to deliver a specific outcome helps them focus on things that customers find important.
Expressing the Sprint Goal in terms of customer outcomes makes them tangible, measurable and meaningful. It helps the team to develop empathy with the customer by making them aware of the impact of their work on customer experiences.
One way to improve Sprint Goals is to frame them as experiments. Sprint Goals are often expressed as “deliver Feature [x]”. Delivering Feature [x] is important, but this format misses the “why”, and the “how will we know if Feature [x] is valuable?” Adding this information will help to improve the Sprint Goal.
Consider the following example template:
Our Sprint Goal is to deliver [some new capability] because we think that doing so will improve [one or more customer or user outcomes] of [some set of users or customers]. We will know if doing so achieves this if we see [some improvement in measurement].
This is just one way to express a Sprint Goal, not a prescription. The important thing about the Sprint Goal is that it ties to capability being delivered to a hypothesis about value that can be verified through measurement.
Consider each Sprint Goal as an expression of a hypothesis about value where the Scrum Team believes that if they achieve the Sprint Goal, customers will experience an improvement in the outcomes they experience.