In recent years, the Scrum Guide 2020 mentioned that the Product Backlog needs to be committed to the Product Goal, the Sprint Backlog needs to be committed to the Sprint Goal and become an integral part of the Scrum framework. The Scrum Teams have started to take this more seriously and apply it in building their Products. But somewhere, there are a lot of Scrum Teams trying to apply but still having difficulties and struggling not to know how to build a good goal and help the product succeed.
Scrum Guide 2020 mentions Sprint Goal and Product Goal because Scrum Teams must have a Shared Goal. The Shared Goal is always essential, even though the Scrum Guide didn't say it before. Basically, the Common Goal helps the Scrum team become consciously Autonomous. Because Autonomy will lead to chaos if the group doesn't have a Shared Goal. (See picture below)
In this article, I would like to share the problems the Scrum Team usually faces when setting their goals and making plans not to be unified or linked to achieving a Common Goal. Thereby, I share with everyone a compact tool that makes it easier for you to define the valuable Share Goals.
Problems in goal setting
Goals do not bring value to the organization.
Any product must bring value to the organization that created it. Value can be revenue, reputation (If it is a non-profit product), or both. An organization will stop investing in that product if it doesn't add any value to the organization itself simply because that organization would not be able to exist. Do you think a product can last yearly but bring no value other than burning money invested?
Goals do not bring product value.
It sounds funny, but many products have not focused on building intrinsic values for themselves because of the pursuit of profit (maybe due to pressure from investors or customers). For example, because of the pressure to expand the market and increase sales, an e-commerce product called A focuses a lot on sales and marketing. Still, it lacks investment in making its system more stable when the number of users increases dramatically. No value for product leads to the fact that, although the number of people buying and using that e-commerce site A has overgrown, it still faces many difficulties when constantly overloaded because of the sudden increase in users (technical debts). That leads to a reduced shopping experience, and users leave soon after that, despite A spending a lot of money on promotions.
Goals do not bring value to users.
Goals do not bringing users value is the most common mistake in product development. Users are often the most neglected. Whether today, slogans like improving the user experience or focusing on users are always the catchphrase of products or services.
One common reason for user oblivion is that product teams confuse the product's value with the value to the user. Take the example of product A above: Building intrinsic value for the product, such as its ability to handle a spike in user numbers or a system architecture that makes the product easily expand or upgrade in the future. But it doesn't add any value to the user experience or solve the "current" problem for the user (in other words, it’s building things that the user doesn't need). When users are abandoned, they are likely to leave the product, and then, are the preparations for the system still valid?
Goals do not bring value to society.
When a product focuses only on revenue and forgets about its value to society, it will be difficult for that product to last long. You may succeed in having a product that is selling well, but what if the product itself brings negative value to society? Sooner or later, you will have to face that society will condemn the product itself if it does not change and ensure that social values are respected. For example, fast fashion brands (Zara and H&M) have been cult and profitable brands. But they have faced another wave of protests when creating a lot of waste that is difficult to recycle. These businesses have recently had many campaigns to change and bring value to society by reducing non-recyclable waste, recovering, reusing used materials, etc.
Goals do not bring value to each individual in the team.
The last point is that the people who directly make the product often forget. The Product developers, accidentally or intentionally, do not consider the individuals working to create a product or service as human. They are seen as cogs in an apparatus and are easily replaced.
But we are no longer in the industrial age. An individual's contribution is not limited to sweat and hard work but the creativity and divergent thinking that the individual possesses. Therefore, a successful product will have individuals wholeheartedly contribute with their skills and abilities. Each individual in the team will be motivated when they know the value of the effort they have contributed to that product, thereby receiving in return the value, and joy for themself.
For the above reasons, I realize that for a product to be successful, it needs a strategy and goals that meet all five angles:
- For Me: Does this goal make me proud to be part of the team? Am I interested in this goal?
- For Customer: Does this goal bring value or help the customer?
- For Product: Does this goal benefit the product? Or at least without damaging the product?
- For System: Will this goal help benefit the organization?
- For Social: Will this goal bring value to society? Or at least it doesn't harm society?
I created a tool called M.C.P.S.S: Me - Customer - Product - System - Social to help product development teams build a comprehensive Common Goal because it will help you create a goal that brings value to all parties.
Join your Scrum Team, answer these five questions above yourself, and set a goal that benefits each individual in the team, the user, the product, the company, and the society. Because only at that time you will have the Common Goal, and your product will have sustainable development steps.
If you want to learn more about how to build a product or build a business strategy for the product? Or how to become a Product Owner? You can check out Scrumviet Professional Scrum Product Owner courses here.