June 12, 2022

Reflections about Product Goal in Scrum

Product Goal

Why is the Product Goal important in Scrum?

What is a Goal? 

How do we know that we are getting closer to what we need to achieve?

Goal gives us purpose, direction, and alignment to foster collaboration.

  • Vision: I wanted to be a recognized Agile Coach or Scrum Master.
  • The Goal: Get the PSM certification in three months. This the first step toward our vision.
  • Possible activities or options: 
    • Read online articles
    • Read books with a group (aka book clubs)
    • Take PSM training from the experts

Product in Scrum

  • (Scrum Guide) “A product is a vehicle to deliver value.” Its boundary, stakeholders, and defined users or customers provide the WHY for the purpose of the teams.

Product Goal – Conscious Choice for the Team 

  • Having a Product Goal provides the information of “where we are going” to the teams. 
  • It provides the focus on the current objective, and it guides the teams in making conscious choices and in knowing how their decisions may support or hinder the progress towards the objective. 
  • The Goal: For example, for an Online Ecommerce, in 6 months we will be having the capability to allow the search of products
  • Benefits: Provides focus and direction, empower self-management and collaboration, transparency, inspection, and adaptation

Attributes of a good Product Goal (Example)

One at a time promotes focus

  • There may be multiple product objectives from long-term timeline to short-term to support its vision and strategy. 
  • At any point of time, the Product Goal should be a singular goal that provides the guidance and the focus the Scrum Teams need to plan against.

Measurable forecasted objective

  • We don’t use Product Goals to measure performance. It fosters inspection and adaptation to reduce the risks in getting there.
  • The Product Goal is a visionary goal that is specific/short, measurable and can be easily understood. 
  • The Product Goal enables the team members and key stakeholders to easily understand its vision and how the work they are doing contributes to it. 

What could happen to a Scrum Team without a Product Goal?

Where else would the focus land?

  • Goal provides focus. 
  • Without having a Product Goal in the Product Backlog, it becomes a list of items without focus.  The focus may become members doing their own task or the team focusing on individual items.
  • Lack of transparency in progress in the Scrum Team and with Stakeholders and customers. Their expectations and understanding of the future state of the product may not be aligned. 

Where is the flexibility to adjust accordingly? 

  • Product Goal provides flexibility to adapt Product Backlog from what we learnt from customers and the market. 
  • Without having a Product Goal, what should the team do when new information emerges? 

How is creativity encouraged? 

  • Product Goal enables and enhances creativity. 
  • Without the focus provided by the Product Goal, how can the team self-manage and identify creative alternatives to achieve the goal?
  • The opportunities for inviting bottom-up intelligence are lost. 
  • Promotes self-management and bottom-up intelligence

Authors. Scrum.org Trainers:

- Tony Lee: www.linkedin.com/in/chilinlee/

Scrim.org Profile: https://scrum.org/tony-lee

- Joel Francia H.: www.linkedin.com/in/joelfrancia/

Scrum.org Profile: www.scrum.org/joel-francia