What is a Product Goal?
The Product Goal Commitment
In the Scrum Guide, each Scrum artifact (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Increment) has an associated commitment which provides information to enhance transparency and focus against which progress can be measured. The commitments solidify the accountabilities of the Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developers. The commitment of the Product Backlog is the Product Goal.
In a nutshell, the Product Goal provides context to the Product Backlog. The Product Goal describes a future state of the product which can serve as a target for the Scrum Team to plan against. The Product Goal is the long-term objective for the Scrum Team. The Product Backlog Items define what will fulfill the Product Goal as the Scrum Team learns more about how to achieve the goal while working each Sprint. The Product Goal is therefore a simple directional statement that provides context and purpose (of the work) for the Scrum Team and its stakeholders.
The Product Goal should be made visible to everyone through the Product Backlog and the Product Owner is accountable for the creating and communicating the Product Goal.
Product Goal Characteristics
The Product Backlog evolves over time as the Scrum Team learns both in how they work and the work that they are doing to achieve the Product Goal. They learn from feedback along with how they are building the product. There is only one Product Goal for the Product Backlog at any given time. The Product Goal should be clear and concise. As each Increment is produced, the Product moves toward the Product Goal by achieving each Sprint Goal along the way. The Product Goal is made transparent in the Product Backlog in the same way that the Sprint Goal is made transparent in the Sprint Backlog.
During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team and any invited stakeholders and/or customers will inspect the Increment and progress made toward the Product Goal. This encourages Sprint Reviews to put some context around their findings and ask questions about how much progress has been made toward the Product Goal. These findings influence Sprint Planning as they can help create focus and form decisions about the next Sprint.