Predominantly people choose the SMART criterion for a goal in the interest of getting it right. Yet find it hard to create a compelling goal with the intent of purpose! I came across an MIT research paper on “With Goals, FAST Beats SMART” which inspired me to pen down this article. It was worth read while exploring a way to create a laser focussed goal that supports Empiricism. It also served as an adept criterion to help the Scrum Team that I work with. I also found it very much compatible with the Scrum Framework. Let us explore and understand the significance of it.
Let us understand the characteristics of the Sprint Goal as stated in the Scrum Guide and its alignment with the FAST goal criterion further one after the other.
Frequently Discussed — Sprint Goal should not be like “Fire and Forget” and revisit at a later point. It must be frequently discussed by the Scrum Team to act as a guiding coalition. So that it enables any individual to inspect and adapt the progress within the Sprint on a daily basis. Also, it helps an individual to Focus on the work undertaken as a whole and self-organize.
The structure of the meeting is set by the Development Team and can be conducted in different ways if it focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal. — Scrum Guide 2017
The Development Team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and to inspect how progress is trending toward completing the work in the Sprint Backlog. — Scrum Guide 2017
Ambitious — Sprint Goal must be Ambitious serving the purpose behind the work carried out by the Scrum Team. It helps by inspiring and motivating them to aim and accomplish the work aligning with the increment. Also, it promotes “Courage” which is one of the Scrum values.
The increment is a step toward a vision or goal — Scrum Guide 2017
It provides guidance to the Development Team on why it is building the Increment. — Scrum Guide 2017
The Sprint Goal is an objective set for the Sprint that can be met through the implementation of Product Backlog. — Scrum Guide 2017
If you always hit 100% of your goals, you are not shooting high enough. — John Doerr
Specific — Sprint Goal must be specific so that it helps the team as follows,
- Guides the Scrum Team to identify the most valuable list of work items as an actionable plan.
- Enables the Scrum Team to focus in an objective manner and visualize the big picture of the product vision.
- Create the design of the whole system or the relevant component(s) required to build the increment in a creative manner.
- It provides flexibility for meaningful conversations among the Scrum Team members within the Sprint.
- It promotes “Focus” which is one of the Scrum values.
The selected Product Backlog items deliver one coherent function, which can be the Sprint Goal. — Scrum Guide 2017
The Sprint Goal can be any other coherence that causes the Development Team to work together rather than on separate initiatives. — Scrum Guide 2017
Each Sprint has a goal of what is to be built, a design and flexible plan that will guide building it, the work, and the resultant product increment. — Scrum Guide 2017
The Sprint Goal gives the Development Team some flexibility regarding the functionality implemented within the Sprint. — Scrum Guide 2017
Transparent — The Sprint Goal enables Transparency which is one of the core tenants that support Empiricism. It is also the foundation as depicted in the “House of Scrum” and paves the way to embrace the Scrum Framework successfully. It serves the purpose of Sprint which is to deliver a potentially releasable “Done” increment and it promotes “Openness” which is one of the Scrum values. It ensures not just visibility also a shared understanding of the work amongst everyone in a focused manner.
Transparency means not only visible but also understandable — Gunther Verheyen, Scrum — A Pocket Guide
Significant aspects of the process must be visible to those responsible for the outcome. — Scrum Guide 2017
Transparency requires those aspects be defined by a common standard so observers share a common understanding of what is being seen. — Scrum Guide 2017
Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team. — Scrum Guide 2017
Sprint Goal is like the “North Star” guiding the Scrum Team to empirically navigate through the complexity within a Sprint to achieve the Purpose. — Umar
I would like to conclude this article emphasizing any strategy and tactical ways of working chosen on and above the Scrum Framework must support Empiricism in some form or the other. Likewise, the Sprint Goal must enable inspection and adaptation of the purpose behind the work carried out by the Development Team throughout the Sprint in a transparent manner with the help of the FAST criterion explained above which leads to crafting an “Empirical Goal”.
Also, I am glad to share an excellent article written by our fellow Serious Scrum community writer Sjoerd Nijland about the Sprint Goal. I would recommend this article to our fellow readers as it provides deep insights into the Sprint Goal.