A recent Sprint goal on an intranet project went something like this:
To migrate most of the intranet content and train at least one content author from each division.
On this Sprint there were probably 8 or 9 actual product backlog items, but the main theme was apparent–moving content. The word most was used because given that we didn’t know the entire scope of the content we thought 50% plus was probably reasonable. As it turned out we were able to migrate 80% of the content within the Sprint. Still the idea is to set a goal and then leave yourself a bit of wiggle room. You really can’t predict how the next 30 days will go at the start of a Sprint.
Many product backlog items we signed up for were left out of the Sprint goal, but the theme that we had to move the content was clear. If you try to cram in too many backlog items into a goal statement you just end up with a long paragraph that no one can remember. It’s much easier to get behind a simple theme for the Sprint.
The theme idea also applies well to parties. Our oldest has had a theme birthday party each year from rubber ducks to a Hawaiian hula party. A Sprint that runs like a theme party complete with a pithy goal statement is off to a good start.