Lengthy Sprint Goals

I’m not sure why, but as an organization we often have wordy Sprint goals that take up half a page and include all sorts of obvious qualifiers like “will be deployed and tested to QA with no serious defects.” The backlog items are squeezed into tortured sentences and stuck up somewhere in the team room. These sort of goals are ineffective. No one can remember them. Have a goal like “Have the CEO order a new widget” are a lot easier to get behind.

A developer reminded me of a good rule of thumb from Scrum and XP from the Trenches by Henrik Kniberg:

The sprint goal should answer the fundamental question “Why are we doing this sprint? Why don’t we all just go on vacation instead?”. In fact, one way to wheedle a sprint goal out of the product owner is to literally ask that question.