Too Many Goals In a Sprint

Goals in a typical Sprint:

  • One Sprint goal provides a focus.
  • Each backlog item is another smaller goal.
  • Each day a developer commits to a small task based goal for that day.

Plenty of goals. Unfortunately we’ve also adopted an idea of interim goals on our 30 day Sprints. The idea started out as a device to help teams new to Scrum make sure they didn’t set off on cruise control and then scramble at the end of the Sprint. The idea was with an interim goal the team would make sure to jump in and work hard right away.

I think the whole interim goal was an OK experiment, but I also think it might work just as well to do 2 week iterations. The point was to use them while teams got up to speed. After everyone is used to working within a Sprint they don’t serve much of a purpose.

Today on a project after we made the interim goal it was suggested that we have an interim interim goal between now and the end of the Sprint. Two of the developers bluntly said no and eventually the whole team shot the idea down. Their snappy comeback involved just asking how that was going to add value. This is always a good question.

The whole point of a self-managing, collocated team meeting in a standup to sync at least once a day is that if some coordination needs to happen it can take place ad-hoc. Creating a goal around it and taping it to the wall doesn’t add any value.