Goal setting is one of the main determinants of success in any project. Additionally, providing brief explanations of achievement targets before the beginning of any project can greatly impact the team and project outcomes. However, it can be challenging for team leaders and development teams to envision the advantages of having defined Sprint goals.

Here are 11 advantages of sprint goals:

  1. Allows goal tracking
  2. Easier priority setting
  3. Builds team cohesion
  4. Supports a product roadmap
  5. Clearer understanding of project aim
  6. Basis for product development
  7. Enhances product backlog cohesion
  8. Supports decision making
  9. Simplifies project evaluation
  10. Guides sprint planning
  11. Helps recruit new stakeholders

This article will go into further detail about all the advantages mentioned above. Let’s take a deeper look at how having defined sprint goals might help development teams achieve greater success.

1. Allows Goal Tracking

Having clearly defined sprint goals is critical for supporting project work, monitoring the status of the project, and evaluating the progress throughout the project. Creating defined sprint goals also provides a sound basis for the development team to track their progress and discuss any necessary changes needed in relation to their sprint goals.

The lack of clearly defined sprint goals can result in a great deal of ambiguity about what the development team is supposed to do, by when, and how. This can significantly undermine the quality and effectiveness of decision-making throughout the project because the development team is unsure of what they need to achieve for each sprint.

2. Easier Priority Setting

Having clearly defined sprint goals provides a vivid picture of the subsequent activities that need to be worked on. Accordingly, this makes it easy for the development team to set priorities in relation to what the next sprint is intended to achieve.

As explained by the experts at Gorilla Logic, one of the common challenges for development teams is having numerous deliverables or goals that they want to accomplish all at once. However, even with multiple objectives that need to be accomplished within a given period, some things need to hold higher priority.

Therefore, the clearly defined sprint goals allow the development team to stay aligned to the highest priorities and use this as a guide during the sprint cycle. Additionally, because of the improved ability to prioritize between competing goals, defined sprint goals also allow development teams to adjust their efforts in relation to the specific priorities.

3. Builds Team Cohesion

Development teams are made up of more than one person, and as such, a lack of team cohesion is akin to a group of people pulling in different directions. This is counterproductive and a key ingredient of product or project failure.

Having clearly defined sprint goals helps promote teamwork among these development teams. By creating a common goal, the team can work collectively towards a specific and measurable achievement.

The planning experts at Visual Paradigm reiterate that having clearly defined goals creates a shared vision for the development team. The sprint goal will essentially outline the desired outcome for the team before the development team begins work on the sprint. By focussing on this shared goal, the team works together, promoting team cohesion and also supporting teamwork.

This approach also allows the organization or specific team to derive benefits from the synergies created by the coordination and cooperation among the team members, which is associated with improved productivity and higher chances of success in meeting specific goals.

4. Supports a Product Roadmap

A clearly defined sprint goal not only benefits the development team but also enhances the ability of the product owner to create a detailed product map. By having clearly defined objectives, the product owner can better provide details for the product roadmap, including setting up the priorities, creating a direction, and setting the direction of the product over time.

At its core, a sprint goal entails a discussion between the product owners and the development team, where the team discusses with the product owner the goals they seek to accomplish during the sprint. By being involved in this process, the product owners are better able to add details to the product map, adjust some points, and support the development team by setting the priorities

5. Clearer Understanding of Project Aim

As aptly summarized by Consultancy.eu, stakeholders are often keen to push the project ahead. They tend to do this on multiple fronts instead of one unified and clearly defined objective.

Therefore, the project stakeholders are prone to put pressure on the development team, pushing and pulling them in multiple directions when there are not clearly defined sprint project goals.

A clearly defined sprint project goal can bring stakeholders on board. This is mainly because the stakeholders will be involved in the discussions for the sprint goals from the beginning, giving them a better understanding of the goals and making them a whole lot happier and more patient with the team.

At the same time, having clearly defined goals provides a good outlook of the goals and the set priorities determined to meet the specified objectives. This clear path to success limits the stakeholder involvement. Stakeholder’s don’t feel the need to apply unnecessary pressure to the team to push the project forward when they understand where the project is going and how.

The better the stakeholders understand what the goal of the project is and the specific priorities set to attain it, the less likely they are to interfere in the project.

6. Basis for Product Development

Every sprint cycle has its own set of priorities and objectives. Ensuring that these goals are clearly defined provides a sound basis for determining any incremental growth of value during the product development.

Each sprint goal is associated with a set of guidelines and priorities to move a product from one stage of development to the next. Therefore, each sprint goal should ideally have some kind of incremental development on the team’s project.

By having clearly defined goals, the project owner and development teams can better measure the incremental growth in the product from one sprint goal to the next. This makes it easier to assess the gradual value addition to the product as it moves from one sprint goal to the next.

7. Enhances Product Backlog Cohesion

As described by the project gurus at Premier Agile, the project owner is responsible for managing the project backlog. Accordingly, they will adjust the various items in the product backlog on a daily basis, making it easy for the development teams to select items for a particular sprint.

However, to optimize the development teams’ creativity, flexibility, and degree of productivity, it is essential to refine the product backlog and work towards building a greater degree of cohesion.

By reviewing the various items on the sprint project with the development team, the project owner can better assess and evaluate the included items to determine whether or not they are appropriate for the project and whether or not they are appropriately prioritized.

By meeting with the development team and setting clearly defined, specific, and measurable goals for the project, the project owner can promote better product backlog cohesion.

It is also worth noting that failure to have a cohesive product backlog can result in a large number of outdated items in the product backlog. In contrast, a well-developed and refined product backlog simplifies the entire team’s understanding of the items in the product catalog, enhancing product development efficiency.

8. Supports Decision Making

Having clearly defined sprint objectives supports better decision-making aligned to the project’s goals and the needs of the product owner. As previously stated, development teams often have numerous deliverables associated with the same product, and without proper direction, they can work towards different goals and undermine project success.

It is much easier to make sound judgments and decisions by comparing it to the project aim or the sprint goals objective. For instance, if the development team has a defined goal of meeting a particular milestone, they can better assess their level of progress against the set goals, which will affect the decisions they make in relation to the said goal.

Simply put, a clearly defined sprint goal creates a uniformity of purpose, and it is much easier to evaluate a project against one specified goal than numerous goals, whether or not they relate to the same Sprint cycle.

9. Simplifies Project Evaluation

The project owner typically has a significant stake in the project that the development team will be working on. Accordingly, they should be able to measure and evaluate the project to determine whether or not there is progress and make decisions based on project progress.

One of the major advantages of having clear objectives is that they help measure progress. Once the development team and the project owner decide on the sprint goals, the project owner is better positioned to evaluate the project success based on the project objectives accomplished once the sprint cycle is complete.

This limits the level of ambiguity as it relates to sprint’s goals and project success. This also limits resource wastage in terms of both the finances invested in the project and the number of man-hours dedicated to the project.

Admittedly, without clearly defined objectives, how would the project owner be able to evaluate the development team’s efforts to the project?

10. Guides Sprint Planning

Having clearly defined sprint goals helps clarify the overarching goal with each incremental aspect of the product under development. The sprint goals will clarify issues such as what the team is working towards, why the team is working on specific aspects of the product backlog, and whether or not the development team requires any support from the project owner or stakeholder.

Therefore, teams with clearly defined sprint goals benefit from a more coherent and cohesive approach to sprint planning. Because there will be different sprint cycles throughout product development, it becomes easy to plan for the different sprint cycles. This way, the development team, and the product owner are better able to set the long-term direction of the product development.

11. Helps Recruit New Stakeholders

Having clearly defined goals is also an excellent way to recruit new stakeholders to the project. The stakeholders are just as integral to the success of the project as the product owner and the product development team, and having clearly defined objectives can go a long way in attracting the right stakeholders to the project.

Clearly defined sprint goals are also a confidence booster to the stakeholders of the project, who are better able to provide meaningful feedback and get behind a project. A lack of clearly defined goals or setting unrealistic goals can ultimately waste the stakeholder’s time, which can negatively impact their willingness to participate in the discussions or project.

Therefore, if you are interested in attracting new stakeholders to your project, be sure to approach them with your detailed plan including all sprint goals so they know what they are supporting.

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