The Liberators
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The Liberators

10 Powerful Questions to Create Better Sprint Goals

And what to do when these questions don’t really help

Without Sprint Goals, the goal then becomes to finish all the work on the Sprint Backlog. And since complex work is tough and unpredictable, this leaves no space teams to change their Sprint Backlog as needed. Illustration by Thea Schukken.

10 Powerful questions

  1. If we just canceled the next Sprint and went on vacation, what would be inevitably lost or become much harder later?
  2. What worry about our product is keeping you up at night? What can we build or test this Sprint to make you sleep a bit better?
  3. In terms of value and learning about what else is needed from us as a team, what is the worst way to spend the upcoming Sprint? What should we focus on this Sprint to prevent that?
  1. If we wouldn’t have another Sprint after this one because we ran out of money or time, what would be the one thing we’d still have to do in order to deliver at least some value?
  2. If we were paying for this Sprint with our own money, what work would give us the highest chance to get that money back?
  3. When we achieve this Sprint Goal, what has clearly changed or improved from the perspective of stakeholders?
  1. Which steps are required to achieve this Sprint Goal? Which are the least required or could we do without if we really have to?
  2. If we suddenly have half the team available and we can do only half the work required for the Sprint Goal, what should absolutely be in there in order for us to still be okay with the outcome? What can we let go of for now and return to later?
  3. If there’s an ‘AND’ in the Sprint Goal: Which would you naturally do first if you have to choose? What is irrevocably lost if we do that thing first, and the second thing in another Sprint?
  4. What would need to happen while working on this Sprint Goal that would be cause for celebration?

But wait! These don’t help me because …

Closing words

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Christiaan Verwijs

I liberate teams & organizations from de-humanizing, ineffective ways of organizing work. Passionate developer, organizational psychologist, and Scrum Master.