Agile fallacies – the sprint goal

In the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on Scrum training material, some team behaviours and other articles. My mind sticks on the point of sprint goals and there is some disconnect between the various experiences that I have had.


The sprint goal is not the stories, tasks, defects, PBIs (whatever you choose) that are in the scope of the sprint. And we don’t commit to the stories either. We commit to the sprint goal. The sprint goal should be an expression of the value delivered in the sprint in simple terms – like advanced searching for property, link to Twitter and G+, etc. There is some rhyme behind the reason too…

If we commit to the stories, then

  • we miss the point of delivering what is really required
  • we focus on abstractions of value rather than value itself
  • we can’t create the concept of stretch
  • we *may* overextend ourselves

And for the love of your chosen deity, can we avoid the use of “the ability to…” type statements in the definition of the goal. Simple is simple, so let the language reflect it.

Boring retrospectives – part 13 : Helping Hands

Perfect “game” to play at the start of a project or whilst building up a team. Also a good reminder “game” after a sustained period as a team… great post 🙂


HandsWorking together is one of the most important success factors in an agile team.   Individual work will not be enough to deliver all the user stories before the sprint is finished.  Daily standups help to foster this communication, but it has to be a focus throughout the entire working day.

That’s why it is useful to focus on this principle once in a while during a retrospective.

Helping Hands is a useful exercise that gets people thinking about the objectives of their own role and how they can help others to reach theirs.

As a facilitator, you start by drawing a pivot table that contains all the different team roles. You explain that the team first needs to fill in the objectives of each role. Roles that are filled in by 1 person (such as PO and SM) can write their objectives down on the pivot table, others will have…

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