Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

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#62: Effective Sprint Goals with Maarten Dalmijn

August 23, 2023     31 minutes

In this new episode of the Agile Mentors Podcast, Brian welcomes Maarten Dalmijn to discuss the secrets to setting impactful sprint goals, fostering collaboration, and bridging the gap between team objectives and stakeholder expectations for Agile success.


In this new episode of the Agile Mentors Podcast, Brian is joined by Maarten Dalmijn, author of the new book, Driving Value with Sprint Goals: Humble Plans, Exceptional Results to share his invaluable insights into the art of crafting effective sprint goals.

Maarten shares his wealth of knowledge including how to navigate the challenges of setting sprint goals while ensuring alignment with stakeholders' expectation, and optimizing team structure while fostering a collaborative environment that ensures success.

Listen in as Maarten and Brian explore the essence of sprint goals, the strategies behind their formulation and the impact they have on Agile projects.

Listen Now to Discover:

[1:06] - Today, Brian is sitting down with Maarten Dalmijn, of Dalmijn Consulting and author the book Driving Value with Sprint Goals: Humble Plans, Exceptional Results that’s the number one new release in software design and engineering on on Amazon to discuss sprint goals.
[2:16] - Maarten explains the concept of sprint goals using the analogy of a military commander's intent during missions.
[3:22] - Brian shares how sprint goals serve as a commander's intent for the team's work.
[4:07] - Maarten highlights that a sprint goal is not about completing a list of tasks but rather identifying the most important objective for the sprint.
[5:24] - The challenges of conceptualizing sprint goals.
[5:58] - Unable to set a single spring goal? Maarten addresses the question of setting a sprint goal for teams with multiple purposes or projects.
[7:29] - Scenarios where setting a single sprint goal might not be feasible.
[8:31] -The challenge of staying focused on the sprint goal when encountering obstacles.
[9:44] - Maarten shares an example of the importance of knowing the underlying business objective when setting a spring goal.
[11:08] - The importance of managing stakeholder expectations by communicating and aligning stakeholders with the sprint goal to prevent last minute surprises.
[12:19] - Brian draws a parallel between sprint goals and TV episode titles, highlighting the need to share the sprint goal in the sprint review to prevent surprises and encourage stakeholder engagement.
[15:28] - Are you thinking about getting certified as a Scrum Master? If so, check out the resources and training options with our sponsor, Mountain Goat Software. They run interactive certification classes every week that include 12 months membership in the Agile Mentors Community.
[16:10] - Setting achievable vs. challenging sprint goals and what Maarten advocates for.
[19:46] - Brian shares a teaching example.
[20:12] - Maarten introduces the acronym "FOCUS" to assess the quality of sprint goals: Fun, Outcome-oriented, Collaborative, Ultimate, and Singular and shares each one’s role in creating effective sprint goals.
[22:12] - Maarten discusses the importance of stakeholder management and its connection to clear vision and strategy within organizations.
[22:47] -The role of team structure in setting sprint goals.
[24:17] - Managing stakeholder pushback during sprint reviews. Maarten underscores the importance of working as a team with stakeholders to foster effective communication and alignment.
[26:50] - The impact of planning and road mapping on the ability to set sprint goals.
[28:21] - What stakeholders ultimately want.
[29:18] - You can find Maarten’s book, Driving Value with Sprint Goals: Humble Plans, Exceptional Results on Amazon. It’s part of the Mike Cohn book series.
[29:50] - To continue the discussion, Join Us in the Agile Mentors Community, there’s a discussion about every episode of the podcast on there.
[30:30] - Your feedback is valuable, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to email us by clicking here. We'd love your thoughts about today's show and suggestions for future episodes.
[31:04] - If you enjoyed the episode, the best way to support us is to share it with others and subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Dalmijn Consulting
Maarten Dalmijn
Driving Value with Sprint Goals: Humble Plans, Exceptional Results
Certified Scrum Master Training and Scrum Certification
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is the SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He's passionate about making a difference in people's day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Maarten Dalmijn of Dalmijn Consulting is an accomplished speaker at Fortune 500 firms, governmental bodies, and global conferences, who thrives at the nexus of Product Management and Agile. With a decade of versatile experience spanning roles from Marketing Manager to Scrum Master, he empowers teams to transcend the Feature Factory and achieve impactful value delivery. Maarten is the author of the recently released Driving Value with Sprint Goals: Humble Plans, Exceptional Results.