A recent question about sprint goals got me thinking about the lean startup concept known as “validated learning” and how something like this applies to agile projects. Eric Ries describes the concept of validated learning as:
“not after-the-fact rationalization or a good story designed to hide failure. It is a rigorous method for demonstrating progress when one is embedded in the soil of extreme uncertainty in which startups grow. Validated learning is the process of demonstrating empirically that a team has discovered valuable truths about a startup’s present and future business prospects.”
Ries, Eric (2011-09-13). The Lean Startup (p. 38). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
At first blush it seems this concept is just made to be utilized by teams working in an iterative manner. They can define sprints, validate learning, and adjust course. The challenge is that validated learning is more than just conjecture or forecasts, this means we must align the product of sprints with empirical, measurable goals. Enter the sprint goal.