All teams should agree on their sprint goal at the planning meeting, which is coordinated by the product owner (PO). The most desirable goal is usually to prepare a complete PSPI (potentially shippable product increment). There might be tasks that are not related to the PSPI, but the main goal should be clear.
Completing the sprint goal(s), however, does not necessarily mean that the sprint was "successful." The variation in team members' definitions of "success" for a sprint can vary to a surprising degree. For example, completing all sprint backlog items (SBIs) does not automatically mean that the sprint was successful. (However, in many cases the team does not feel good about itself if there are unfinished tasks at the end of the sprint.) A high-functioning team should give some thought, as a group, to the elements that determine whether a sprint was successful or not.
Define sprint success
Every team has its own principles and rules, so the team should have its own definition of a successful sprint. Here are some good examples:
- Achieving the most important sprint goals
- Completing 90 percent of SBIs
- No issues or hot fixes after the release
- End users are happy after the sprint demo
- Any other metrics pertaining to the sprint are met
There are many other possible elements of a "successful" sprint. Discuss yours with your team . . . and if you'd like, share them here.