What is the product goal?
Apart from the three roles, the three artifacts and the five events, the scrum guide 2017 described two additional elements: the sprint goal and the definition of done. I like to think about them as very important elements, you can’t be without them, but they’re not part of the framework.
The scrum guide 2020 integrated them very elegantly.
Each scrum artifact now contains a commitment.
For the increment it is the definition of done, for the sprint backlog it is the sprint goal and for the product backlog it is the product goal.
Now you might ask, a product goal? what is that?
We all know how important the good vision is. A vision is usually very aspirational, distant, long-term, strategic. On the other hand the sprint goal is rather tactical, a small stepping stone.
Between the vision and the sprint goal there is a rather long stretch of void. This is where the product goal comes in. It sits between the product vision and the sprint goal.
If you look at a diagram with the three dimensions of strategic, tactical and risk, the vision is very strategic, with high risk. The sprint goal is rather tactical with significant lower risk.
The product goal is sitting between the sprint goal and vision. Depending on your situation, the product goal might be more tactical or more strategic. As there is one definition of done and one sprint goal at a given time, there is only one product goal as well.
This product goal is either fulfilled or abandoned before taking on the next. This ensures a clear focus, vision, product goal, sprint goal, leading to a done increment. The beauty of this product goal is that it rather provides reason for the product backlog to exist.
The product goal is represented through the product backlog. As the product backlog gets refined and implemented, the product moves closer to the product goal.