There is no shortage of literature on Sprint Goals. Despite it, their utility is often lost by misunderstanding millennia spanning paradox’s in position.
Plan to the Goal
“The driver says he was using navigation app Waze, which apparently insisted that driving into the lake was the right way to go.” — Madison Malone Kircher for New York Magazine
This should be obvious. That obviousness may be why so few people say it: plan to the goal. You wouldn’t drive in circles hoping to get somewhere specific. No, you would set the destination and navigate the waypoints.
You may not know every turn you will make. Road construction will block you. Traffic. An unexpected but necessary detour. What you do know is where you want to arrive by a given time. And you likely know the one after that, too. Write your Sprint Goals before the sprint starts to give yourself a flexible guide.
Sprint Goals are not requirements. They are the desired result. Decide where you want to go, then how to get there. If you think you can unerringly predetermine every step and end up where you want, you should know that the front windshield is thick, so try to break a side window and hold your breathe to float up out of that wreck.
Finish the Race
“For there are always others between the things that are, and again others between those, and so the things that are are unlimited.” —Simplicius, On Aristotle’s Physics
An ancient Greek philosophical problem from Zeno states you cannot finish a journey because you must first travel halfway, yet before you can go halfway you must complete a quarter, before a quarter, an eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth, one-thirty-second, one-sixty-fourth, and so on in ever small increments. You’re never there.
This is a word problem.
The sprint will end. Whether or not you’re where you want to be is up to you not going astray from the original place you sought. Do not add to your sprint goal when you finish early. Check off that point and use the time to do something valuable. Redefining success only keeps you in a race you can’t finish.