Editor's note: Original blog Published on: Jul 26, 2018
The name Stretch Objectives is a misnomer. Despite disclaimers and upfront explanation, several learners take the literal meaning of Stretch and assume Stretch Objectives are the ones that will be done "if time permits."
Stretch Objectives are the ones that are planned to be done in a Program Increment (PI), but the team cannot commit to its completion.
Why cannot the team commit to these objectives?
There can be any or a combination of two or more of these reasons. Some of these are anti-patterns.
Agile Coaches can help prevent the misuse of Stretch Objectives
It is essential for the ART (Agile Release Train - the complete program team) to be evident on what are Stretch Objectives and how to use this provision in SAFe. The role of the management, coaches, and the facilitators is to arrest the misuse of these objectives. If the teams are misusing it despite understanding its purpose, the management needs to step back and reflect on what’s missing in the system, which is making the organizations misuse Stretch Objectives.
Stretch Objectives bring predictability to the teams’ undertaking.
Can we do away with stretch objectives?
Actually, no. The most critical role of stretch objectives is that they bring predictability to the teams’ commitments. For an organization to plan and forecast, this predictability is essential.
Many other issues can be uncovered through the facility of creating stretch objectives.
As you can understand, Stretch Objectives are a powerful tool that the ART can use to predict outcomes effectively and fearlessly plan and commit. The first step is to ensure teams understand it and do not misuse it.