The other day after one of our scrum meet, with the entire team still in the scrum room, I intervened to understand why a certain defect was been raised  in QC for a feature in one of our application. The developer had a typical reply “It is a CR and not a defect! We have coded as per requirements”. Uhhmmm…. I thought its a good time for team coaching! So I asked, “what was the requirement”? He quoted the exact words from the use case. Once he was done, I asked “What is the objective here?” And he quoted the same words from use cases with some additional explanation and details. I interrupted him and repeated the question. “What is the objective here?”. He was going into more detailed requirements and flow. I interrupted and made my question a bit more powerful. “Are requirements in use case an objective or a means?” There was pin drop silence for the next 5 minutes in the room. They were using this silence to reflect back on the question. With no reaction or action after 5 minutes, I repeated the question.

“Are requirements in use case an objective or a means?” What do you think? What does your team think? What does your management think? What does your client think?

“Are requirements an objective or a means?” Of course it is a “means”. So what is the “objective” here? Good question!!

Term “good question” in its general usage implies “I don’t know”. 🙂

In this scenario team including me realized that requirements are in conflict with objective. Defect in QC was correct. However, the defect logged was not code defect but a requirements defect. Something that BA has to fix instead of developer.

In almost all leadership trainings I have attended or conducted, first topic which is been talked about is Goals, Objectives, Vision. Everything else is just a means to achieve the objective. “Shared Vision” & “Common Goal” is so very fundamental to any leader or organization or team and more so for agile teams. And yet, I hardly find a leader, organization or team knowing their objectives let alone “living” them!!

Do you know your objectives, goals, vision is? Let me pose a simple question to you so that you get a real feel of this process and also understand how tough it can be.

Is going to office a means or an objective? Is it an objective? Think about it. Is it a means? Then what is the objective here? Whatever your answer is, ask the same question “what is the objective here” 5 times over your answer and you should reach a deeper and a real need / objective.

In agile we do the same thing. We setup a sprint goal before we begin the sprint. Everything else is a means!! Identify and bring out the real need / objective of the entire project that you are working on and see the inspirational power of this shared goal or objective statement on the team!! Try it out!! Even better, try to define it along with all stakeholders. Tough job!!! But once you have it defined, everyone has a direction. Everyone has a outcome to chase and aim for. If you identify and define an objective along with all stakeholders for a project, believe me, you will find everyone on the project going crazy!!! They will no longer behave like a normal human being!! For instance, they would not need any motivational speeches every now and then, they would not bother much about their appraisals, client would not fight on defects v/s CRs, users would not procrastinate their testing, management would not bother you with mundane, redundant, irrelevant metric anymore!!! Still they would all be 200% committed to the project and more than motivated to achieve the objective!! You don’t believe me? Try it out on yourself first, then on your team for a sprint / iteration and *live* the difference for yourself.

For me, objective is more like a vision and means more like a mission!!! Vision is the future state you want to be in and Mission is why you are doing what you are doing which is obviously guided by your vision statement.

I asked the same question to myself before I began to write my first blog!! What is the objective here? Blogging is a means not the objective for me and maybe for most. This pushed me to define my Vision and Mission statements. This is the first time I am attempting to come out with a vision and mission statement for “myself”.


Facilitate {transformation & unleashing potential} of individuals and teams


An agilist having established myself as a practicing Agile, Work Place, Executive and Team Coach and earned exceptional repute of being a transformational leader & inspirational trainer in the field of Agile, Coaching, Leadership and NeuroLeadership.

Phewww!!! Tough task!!!

I am quite happy with how my vision has come. I am not too sure of mission tough. I may have to refine it soon. Nevertheless, its a good start.

What do you think about my my vision and mission statements? About the topic objective v/s means? About the questions posed? About my first blog?

Kindly share your thoughts & feedback!! Is that an objective or means? 😉

2 thoughts on “Is that an objective or means?

  1. Pingback: Tushar Somaiya

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