This feature is available in Enterprise and Ultimate editions.
A Backlog Goal/Objective is a system asset that contains groups of stories/backlog items that drive the direction of the project team.
It is a measurable target that specifies a business reason for doing development and drives the direction and priorities of the project team. They have a many-to-many relationship with workitems, to allow free association between stories, defects or even portfolio items to these assets.
Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up
Traditional management approaches use a top-down approach to derive lower level project backlog from goals defined at the higher level. When using a top-down approach you may specify projects that target each high level backlog goal, which enables you to track progress of related work items for a project and its sub projects.
The SAFe approach, which uses the term objectives, calls for objectives to first be defined at the team level within a program increment (PI) and then rolled up across teams to specify PI-level objectives. This approach uses objectives as a method to confirm common business understanding of the reasoning for developing a specific set of features and also assigns business value to each team-level objective to help track the individual and collective team performance over time using the Program Predictability Report. Terminology is automatically switched to 'objectives' for those who specify a SAFe setup during the startup wizard. System Administrators can always update terminology in an existing system as well.
The Fall 2016 Release introduced a new default relationship between backlog goals (or objectives) and portfolio items, which replaced a relationship in prior releases between backlog goals and backlog groups. The release also defaults changes the asset term to 'Objective' if the SAFe checkbox is selected during the system startup wizard.
System Administrators have the ability to switch the relationship back to the legacy backlog goal:backlog group instead of backlog goal:portfolio items that now defaults. To switch back, use the Administration > Configuration > System page and look for the option under the Backlog Goal asset option.
Accessing Backlog Goals
The Backlog Goals/Objectives feature must first be enabled in order for it to display in the Product Planning menu. See Enabling/Disabling the Backlog Goals Feature for details.
To access Backlog Goals/Objectives from the main menu, select Product Planning > Backlog Goals (or Objectives).