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Definition of done in agile

by Srinivas Saripalli
Definition of Done

A Definition of Done in agile is a succinct collection of conditions that software must meet in order to be considered complete by the team. While the DoD often applies to all backlog items, acceptance criteria are specific to a single user narrative. Both the DoD and acceptance requirements must be completed in order to conclude the tale.

Among all Scrum artefacts, the definition of done receives the least attention. Which is a shame, because ensuring that all your work is of publishable quality is a highly effective method to provide the benefits of Scrum. Thus, below is a collection of completed examples, ideas, and approaches to assist you in achieving these benefits.

The definition of the term “done”

The Scrum Guide states that you should use the definition of done to determine when work on a product increment is complete. It guarantees that all Scrum Team members have a common idea of what it means for work to be completed.

Thus, the definition of done makes explicit your team’s shared understanding of the steps required to complete each piece of work to a usable standard. Consider it a checklist outlining the requirements for an Increment to be releasable at the conclusion of a Sprint.

Recommended Reading: Agile Contracts

Definition of done in agile
Definition of Done

Increment That Might Be Shippable

What then qualifies as a releasable increment?

You’re looking for what’s referred to as a Potentially Shippable Increment (PSI). You are not required to ship or release the product, but you may do so if you like. Alternatively, you might do a beta test with a subset of your clients.

This implies that you must leave no task unfinished. Because even if you don’t ship immediately, any unfinished work can cause confusion when you do. And returning to previous work is more difficult than executing it while in the zone.

The Increment is comprised of all prior work on the product, as well as the most recent Sprint. Thus, all of this labour must be cohesive.

Additionally, the PSI must meet a quality that you can stand behind: something you can confidently present to your consumers.

The advantages

The concept of done provides you with the solid foundation you need to continue delivering value early and frequently. This is accomplished through the application of Scrum’s three pillars: transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

It clarifies your agreed view of what constitutes releasable quality. This simplifies the process of delivering releasable incremental releases Sprint after Sprint. These releasable Increments enable you to examine and modify your work. You can validate it with your customers to ensure that it meets their needs. Additionally, you may incorporate quality into each phase, minimising costly rework. This establishes a strong foundation for future enhancements.

The difference between a definition of done in agile and acceptance criteria

Individuals can become perplexed by the distinction between the definition of done and acceptance criteria. That is because they both assist in determining when work is complete. However, while the notion of completed work is same throughout all of your work, acceptance criteria are unique to individual pieces of work (user stories or other Product Backlog items). The term “done” frequently encompasses non-functional characteristics. In comparison, acceptance criteria are concerned with functioning (and the outcomes this functionality delivers).

What is an apt description of “done”?

As previously said, an effective definition of completed is a visible, collaborative, and evolving document. Additionally, it is:

  1. clear — put it in plain terms so that it is easily understood by all and contains no ambiguity
  2. Testable – a critical technique to achieve clarity is to ensure that determining whether each item on the checklist has been met is a black and white choice.
  3. succinct – if each item is easily remembered, it increases the likelihood that it will be checked off.
  4. Be realistic – record what you intend to do, not your aspirations.

How you ensure that the definition of done in agile is adhered to

It’s not simple, and we’ve seen a number of teams fall short.

Begin by ensuring that the Development Team considers the concept of done when evaluating the size of each narrative and anticipating the stories to which you will commit. As a result, they’re less likely to overlook items on the checklist owing to time constraints.

Every member of the Scrum Team has the ability to verify that it is being followed. For instance, the Product Owner can conduct checks when accepting stories, the Scrum Master can conduct checks during daily stand-ups, and the Development Team can conduct checks during code reviews. If no one has brought up the meaning of done in a while, it is likely that it is being disregarded.

If you notice that it is being neglected, this is a solid indication that it is time to revisit the document. Which components are omitted and why? Is everyone still aware of the stakes? Is any of this still relevant?

By staying current on the definition of done in this manner, you may continue to add value to the services you provide to your clients. As a result, you may be confident in the quality of your product.

7 steps to define done in Jira

Putting a DoD on paper is simple. Persuading the development team to honour the contract is common. What can a scrum team do to ensure DoD and acceptance criteria compliance? Include them in the team’s regular process. If your development team uses Jira, you can even embed them into tickets! That’s it.

  1. Make a DoD in Jira.

The best way to add a DoD to Jira is via a Custom Field. You can use a text field or checkboxes, but both have disadvantages: text fields don’t show which items are completed, and checkboxes only appear in edit mode.

  1. Dissect it

Done refers to technical tasks, user stories, and difficulties. For example, a project might have the DoD:

  • Generate code without warnings (technical task)
  • Code unit testing (technical task)
  • Revised documents (user story)
  • The demo server build is now live (user story)

Given the context of custom fields, creating a DoD for technical activities and a DoD for user stories is the best way to achieve this separation. Rather of the other way around, the DoD adapts to the development workflow.

  1. Go global

Using custom field choices, you can create DoD Items for any concern, old or new. Also, changing, adding, or removing an option affects all Jira issues.

  1. Manage it steadily

Because the DoD is a contract between the product owner and the team, it’s tempting to include everything. But this tactic may backfire. When presented with an overwhelming number of DoD items, teams either focus on a subset or try and fail to finish them all, defeating the goal of constructing the DoD.

A Definition of Done should be evaluated regularly. You can tighten your processes as your development team improves. Disable settings instead of deleting or changing them. Disabling an option keeps it in Jira but hides it from issues. This allows you to keep track of your DoD. If you truly want to test the team, add more DoD items, but make some mandatory and others optional.

  1. Accountability for the product owner and team

Configure the DoD custom field such that only the product owner may add, amend, or remove entries. To voice their desires will be held accountable. Then, hold the team accountable by marking off each item on the DoD.

  1. Require it

The DoD is best adhered to by an agile team by including it into their scrum workflow. Use a Workflow Validator on the technical task or user storey workflow transition to delay issue resolution. This demands accountability and reaffirms the meaning of “Done”.

  1. Create acceptance criteria in Jira.

Ultimately, each user narrative’s approval criteria list is a DoD. In Jira, create a new custom field or piggyback on the global DoD. Use Checklist to directly add items to an issue. You may have a single DoD custom field with mandatory global items and issue-level items for each individual acceptance condition.


DOD Image [1]: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/definition-ready-done-joseph-barjis-phd

DOD Image [2]: https://go2scale.io/definition-of-done-a-recipe-for-optimal-results/

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