Without a solid understanding of both Definition of Done (DoD) and the Definition of Ready (DoR), no Project Manager/Scrum manager can supervise the delivery of the product/project utilising Agile Project Management.

Definition of Ready (DoR)

is an Agile project management phrase that specifies the requirements a user story or task must achieve in order to be declared ready for development. It ensures that the team has all the information necessary to begin working on a user story or task and that it is well-stated and understood.

A definition of ready is used to establish if work is ready to begin in the first place – whether a user story or product backlog item is prepared to be accepted into a sprint.

Actionable: Is the item immediately actionable by the team (doable)? Does the team understand what they must accomplish, and can they do it immediately? Does the product have no external dependencies?
Refined: Has the item undergone a process of refining prior to sprint planning? Does the team have a shared understanding of what the item is and how it will be implemented?
Value – What is the business value of the item? What is the benefit to the customer? Is the value understood by all team members?
Estimated – Has the team estimated the item’s cost? And, is the agreed-upon size of the item such that the team is confident it can be completed within a sprint?
Acceptance criteria – Does the product have distinct acceptance criteria?
Demo — Does the team understand how they may demonstrate the product or discuss it during the sprint review?

Having a well-defined Definition of Ready (DOR) helps ensure that the team is working on tasks that are well-defined, clearly understood, and ready to be developed, which can lead to improved efficiency and higher-quality products.

Important aspects of the Definition of Ready (DoR)

  1. Task or user story is well-defined: The user story or task must be clearly explained to the team.
  2. Necessary information is available: To begin work, the team needs acceptance criteria, dependencies, and restrictions.
  3. The user narrative or task should be small enough to finish in one sprint.
  4. The user narrative or task should be independent of other tasks or user stories so it may be produced and performed alone.
  5. The team must estimate the user story or task effort.
  6. The user narrative or task must be prioritised and linked with project goals.

Examples of Definition of Ready

Examples of items that could be included in a Definition of Ready (DoR) for Agile project management include:

  1. The user story or task is well-defined and understood by the team
  2. Acceptance criteria are clear and agreed upon by all stakeholders
  3. All necessary information, such as dependencies and constraints, is available and understood by the team
  4. The user story or task is small and can be completed within one sprint
  5. The user story or task is independent and can be worked on in isolation
  6. User story or task has been estimated and prioritized by the team
  7. All necessary resources, such as team members, are available to complete the user story or task
  8. The user story or task aligns with the overall goals and objectives of the project

Definition of Done (DoD)

is an Agile software development phase that specifies the criteria that a product or feature must achieve in order to be regarded as complete and release-ready. It is a consensus among team members regarding what defines a final product.

We must meet the definition of done to ensure quality. It lowers rework, by preventing user stories that don’t meet the definition from being promoted to higher-level environments. It will prevent features that don’t meet the definition from being delivered to the customer or user.

The definition of Done is;

  • A clear and concise list of requirements that a software Increment must adhere to for the team to call it complete
  • A shared understanding of what “Done” means for a task
  • May consist of activities to be performed and a quality bar to be met
  • Should be a prominently displayed checklist which is always applied
  • It is the primary reporting mechanism for team members
  • The Definition of Done is an auditable checklist
  • A separate Definition of ‘Done’ can exist for Stories, Sprints and Releases
  • Defined at project start
  • Enhanced during retrospectives

Everyone must grasp what “Done” means for a Product Backlog item or Increment. To achieve openness, Scrum Teams must agree on what work is accomplished, even though this varies greatly. The Scrum Team uses this concept of “Done” to measure product Increment completion.

The same definition tells the Development Team how many Product Backlog items to choose during Sprint Planning. Each Sprint delivers potentially releasable Increments that meet the Scrum Team’s definition of “Done.” Development Teams add new functionality every Sprint. This Increment is usable, therefore a Product Owner may release it immediately.

Scrum Teams must follow the development organization’s increment “done” definition. If “done” for an increment is not a development organisation convention, the Scrum Team Development Team must define “done” for the product. The development teams on all Scrum Teams working on the system or product release must mutually define “Done.” Scrum’s roles, objects, events, and rules are immutable. Implementing certain elements of Scrum does not result in Scrum.

Examples of Definition of Done

Examples of items that could be included in a Definition of Done (DoD) for Agile software development include:

  1. Code has been reviewed and approved by peers
  2. Automated tests have been written and pass
  3. Documentation has been updated
  4. Performance and security tests have been completed
  5. The product has been tested on multiple platforms and browsers
  6. Accessibility and internationalization standards have been met
  7. The product has been integrated with other systems and dependencies
  8. User acceptance testing has been completed and approved
  9. The code has been checked into version control and labeled with a release number
  10. The product has been deployed to a production environment

Definition of Done (DoD) and Definition of Ready (DoR)

They define what it means for a product or feature to be ready for release and for a user narrative or task to be ready for development. They collaborate to ensure the team understands product requirements and starts work on well-defined assignments or stories.

The Definition of Ready and Done are two checklists that control how the team commits and delivers work.

Summary

The key difference between the definition of ready and the definition of done is that:

  • the definition of ready covers the requirements coming into the sprint
  • the definition of done covers the product coming out of the sprint.

Consequently, the definition of ready (DoR) is applicable to your user stories. It clarifies your team’s shared knowledge of what is required to bring a user story into a sprint.

The definition of complete (DoD) applies to the programme in use. It clarifies your team’s shared understanding of the quality requirements a deliverable work product must meet.

Further Readings

  1. Definition of ready and definition of done: What’s the difference?
  2. http://instituteengmgt.com/wp-content/uploads/DoRDoD.pdf

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