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For seasoned practitioners of agile methodologies, terms like “Definition of Done” (DoD) and “Definition of Ready” (DoR) have become integral to their daily discourse. Nevertheless, these concepts may appear somewhat enigmatic to the uninitiated, even to those tasked with upholding standardized quality in agile projects while promoting clarity, collaboration, and excellence!
This article demystifies DoD for both novices and experts alike. Let’s explore the origins of the concept, its relevance, and how to effectively embrace it…
1. Origin of Definition of Done
The roots of the Definition of Done lie in the agile approach, particularly within the Scrum framework.
Agility itself arose out of the need for enhanced flexibility and responsiveness in software development, as evidenced by the Agile Manifesto of 2001. This manifesto underscored the value of collaboration, adaptability to change, and value delivery.
In line with this approach, the DoD was introduced to ensure a clear and shared understanding of when a task or feature is considered “done.”
In the context of the Scrum framework, for example, the DoD serves as a tool that establishes a certain level of quality through transparency, offering teams and stakeholders a precise overview of project progress.
2. What Is Definition of Done (DoD)?
“Definition of Done” (DoD) can be viewed as a checklist of requirements or criteria that an item of work (features, user stories, bugs, tasks, etc.) must meet to be declared as complete.
It’s an essential tool to ensure that each work item reaches a standardized level of quality before being considered as finished.
In essence, it acts as a checklist to ensure nothing is overlooked, and the end product meets expectations.
3. Importance of the Definition of Done
A well-defined DoD endows all stakeholders, encompassing developers, testers, product owners, and more, with a clear, shared comprehension of what constitutes the “completion” of a task or feature.
However, merely completing a work item falls short. Completing it well is equally crucial. Hence, the DoD ensures that work isn’t merely finished quickly but is accomplished correctly and with high quality.
Furthermore, beyond understanding when it’s done and when it’s done well, the Definition of Done facilitates more accurate work estimation. This is because teams possess a clear understanding of the scope and requirements of work items.
4. Common Criteria Examples in a DoD
he specifics of the Definition of Done can vary from one team to another and from one project to the next. However, there are recurring criteria commonly included to ensure work quality and completeness.
These criteria serve as the foundational elements of YOUR definition of work item accomplishment. Below are some common examples of criteria typically encountered in a DoD:
- Has the code undergone thorough peer review?
- Have all unit tests passed successfully?
- Was continuous integration executed without error reports?
- Has documentation been updated accordingly?
- Has the Product Owner confirmed that user acceptance criteria have been fully met?
- Were tests conducted in an environment that faithfully replicates production conditions?
- Are system performance levels post-modification comparable to those before?
5. What’s the Difference Between Definition of Done and Definition of Ready?
You can say they’re inseparable… “Definition of Done” (DoD) and “Definition of Ready” (DoR) are two key concepts in the agile approach. Their definitions, significance, and applications are not the same, and they serve different purposes in the development process.
Definition of Done (DoD)
As you’ve heard before, it’s a set of criteria that a task, a user story, or another work item must meet to be considered complete. Its purpose is to ensure a consistent and comprehensive approach to all work items, thereby ensuring the quality and integrity of the final product. For instance, this entails completed code reviews, successful tests, and updated documentation, among other elements.
Definition of Ready (DoR)
DoR is a checklist of prerequisites that defines when a work item is ready to be taken on within a sprint. Its purpose is to ensure that work items are adequately defined, clear, and primed for addressing without ambiguity or significant incompleteness, thereby preventing delays or confusion during the sprint. For example: Requirements are clearly defined, all stakeholders agree on functionality, dependencies are identified, among other factors..
DoD vs DoR
In summary, the distinction between DoD and DoR lies in their focus: the DoD revolves around the requirements for work items to be deemed “done,” while the DoR centers on the prerequisites for work items to become sprint-ready. One is at the finish line, while the other is at the starting point.
6. Five Recommendations from Our Agile Experts for Effectively Implementing a DoD
These recommendations should provide a solid foundation for agile enthusiasts looking to implement or enhance their Definition of Done.
1. Stay Adaptable
Being Agile means recognizing that change is inevitable. Adapt your DoD to the dynamic landscape of tools, technologies, and needs. For example, if a new technology or tool is adopted, the DoD should be updated to accommodate these changes.As a team gains experience and expertise, its members develop a better understanding of project needs and sprint-related challenges. This can also lead to changes in the DoD to reflect best practices or include more demanding criteria. Optimize your Definition of Done (DoD) for better results!
2. Prioritize Clarity
Clarity is essential to avoid ambiguities that lead to poor criteria and, consequently, daunting errors down the line.
3. Foster Active Collaboration
The formulation of a DoD should not be a unilateral decision; it should result from active collaboration. Consider organizing workshops involving developers, testers, project managers, and other stakeholders. Collaborative efforts can yield a DoD that caters to everyone’s needs!
4. Focus on Scalability
What gets measured gets managed. Prioritize tangible criteria within the DoD. Every criterion within the DoD should be tangible to ensure consistent implementation. Rather than vague terms such as “sufficient testing,” adopt precise formulations such as “at least 90% code coverage through unit tests,” which offers measurable clarity.
5. Invest in Ongoing Training
Knowledge evolves faster than tools. Organize regular sessions to keep everyone up to date on the latest developments in your industry and the future impacts they might have. Over time, even the most experienced members may benefit from a refresher.
After assimilating these fundamental recommendations, it might be prudent to explore additional support. Access our expertise in agile methodologies and our dedication to transforming businesses into dynamic, adaptable, and customer-centric entities.
In summary :
What Is Definition of Done (DoD)?
DoD is a collection of clearly defined criteria established by a relevant team that denotes when a work item, such as a feature or a task, can be considered as completed.
Origins of the Definition of Done
DoD emerged from the agile approach, particularly Scrum, to ensure that every delivered item meets a defined standard of quality.
Importance of the Definition of Done
DoD ensures that all stakeholders share a common understanding of the term “done,” thereby ensuring quality, completeness, and alignment with stakeholder expectations.
What Are Some Examples of Criteria for the Definition of Done?
Although the specifics of the Definition of Done may vary from one team or project to another, common criteria may encompass items such as “tested and validated code,” “updated documentation,” “completed peer review,” or “verified compliance with security guidelines.”
What are the essential elements for implementing the Definition of Done?
It is crucial to actively collaborate with all team members, prioritize clarity, ensure adaptability of the DoD to changes, define measurable criteria, and align with project goals. Ongoing training and integrating the DoD into management tools are also recommended.