What is the Definition of Done in Agile?

Vidas Vasiliauskas ·

2019 - Present Co-founder and CEO @ Teamhood. 2015-2019 Head of software engineering department at Danske Bank. 2017-2018 Partner Associate Professor at Vilnius University. Lecturer of Software Architecture course 2011 - 2015 Managed numerous smaller IT teams at Prewise. Co-founder of RaveIT, Eylean, No Brakes Games Certified Agile product owner and practitioner. Managed large scale enterprise projects as well as launch of small startup products. MSc of Software Engineering at Vilnius University. Hobbies: Racing, MTB cycling, Windsurfing

definition of done

The Definition of Done is a term used in several Agile practices. It describes a set of criteria that a team must meet to consider their project done. To understand this concept better, let’s take a look at how his definition is formed and why it is usefull to have.

Looking for more information on Agile? Check out this post:

What is Agile?

What is the Definition of Done in Agile?

The Agile definition of done is a collection of criteria that teams must complete before they can consider their project to be “done” or completed. Perhaps the simplest way to look at the definition of done (DoD) is as a checklist used by Scrum teams to create a shared understanding of what is required to make a product releasable.

According to the definite Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the originators of Scrum: 

“The Definition of Done creates transparency by providing everyone a shared understanding of what work was completed as part of the Increment. If a Product Backlog item does not meet the Definition of Done, it cannot be released or even presented at the Sprint Review. Instead, it returns to the Product Backlog for future consideration.”

If we define a “product backlog item” as a specific improvement that is made to a product, these items can include bug fixes, user stories, and specifications. A “product increment” is what is produced at the end of a short development period or iteration. It combines all the product backlog items completed during that iteration.

In other words, the Scrum definition of done is a list of conditions that must be met to successfully mark a product increment as complete. To many practitioners, the DoD ultimately represents a quality check for the team by the team. 

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Benefits of the Definition of “Done” in Agile (DoD)

Implementing the Agile definition of done offers the following key benefits: 

  • Transparency: It is important to create a shared understanding between team members to help ensure they are aligned. As part of their working agreements, any team should be aligned on what “done” means to them. This eliminates potential confusion, clashes, or arguments based on differing interpretations or opinion, because there is a clear and pre-defined set of rules for what the product looks like when completed.
  • Inspection: During a Sprint, every team member should be looking for potential issues to address early on. One key method for doing this during Sprints is to share the product with customers to test and gather feedback, which helps to make sure the team is meeting the customer’s needs even when these might change. 
  • Adaptation: As discussed in the previous section, DoD is a kind of quality check for the team to ensure the finished product is the highest possible quality and meets the customer’s criteria. 

Having a shared DoD between team members makes cross-team collaboration in a scaled environment much easier. It also ensures that the work of every team and its members comply with the requirements of the organization.

Agile definition of done: Examples

A typical Definition of Done answers the following questions:

  • How do we ensure that we meet the business requirements?
  • How do we ensure that we have a consistent quality?

One example of a definition of done could be as follows:

  • All acceptance criteria are met
  • All necessary tests have been completed
  • We have checked the work multiple times
  • All necessary documentation has been created
  • The Product Owner has reviewed the work and is happy

We can also look at a more specific kind of example, such as the launch of a new mobile app. In this case, the Agile definition of done in Agile could incorporate the following deliverables:

  • Code has been written
  • Code has been reviewed
  • Build has been deployed for testing on mobile devices
  • Tests have passed
  • Google has approved the app for accessibility

Learn more about the evolution of Agile and steps to applying Agile for non IT teams.

How to manage Agile projects on Teamhood

To help you implement Agile values and principles, Teamhood has created a tool that eases collaboration, visualizes the process, and allows you to optimize and deliver the best results. With the help of our workspace templates, you can quickly create a Scrum or Kanban board, define the DoD, track burndown charts and start working.

The Teamhood task board is visual and easy to modify with custom columns, rows, and secondary processes to track subtasks. Use automation to move tasks between boards and ensure you deliver the optimal end result to your clients. Enjoy real Agile processes with Teamhood.

You can get started with a free trial, no credit card is required. 

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