Definition of Done (DoD)

The Definition of Done (DoD) is a clear and agreed-upon set of criteria that outlines what must be accomplished for a product increment or a user story to be considered complete, fully developed, and ready for release. It is a vital concept in Agile development, particularly in Scrum, to ensure that the team and stakeholders have a shared understanding of the quality and completeness expected from each deliverable.

Key points about the Definition of Done include:

  1. Agreed Upon: The Definition of Done is collaboratively defined and agreed upon by the Scrum Team, including the Product Owner, Development Team, and Scrum Master. It may also involve input from stakeholders and subject matter experts.
  2. Comprehensive Criteria: The DoD encompasses all necessary aspects, such as code quality, testing, documentation, integration, performance, and any other requirements specific to the team’s context and product domain.
  3. Clear and Specific: The criteria in the DoD should be clear, specific, and unambiguous. They provide a checklist that the team can use to validate that the increment meets the required standards.
  4. Consistency: The Definition of Done is consistent for all increments and user stories. It ensures that every completed item meets the same quality standards.
  5. Dynamic and Evolving: The DoD may evolve over time as the team gains experience, the product evolves, or customer needs change. It reflects the team’s learning and continuous improvement.
  6. Communicated and Visible: The Definition of Done should be well-communicated and visible to all members of the Scrum Team and stakeholders. This helps maintain a shared understanding of the team’s quality expectations.
  7. Quality Gate: The DoD serves as a quality gate, ensuring that no incomplete or subpar work is considered done during a Sprint.
  8. Enabling Transparency: By adhering to the DoD, the team ensures transparency in its progress and the quality of work being delivered.

Examples of items that might be included in a Definition of Done are:

  • Code is fully tested, and automated tests pass successfully.
  • Code is peer-reviewed and follows coding standards.
  • Documentation is up to date and complete.
  • User stories are accepted by the Product Owner.
  • User interfaces are consistent with design guidelines.
  • Performance benchmarks meet specified criteria.
  • Features are integrated and tested in the product.
  • Any technical debt incurred during development is resolved or documented.

The Definition of Done plays a crucial role in maintaining product quality, reducing technical debt, and supporting the principle of “potentially shippable” increments in Agile development. It provides clarity and alignment within the Scrum Team and helps prevent misunderstandings and surprises when delivering valuable increments to customers and stakeholders.

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