Definition of Ready (DoR)

The Definition of Ready (DoR) is a set of criteria that outlines the necessary conditions that a user story or product backlog item must meet before it can be accepted into a Sprint for development. It is a concept used in Agile methodologies, particularly in Scrum, to ensure that backlog items are well-prepared and understood before they are taken up by the development team.

Key points about the Definition of Ready include:

  1. Preparation Guidelines: The DoR defines the guidelines that must be met for a user story to be considered “ready” for inclusion in a Sprint. These guidelines may vary based on the team’s practices and the nature of the project.
  2. Collaborative Definition: The Definition of Ready is collaboratively defined and agreed upon by the Scrum Team, including the Product Owner and the Development Team. It helps establish a shared understanding of the level of detail and readiness required for user stories.
  3. Clear and Specific: The criteria in the DoR should be clear, specific, and unambiguous. They ensure that each user story contains sufficient information for the team to start working on it without uncertainties or misunderstandings.
  4. User Story Completeness: The DoR ensures that user stories are sufficiently detailed, with clear acceptance criteria, user roles, and specific requirements, making them ready for development.
  5. Dependencies and Constraints: The DoR may also include guidelines regarding dependencies, design considerations, or external constraints that must be addressed before the user story can be taken into a Sprint.
  6. Estimation Preparation: By meeting the criteria in the DoR, user stories are better prepared for estimation during Sprint Planning, enabling the team to plan more accurately.
  7. Empowering the Product Owner: The DoR helps the Product Owner and the team maintain a shared understanding of what constitutes a well-defined user story, empowering the Product Owner to prioritize and refine the backlog effectively.

Examples of criteria that might be included in a Definition of Ready are:

  • A clear user story title and description.
  • Acceptance criteria that define the expected behavior and success criteria.
  • User story dependencies identified and addressed.
  • Wireframes or design mockups if applicable.
  • Test data and environments prepared for testing.
  • Estimates or relative sizing completed by the team.
  • External dependencies and approvals obtained, if needed.

By adhering to the Definition of Ready, the team ensures that user stories are sufficiently understood and prepared, reducing delays and uncertainties during Sprint Planning and enabling a more predictable and efficient development process. It supports the principle of “ready to work” items in the product backlog and contributes to the successful delivery of value in each Sprint.

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