Definition of Done

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Nov 12, 2019

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Definition of Done is the checklist that contains all the list of work to be checked before completion and it called as DoD in short.

Whenever we do any work we need to have a checklist to make sure everything is completed. For instance, you want to post a greeting to your friend on his birthday. I know we are in the digital era and mail posting is an age-old trend. Still, we may want to surprise a friend refreshing an old yet gold tradition of sending a greeting card on an occasion. We might purchase a card, fill in wishes, paste the cover, write the address and despatch it. To do all this in order we may have to prepare a checklist and verify before final despatch. This is a simple task and you may think a checklist is not required. 

I agree, but in the event of an agile project in the scrum way there are a lot of processes involved and hence a checklist is a must. This checklist contains all the list of work to be checked before completion and that is called Definition of Done and DoD in short. This can be set in various stages namely the feature, sprint, and release. 

With this brief intro let us deep dive into technical details to give you a brief overview of DoD. However, I would like to reiterate that we have tried to the maximum possible extent to keep this blog simple to make you understand DoD non-technically. 

Definition of Done

Story Definition of Done

Technically DoD is nothing but the definition of done which means every time each acceptance criteria set is done and well defined to be in consent with the end-user. How work completion is defined is called definition of done at each stage. 

DoD depends on the following things namely 

Product’s nature that is being developed - WHICH is developed 

The technology used – HOW it is developed 

Product building organization – WHO develops 

Obstacles impacting the possibilities – WHAT challenges faced 

Story definition of done is looked at from a service context and DONE refers to the task that is assigned under the user story which gets completed and this created work is added to the user story letting the PO review and confirms if it meets the end-user needs. 

The development team and the Product Owner agree upon the work to be completed in every user story and that is called the DoD of a user story. 

Benefits of DoD 

It measures the quality and not just the functionality which means it is just not a checklist but a detailed check is done to confirm the end product quality is satisfactory to the user. 

It evaluates the value-addition done at the time of completion of each activity. This means that just completion will not suffice but value addition is the key. 

It is applied to all sprints universally and hence there is a uniform process across which leads to transparency. 

Redo work is completely avoided as everything is checked internally before the product is shipped to the customer. 

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Specific to the organization what does DoD offers 

It communicates the management that a shared commitment is done by the entire team for quality work with the following characteristics. 

Working software is delivered periodically 

Velocity is achieved consistently at par with the quality standards 

Discipline and information drive velocity 

Software fit is defined for a purpose 

PO and the entire team work together even take ownership of delivery and quality 

How to check product backlog with DoD 

The infographic given clearly explains the right way in which DoD manages the product backlog. It is the responsibility of the Product Owner to make sure that every user story is defined clearly which will let the dev team understand and work accordingly. 

                                                                       How to check product backlog with DoD

Types of DoD 

There are three different types of DoD and they include the following which is explained in detail. 

1.Definition Of Done Agile For A Feature

The most basic level of DoD is for the feature. Here we will check for the understanding of the team with the assumptions of every backlog item that is described. Here we further control the code quality and ensure if all the required components for the process are carried out. The feature is the strategic layer and user stories are for execution. Therefore we can use the term user story instead of feature moving forward as user story is the standard term used in the scrum. 

2.Definition Of Done Agile For A Sprint

The intermediate level is the sprint in which we ensure work check at a higher level. We do this by checking if we have implemented all the user stories in such a way that they fulfill the assumptions. Also, we confirm whether it meets all the conditions before production deployment. 

3.Definition Of Done Agile  For A Release

This is the final and the high-level stage which includes a check for both user story and sprint. However, agile being an iterative process, this check will be specific to release as only if they passed sprint they can reach this stage. Sprint retrospective feedback is collected to make a detailed checklist for a release. 

Definition Of Done Checklist - Definition Of Done Examples 

We have been talking about checklist all the while and now the time has come to find what will be present in a checklist. We are known in a layman term that a checklist will contain few things which need to be checked against to make sure everything is done per the plan. There is no universal DoD and you can prepare based on your situation. 

We have provided an example for DoD for a user story, sprint and release for your reference. You can add and remove details to suit your needs. These are some Definition Of Done Examples at each stage for your ready use. You can include additional checks and make it lengthier based on the steps you follow in your development phase. 

User StorySprintRelease

Code produced for the functionality assumed

Whether DoD of each user story is metCode completion
User story assumptions metTo do completion checkedRelease environment made ready
The project built and is error-freeUnit test passedUnit test checked and green
Unit test is writtenProduct backlog updated and checkedThe functional test checked and green
Unit test passedProject deployment on test platform identical to the production platformQA done, issue resolved if any
Project deployment on test platform identical to the production platformTest on device or browser based on the project assumptionTo do annotations - resolved 
Test on device or browser based on the project assumptionPerformance test passedAll teams members approve work
UX designer approves featureBugs fixedNo work left pending in any stage is checked
QA done, issue resolved if anySprint ready for deployment approved by POContinuous integration and TDD verified
Feature testing is done against acceptance criteria  
PO approves the feature  
Refactoring completion  
Documentation for build change and configuration  
Updated document  
Peer code review carried out  

What Is Definition Of Done In Agile?

Definiton of done Agile means a simple artifact which adds clarity to the feature’s done statement. In simple words, it is the reporting mechanism used for the team members. Definition of done is the primary reporting mechanism for team members in agile because it is used as the reference to help all team members to stand in one platform. They can check the work progress iteratively and move forward till the PO approves the product for shipping. 

Definition Of Done In Scrum

Definition of done scrum means meeting the expectation of the end-user in delivering a product. Scrum sets a high expectation to all team members and hence the end product delivery will have supreme quality. Therefore, when the product is delivered to the customer there cannot be any chance for a redo work as religiously following the DoD checklist will ensure potentially shippable products. 

DoD informed by reality 

The team should answer the following questions realistically to make sure that DoD is achieved in practice. 

1.Whether the activity is doable for each feature? 

2.Whether the activity is achievable for sprint consistently? 

3.The activity must be completed for the release 

Based on the real answers the team can work together to achieve the goal. Therefore DoD allows the team to inform and accept reality and there are no last-minute surprises possible. 

Done Vs Done-Done

We have seen DoD so far and there is something called Done-Done. This is nothing but the team ensures everything is done perfectly from the customer point of view at the sprint level. Which means a double confirmation at the sprint level and unlike DoD confirms only at the release stage. It can also be called as Definition of Ready (DOR) at every stage of the development. 

DoD Is Not Static

It is obvious that DoD is different for each situation and also it changes with time. The team decides to include and remove doable items at each feature and sprint. Finally, the PO checks the DoD to confirm if it meets the release criteria. Therefore DoD being dynamic allows everyone to work collaboratively and complete the process. 

DoD Is An Auditable Checklist

We call it a checklist that did not mean that it cannot be changed at all. Thus there is a periodic audit conducted to add and remove impediments from the checklist. The main purpose of the DoD is to check whether the required value addition is done to find the quality. Meeting functionality is not the criteria but the quality is the key focus of DoD.

The auditable checklist gives room for continuous improvement and the team will consciously make a call and make a decision about the applicability of the value addition in each user story/feature. 

In a nutshell 

DoD is a complete collection of deliverables that adds value to improve the quality of the product developed before shipment. It is informed by reality and hence it confines the activities based on the realistic commitment of the team to complete work at each level namely feature - sprint - release.  

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DoD exercise 

Now, you have understood many things theoretically about a DoD. We have provided an example of DoD in all stages. However, we would want to make it more interactive and hence we are giving you one exercise to try with your team. Yes, this how we provide Scrum Master Training with examples and interactive sessions to make you master all scrum concepts. 

Things required for DoD exercise 

Get your team, post-it, a pen, and a conference room. 

Steps to be followed 

Brainstorm to decide on assumptions with the team 

Categorize the sessions and discuss DoD

Sort the DoD into user story, sprint, and release 

Make the checklist and let the entire team agree upon. 

This will help you and the team to understand DoD and prepare an auditable checklist on your own and not copying from other sources. 

Define Do and Get Going! 

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