Definition of Done (DoD): Everything you need to know

The Definition of Done(DoD) is a key element of the Agile Scrum methodology, enabling development teams to clearly define what is considered “finished” for each item in the product backlog. This ensures that stakeholder requirements are met, and that the elements delivered meet the quality criteria defined by the team.

In this article, we’ll explore DoD for Scrum teams, explaining what it is and why it’s important. We’ll also look at how to draw up a Definition of Done for a Scrum team.

We will also discuss the role of each Scrum team member in setting up the DoD, including the Product Owner, Scrum Master and development team members. Finally, we’ll provide tips on how to implement DoD in a Scrum team to ensure project success.

If you’re new to the Scrum methodology or want to know more about Definition of Done and how it can help your development team, then this article is for you. Follow us to find out more about DoD and how it can improve the efficiency and quality of your Scrum team’s work.

The Definition of Done establishes a set of quality standards that Scrum team members must meet to deliver high-quality work. On visual management tools such as Jira, the DoD takes the form of a checklist of requirements and criteria that must be met for the User Story to be considered complete (Done).

This checklist must be drawn up collaboratively by the Scrum team, as it is unique to each project and depends on the requirements of the stakeholders. It must also be sufficiently detailed to avoid ambiguity and facilitate communication between team members.

The DoD generally includes elements such as acceptance criteria, automated testing, manual testing, documentation and user validation. It can also include project-specific elements, such as integration with other systems or specific security requirements.

By clearly defining what is considered “finished”, the DoD helps the Scrum team to maintain high quality standards and ensure that product backlog items meet stakeholder expectations. It also reduces the risk of regression or bugs by ensuring that each element is tested before being considered complete.

In short, the DoD is a key element of the Agile Scrum methodology, helping to maintain the quality of the work delivered by the Scrum team and to satisfy the expectations of stakeholders. To be effective and useful for the team, it must be carefully drawn up.

dod definition of done illustration Definition of Done (DoD): Everything you need to know

An example of Definition of Done

Here’s an example of Definition of Done for a team working on a classic website:

  • All page elements are functional and responsive.
  • Texts are proofread, corrected and consistent with the content strategy.
  • Images are optimized for web use and conform to the graphic charter.
  • Compatibility with different web browsers is tested and guaranteed.
  • Loading times are optimized and comply with current speed standards.
  • The code is clean, documented and compliant with development standards.
  • All unit and functional tests have been passed.

This list of criteria is by no means exhaustive, but it does give an idea of the elements to be taken into account when defining a DoD for a team working on a website. It’s important that the criteria are specific to each team and adapted to their needs and their technical and functional environment.

image 5 Definition of Done (DoD): Everything you need to know

Role of Scrum team members (PO, Scrum Master and Developers) in implementing DoD

implementing the DoD involves close collaboration between the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and members of the development team. Here’s an overview of everyone’s role in the process:

  • The Scrum Master is responsible for facilitating the DoD implementation process. He or she must ensure that all team members understand the DoD criteria and are able to apply them to their daily work. The Scrum Master must also ensure that the Defintion of Done is updated according to the team’s needs.

  • The Product Owner is responsible for defining DoD requirements in collaboration with the development team. He or she must ensure that the Defintion of Done is aligned with the company’s objectives, and that it is able to deliver added value to end-users. The Product Owner must also ensure that the DoD is clear and comprehensible to all team members.

  • Development team members are responsible for adhering to the DoD criteria when working on their sprint tasks. They must also ensure that the Defintion of Done criteria are met before a work item is considered complete. Development team members must also communicate regularly with the Product Owner and Scrum Master to ensure that the DoD is being respected and that it meets the needs of the team and the business.

In short, implementing the DoD is a shared responsibility between the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and the members of the development team. The Definition of Done must be clear, comprehensible and aligned with the company’s objectives. It must be regularly evaluated and updated according to the needs of the team and the company.

How do you run a workshop to implement DoD for the first time in a team?

You are a Scrum Master or Product Owner and would like to implement Definition of Done in your Agile team. So, here are some steps for conducting a workshop to implement DoD for the first time in a team:

  1. Introducing the DoD: Start by introducing the Definition of Done, explaining what it is and why it’s important for the Scrum team. You can use concrete examples to illustrate the DoD concept.

  2. Identifying quality criteria: Ask team members to think about all the quality criteria relevant to their project. These may include criteria such as performance, security, browser compatibility and so on. Write down all the criteria on a board or flip chart.

  3. Prioritize quality criteria: Ask the team to rank the quality criteria in order of importance. It’s important to focus on the criteria that have the greatest impact on the overall quality of the final product.

  4. DoD finalization: Use the identified and prioritized quality criteria to draw up an exhaustive list of criteria that must be met for the job to be considered “finished”.

  5. DoD validation: Ask the team to validate the DoD once it has been finalized. Make sure every team member clearly understands what each quality criterion means and how it applies to their day-to-day work.

  6. DoD monitoring: Finally, it’s important to regularly monitor the DoD to ensure that it is respected throughout the development process. Revisions may be necessary if the team finds that certain criteria are not relevant or need to be modified.

It’s important to note that this workshop should not be seen as a one-off task. DoD must be a continuous process, followed throughout product development, to ensure consistent quality and transparency in the deliverables produced by the Scrum team.

You can also set up a DoD Kards workshop. Which I’ve already tried twice in past missions. The format is fun and you can check out this article from Coach-Agile which suggests you download this tool!

dod definition of done kards atelier Definition of Done (DoD): Everything you need to know

What's the difference between acceptance criteria and DoD?

Acceptance criteria and the definition of “Done” are two distinct notions in the Scrum methodology.

Acceptance criteria are defined individually for each element of the Product Backlog (User Story, task, Epic etc.) by the Product Owner (PO) and the development team before the start of the sprint. These criteria describe the functional characteristics that the product must possess for work on this backlog item to be considered complete. They serve as a basis for checking that the product meets the customer’s needs.

Acceptance criteria are therefore specific to each element of the Product Backlog. The acceptance criteria therefore differ from one User Story to another.

The DoD, on the other hand, is a list of quality criteria that the development team undertakes to respect for each item in the product backlog as it is developed. These criteria are not specific to a particular element, but rather to the way the development team works. They may include elements such as unit testing, test automation, documentation or code review.

The DoD therefore describes the expected quality of all the elements in the product backlog. So the DoD applies to all the elements in the team’s Backlog.

In short, acceptance criteria and DoD are two complementary elements that are both necessary to guarantee the quality of the product developed. Acceptance criteria are specific to each element of the product backlog and serve to validate that the product meets the customer’s needs, while the DoD describes the quality criteria expected for all elements of the product backlog and ensures that the product developed is consistent and meets the development team’s quality standards.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the definition of Done is a crucial element of the Scrum methodology for guaranteeing the quality and value of the finished product. It enables the development team to clearly understand the finishing criteria, and to ensure that each element of the product backlog is completed in accordance with the customer’s quality and acceptance standards.

By defining these criteria before the start of the sprint, the team can work more efficiently and be more productive, while reducing the risk of errors and future problems. The DoD is therefore an essential tool for achieving Scrum’s objective: to rapidly deliver a high-quality product that meets the customer’s expectations.

Further information

If you are interested in the Definition of Done and would like to learn more about agile and Scrum practices, there are many useful resources to deepen your knowledge:

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the Definition of Done and its importance in the Scrum method. If you have any questions or would like to find out more, don’t hesitate to contact ChatGPT, an intelligent assistant developed by OpenAI, to obtain further information and deepen your knowledge of agile software development.

This post is also available in: French

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Ahmed BEN SALEM

Ahmed BEN SALEM

Strongly involved in Agile methodologies, I have held the roles of Scrum Master, Product Owner and Release Train Engineer for SAFe, Scrum and DevOps projects. My approach focuses on people and stakeholder collaboration, creating environments conducive to innovation and performance.

Since 2016, I have successfully led several Agile software development projects for companies of all sizes, including Odigo, Orange and PSA. My solid experience in Agile methodologies, in particular Scrum and SAFe, has enabled me to work with multicultural teams from countries such as the USA, India, Vietnam and Morocco.

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