Definition of Done

Definition of Done

Agile projects need to have a very well-defined Definition of Done (DoD) to avoid confusion amongst team members, and to track project progress correctly.

What do we mean by Done?

The Definition of Done is when all conditions or criteria that a software product must satisfy are met and ready to be accepted by the customer. Defining it correctly is important to ensure quality and prevent rework. Failure to meet these criteria normally implies that the work shall not be counted toward that sprint’s velocity. states,

Although this may vary significantly for every Scrum Team, members must have a shared understanding of what it means for work to be completed and to ensure transparency. This is the definition of ‘Done’ for the Scrum Team and it is used to assess when work is complete on the product Increment.

Once User Stories have met the DoD, the story should be a potentially shippable increment.

Done vs Acceptance Criteria

Are these the same? No!

Acceptance Criteria is applicable to a specific User Story. Acceptance Criteria for each User Story will be different since it is dependent on the requirements of the User Story.

DoD remains the same across all User Stories. Thus for a User Story to be complete, both its Acceptance Criteria and the Definition of Done must be met.

Examples of Done

For Software Projects, you may need to look at the following in your Definition of Done:

  1. Code completed
  2. Peer code reviews completed
  3. Formal Code Reviews completed
  4. Code Unit-Tested and passed
  5. Code checked-in
  6. Continuous Integration Tests passing
  7. Functional Testing completed
  8. Integration Testing completed
  9. Acceptance Testing completed
  10. Documentation updated

What makes a good Definition of Done?

To ensure clarity amongst your Scrum Team, ensure you define Done properly Some guiding principles that you can adopt are:

  • Clear — write it in plain language so everyone understands and there’s no ambiguity
  • Testable — a key way to make it clear is to ensure that it’s a black and white decision whether each item in the checklist has been met
  • Concise — if everyone can remember each item, they’re more likely to tick them off
  • Realistic — document what you’re actually going to do, not your aspirations


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About the Author: Anuj Seth

Anuj is a certified PMP with over 20 years of Software Development and Management experience. He founded PM Tips in 2020. Contributors are welcome. Drop him a note via the Contact page.

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