Agile Release Definition of Done

In the pressure of surviving a sprint, it`s easy to ignore the broader definition of fact and focus solely on the acceptance criteria for each issue or feature. And while this may give you a bunch of functional parts, they won`t come together into a finished whole. It all starts with a common vocabulary – when people don`t speak the same language, there`s plenty of room for confusion, frustration and mixed signals. To avoid this scenario, product teams need to take the time to work with their development and testing colleagues to agree on what counts as “fact” in different cases. While the details vary from organization to organization, a typical definition of fact is a checklist of things like: Constantly changing your factual definition can negate the benefits associated with it and bring confusion to your sprints. But what if an important factor changes or your team matures and realizes that your DoD needs to do the same? Done`s definition is structured as a list of items, each used to validate a story or PBI to ensure that the development team agrees on the quality of the work they are trying to produce. It serves as a checklist that is used to check the completeness of each item in the product backlog (also known as PBI) or user story. The elements of the “Done” definition should apply to all elements of the product backlog, not just a single user story. It can be summarized as follows: As soon as a Product Backlog item meets the definition of Done, an increment is born. The Done (DoD) definition represents the formal definition of organization quality for all elements of the product backlog (PBI). If an organization doesn`t have one, the Scrum team needs to define its own. The definition of Done is the obligation contained in the Increment artifact.

Think of the DoD as what the organization needs before it can provide a PBI to the end user. For an in-depth one-hour review of this topic, watch our Getting to Done webinar (subscription required). An added benefit of not giving each individual project its own measure of “achievement” is also a huge time saver and allows people to focus on innovation and execution compared to the definition, so it`s worth investing some time in creating a basic understanding of what`s being done for everyone. When the ambiguity is removed, everyone can focus on their main tasks instead of discussing eligibility for dismissal later in the process. Only when all these criteria are met can the user`s story be described as “over”. To achieve this, however, each program must meet its individual acceptance criteria. Where people are often confused is the thought that their definition of fact is a matter of quality control and not project management. Why not just determine when a project is “completed” based on your acceptance criteria? We talked briefly about the risks of perfectionism and apathy. Both can result from the fact that the doD has not been defined, and both lead to a false start. Different teams and stakeholders may have different ideas about what “does” look like, but it`s important to work together and compromise to reach consensus on the acceptance criteria for each user story, feature, or issue, and hold each team member accountable for those standards. These requirements must be clear, achievable and always accessible. Without a clear definition of fact, your development team won`t know where they`re working, your stakeholders can increase reach, and your users will most likely get a cluttered, confusing, and useless product.

The same goes for your product or feature. Is it “done” to terminate an MVP? Do you send perfect functions to the pixel? Or is it something completely different that only you know? Above all, a factual definition allows your team to actually finish what they are doing and move on. A clear definition of fact is the X on your treasure map. Even though a feature may seem ready on the surface, if the technical team hasn`t scored the i`s and passed the t`s behind the scenes, those resources will continue to come back to those “completed” projects to clean things up and fix any outstanding issues. In just about every case, the definition of fact should be defined by the entire Scrum team. In Agile, your team is solely responsible for turning your product backlog into sprints and usable software. Asking a developer if they`re “done” with a feature can sometimes be about as productive as asking a politician for a simple answer. “Completed” in this sense could mean that the programming, testing, deployment, documentation or any combination thereof is complete. People often have different ideas about what to do, and it`s not always easy to get your entire team on the same page.

But what is even more difficult than deciding on a de facto definition is to hold people accountable for the contract. It is recommended that teams create their fact definitions as soon as possible and at the latest before the first sprint planning. Without a common understanding of what “done” means, it`s basically impossible to align with the amount of work a team can put into a sprint. Literally, to get an answer to that, it`s asking the question, “I know you`re done, but are you DONE?” See also “READY-READY”. My current team is quite new and it`s a start-up. We`re trying to build the scrum culture, agile, which obviously requires a lot of iterations, given that we`re trying to adapt rather than force. With the definition of fact, in my previous organizations, we usually had the approval of the product owner as the last step, but here the team wants “release to prod” to be integrated into the DoD. However, the acceptance criteria are clear for the user story or feature in question. These criteria must be defined by product management, with input from the technical team on specific use cases or parameters that must be met to give the green light to this element before it is considered settled. For agile teams, knowing when a product or project is “finished” helps avoid endless iteration loops that do more to confuse and complicate a project than to improve it.

A lack of clear focus on what defines “fact” can lead to crippling perfectionism – or worse, apathy. The team agrees on a list of criteria that must be met before a product increment “often a user story” is considered “finished” and displays them prominently somewhere in the team room. Failure to meet these criteria at the end of a sprint usually means that the work should not be taken into account in the speed of that sprint. “The definition of Fact creates transparency by giving everyone a common understanding of the work that has been done in the increment. If a Product Backlog item does not meet the definition of Done, it cannot be published or even presented in the sprint review. Instead, it returns to the backlog of products for further review. A DoD reflects the steps needed to provide an incremental sprint. For Scrum and Agile teams, this benchmark provides an opportunity to test, iterate, learn and improve the outcome of the next sprint. Each step of the DoD checklist offers the opportunity to get feedback while keeping the publishing plan on track. But a delivered product or feature can hardly be considered done, even in the eyes of the product. Most of it depends on consciousness.

How can you ensure that your team still has the definition of “fact” while working? When your team decides on their definition of “done,” it can be easy to get carried away thinking about what an ideal version looks like. And while it`s a good exercise, you need to be realistic with what you include in your criteria. The engineering organization is usually the main player in the definition of Done, as much of it is designed to ensure that things work well and meet the basic technical requirements. The definition can be led by the Scrum Master or the Head of Engineering. “The definition of done (DoD) is when all the acceptance conditions or criteria that a software product must meet are met and are ready to be accepted by a user, customer, team, or consumer system,” says Derek Huether of ALM Platforms. “We have to meet the definition of fact to ensure quality. It reduces retouching by preventing the promotion of undefined user stories in higher-level environments. It prevents functions that do not meet the definition from being delivered to the customer or user. We`ve already talked about the difference between the acceptance criteria and your definition of completed, and how both are needed to succeed in your sprint or call a completed user story.

DoD is universally applied (with a few exceptions) to everything the engineering organization tries to send. While a product management “OK” can be one of the checklist items, it is a fairly generic definition. If multiple Scrum teams are working on the system or product version, the developer must jointly define the definition of Done in all Scrum teams. As Scrum teams mature, Done`s definitions expand to include stricter criteria for better product increment quality. For the definition of Done to work effectively, each product or system must have a standard definition of Done so that any work can be done based on it. Leaving the question of whether something is “done” or not open to interpretation can lead to conflicts, misunderstandings, negative user experiences, and revenue impacts, which is a good reason to commit to meeting these criteria before the sprint even begins. Sharing a shared vision of what the end result should be is a good starting point for any project, and agreeing on the doors a feature must pass through to achieve completion creates a consensus of expectations. .