The Definition of Done
In Scrum, the “Definition of Done” refers to a shared understanding within the Scrum Team of what it means for a product increment or a work item to be considered complete.
It serves as a checklist of criteria that must be met for each user story, task, or feature to be considered done and potentially shippable.
The Definition of Done typically includes:
- Quality standards,
- Testing criteria, and
- Any other specific conditions that must be fulfilled.
It helps ensure transparency, alignment, and a common understanding of what constitutes a finished and potentially releasable increment of work.
Example of a “Definition of Done”
Here is one example of a “Definition of Done” for a household chore.
Let’s say this weekend your wife is going on a business trip, and you are responsible for doing the laundry.
If she asks you if the laundry is complete and you are unsure of what she means, you might unintentionally say YES even if you have only sorted the dirty clothes by color and type.
But, if there is an established “Definition of Done” available to you, such as the following:
- All dirty clothes are sorted by color and type.
- The appropriate laundry detergent and fabric softener are selected.
- The washing machine is loaded with the sorted clothes, ensuring not to overload it.
- The desired washing cycle, water temperature, and other settings are chosen.
- The washing machine is started and allowed to complete the full washing cycle.
- After the washing cycle is complete, the clothes are promptly transferred to the dryer or hung up to air dry.
- If using a dryer, the appropriate drying cycle is selected, and the clothes are dried until fully dry.
- Once dry, the clothes are folded, hung, or organized as appropriate for storage.
- The laundry area is cleaned and any spills or messes are tidied up.
- All laundry-related equipment and supplies are properly stored away.
With this defined checklist, you would know that you haven’t completed all the necessary steps if you have only sorted the clothes.
Avoid unnecessary conflict by completing all tasks defined in the Definition of Done.
Keep your wife happy and satisfied by ensuring that every aspect of the work is accomplished according to the agreed-upon criteria.