Does Your Team Define “Done”?

Wayne Grant

Wayne is a software developer, ScrumMaster and Agile Coach.

A “Definition of Done” brings transparency to a team’s way of working, yet some teams have never heard of the concept, and many more have never actually created this essential checklist of activities. Here is a step-by-step workshop to help teams agree on and publish a Definition of Done.

A few months ago I underwent a career change by converting from Scrum Master to Agile Coach. I am still adjusting to my new role but am, by and large, enjoying the challenge and change of pace that it entails. I work with a number of internal teams which represent a fairly broad spectrum of Agile experience from novice to intermediate.

When I engage with a team for the first time I ask them a number of initial questions to help me to gauge their Agile maturity. Some of these concern the Agile ceremonies they practice and the particular Agile artifacts they make use of. What has surprised me so far is that an overwhelming number of these Agile teams did not have a Definition of Done.

For those not familiar with the concept, a Definition of Done (DoD) is a checklist of useful activities that are carried out by a software team every time they implement a user story. The DoD can, for example, include things like Code, Unit Test, Integration Test, Peer Review, etc. The idea is that the culmination of all of these activities against a given set of requirements will result in …

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"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."

- Mark Twain