At the Scrum Gathering in Prague last week, many participants were active during the Open Space sessions of the last day. I suggested the topic “Definition of Done in different settings“. Thirteen of us found the topic interesting enough to spend 45 minutes together. Here is my write up of the discussion as I remember it. If you were there: please add your comments below.
We started out by identifying the most urgent issues. See illustration.
Many teams and organizations struggle with why a Definition of Done is needed. The discussion we hade centered around the need for transparency. Both transparency with regards to the capacity of a team to perform activities needed in order to produce a shippable increment of the product every Sprint, and transparency with regards to what the team is not capable of doing each Sprint. The Definition of Done is applicable for all items of the Procduct Backlog.
How to follow or not
Depending on the origin of the Definition of Done it is easier or harder to follow. The experience in the group was that it is easier to follow a Definition of Done created by the Scrum Team itself. DoD given to the team by others seems to be harder to follow.
Conclusion: Let the Scrum Team create the Definition of Done.
This will most certaily make the team care more about the Definition of Done. It is also a way to decrease the pressure from outside. Let the Scrum Team create a Definition of Done and support them to extend it over time. If we talk about the Definition of Done as the current capability of the team it seam natural to many of us to expect that the team will be able to increase their capabilities and thus extend their Definition of Done.
User stories with Dependencies
If your team is dependent of another team or external roles, they will face a bigger challenge. Now it is about more than the team. That calls even more for transparency. We want all involved to be informed about what they can expect.
Multishare Definition of Done
When many teams are working on the same product it may be called for a Definition of Done that is the same for all of the teams. Sometimes organizations insist upon multishare DoD even though all teams are not working on the same product. This may be a bad idea and may be a reason for teams not caring about the DoD. The Definition of Done shuold be created by the team and not imposed upon it by someone else. The best and most clear Definitions of Done are created by the team or the teams building the product.
Definition of Done and Acceptance Criteria
Many teams are not able to differ between Definition of Done and Acceptance Criteria. One suggestion in the group was that Definition of Done is addressing the process and Acceptance Criteria are addressing the product. My simple example to try to illustrate the difference is my Definition of done before I leave my home. Before I step outside I always put on my underware, my socks, pants, a shirt and my shoes. The acceptance criteria, however, are different depending upon what I aim to do after leaving the house. I have different acceptance criteria for working in the garden and for dressing for a wedding for example.
- In what way do you struggle with the Definition of Done?
- What are successful strategies you have used to create a useful Definition of Done?
Please share your answers by commenting.