Definition of Ready & Definition of Done

2 min read

Establishing quality checks before delivering your end products to a client is essential to ensuring their high quality. Any product must be checked for bugs and other issues beforehand. But for those checks to be productive, there must be some structure and a complete understanding of what a product should look like. That’s where you can implement the Definition of Ready (DoR) and the Definition of Done (DoD).

What is DoR and DoD

Basically, DoR and DoD are criteria that are agreed upon with a team and a client concerning user stories (software features written from the user perspective). Those criteria are necessary for the team to proceed confidently to the next step of development. User story requirements that haven’t passed DoR can’t be included in Sprint and implemented user stories cannot be deployed on production until they pass DoD.

Discussing DoR and DoD with a team helps to avoid confusion and blockers during work. As soon as everybody understands when exactly a product is 100% finished, you don’t risk creating buggy and vague features that eventually lead to many unexpected expenses. 

Defintion of ready

Definition of Ready

DoR is the first gate that a user story must pass. In simple terms, it’s a set of standards meeting which indicates that a team can start a Sprint. 

Typically, such a set includes :

  1. Written acceptance criteria – a set of conditions that a product must meet to be accepted;
  2. Documented requirements;
  3. User story presented to the team;
  4. User story estimated;
  5. UX/UI design ready and attached to the task;
  6. UAT and test cases prepared by the QA team.

The main goal of DoR is to establish clear development requirements. Well-documented requirements help conduct proper evaluation and prioritize features so that the team’s backlog is planned precisely. 

DoR Utility

While the primary goal of DoR is clear, it’s also important to highlight the practical use of this phenomenon. It can help your team:

  1. Avoid starting work on features that don’t have a clear definition of completion criteria. The team will understand when the User Story is considered finished, and what needs to be done for this.
  2. Do not waste a lot of time on lengthy discussions of poorly thought-out tasks. A pre-processed task will save the time of the entire team. Calculate how much time it takes to discuss a “bad” task for one person. Then multiply by the number of people in the team. Then—by the number of such tasks.
  3. Focus on things that are as “safe” as possible. One of the strongest demotivators is the functionality thrown into the trash.
  4. Involve everyone in the discussion of tasks. Firstly, it motivates the team. Secondly, it helps to reveal each team member as a specialist. Thirdly, the developers will offer their vision of the problem. During the discussion, other solutions that will radically differ from the original idea may arise.

Definition of Done

DoD is the second gate that a user story must pass through. It is a set of standards indicating that a project is finished and ready to be released. 

Such set usually includes:

  1. Completed code review;
  2. Tests successfully passed; 
  3. Product owner’s approval of work;
  4. Ready user documentation.

The main goals are well-documented functionality, minimal bugs, and approval from the product owner.

Definition of Done VS Acceptance Criteria

In this article, we’ve already mentioned the term ‘Acceptance Criteria (AC)’ and provided its meaning. It looks similar to DoD’s, and some may find it confusing. 

Done is defined as a proper building process, while AC is about the feature itself.

For example, a user story of adding a payment system has an acceptance criteria such as “Users can save a credit card in their profiles” or “Users can select PayPal as a payment method”. DoD includes a corresponding criteria such as “User tests are passed successfully”.

Final thoughts

Look at the picture below to better understand how DoD and DoR work in the iteration cycle. As you can see, DoR and DoD serve as gates that a feature must pass through before it’s deployed.

img article 1 development

Of course, DoR and DoD are different for each project and team. Developing good criteria requires discussion with the team and a product owner, so developing them takes some time and effort. 

It may seem like having the Definition of Ready, Definition of Done, and Acceptance Criteria all in one place is too much. However, having a transparent working process on each user story can actually increase team speed and improve the overall quality of the end product. This leads to a better user experience and results in more satisfied customers and increased revenue. The clients’ engagement and satisfaction with the team’s work directly impact the satisfaction of the end users.

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