What's your DoD?

What's your DoD?

I've asked this question a few times of Agile teams... And usually look at me! look at each other for inspiration and perhaps, hopefully, eventually will find a written Definition of Done.... hopefully attached to the 'Information Radiator'! Usually however teams doing 'agile' have one... but nobody can remember what it is or where it is - let alone know for sure if it's being adhered too!

The Definition of Done (DoD) and Acceptance Criteria list are very important concepts in agile - It's a sort of contract that binds the Product Owner (PO) with what the team delivers.

So what is it? it' should be a very clear, concise list of requirements that software must adhere to for the team to call it complete. While the DoD usually applies to all items in the backlog, Acceptance Criteria are applicable to a specific user story.

For a story to be complete, both the DoD and acceptance criteria must be met.

Defining your DoD is simple (well it can be, it isn't always) The difficulty often lies in the team respecting the contract.

You may also want to break down the DoD - because in reality the Definitions of done can and does correspond to different parts of the process: technical tasks, user stories, bugs!

Manage the DoD over time

The DoD is a contract between the product owner and the team. Don't as I've seen done before be temped to fit in as many items in the DoD as possible in the belief that this will increase the quality of the product - because it won't! You might think you can enforce it, that it's a contract that must be followed.... but believe me... there are no safeguards in place against human nature!

Teams confronted with too many DoD items tend to be 'selective' over what bits they adhere too! the message becomes confused and respect for the DoD overtime diminishes!

Like all things Agile - the DoD is a live document that should be reviewed regularly - just like every other process in a Lead environment!

Who's responsible for the DoD?

Simple! - The Product Owner is responsible... and the team accountable! Don't make this blurry and enforce it!

Enforce the DoD

This is where things get a little fuzzy - and perhaps why so may Agile teams can't immediately give you a DoD!

The DoD is either old... irrelevant! or as is usually the case not enforced (See above)... if it's not being enforced why not? is it the wrong DoD? does it need reviewing?

What's Done Done?

Is it Done or is it Done Done? You should have a DoD but when a user story is 'Done' is it ship-able? could it go live today?

Stories that are Done but not Done Done - contain hidden work! work that's not visible or clear upfront! and usually comes to bite you at the end!

In an ideal world all stories at the end of a sprint that are done.... should be Done Done (ready to deploy to live... today)!


Christian Miles