What is Definition of Done (DoD) in Scrum

What is Definition of Done (DoD)

Definition of Done( DoD) is one of the key concepts in Scrum Framework. It is a common definition defined by the scrum team to ascertain when the work is complete. DoD differs from team to team.

One analogy from an agile coach about DoD – When can I say that my car is delivered in good condition? The Definition of Done (DoD) would be –

a) Tyres air pressure

b) Car Cleaned ( outside and inside)

c) Brakes working smoothly

Increment – Product Backlog item meets the DoD

When a Product Backlog item meets the Definition of Done, an Increment is born. The Definition of Done creates transparency by providing everyone a shared understanding of what work was completed as part of the Increment.

Product Backlog item does not meet the Definition of Done

If a Product Backlog item does not meet the Definition of Done, it cannot be released or even presented at the Sprint Review. Instead, it returns to the Product Backlog for future consideration.

If the Definition of Done for an increment is part of the standards of the organization, all Scrum Teams must follow it as a minimum. If it is not an organizational standard, the Scrum Team must create a Definition of Done appropriate for the product.

The Developers are required to conform to the Definition of Done. If there are multiple Scrum Teams working together on a product, they must mutually define and comply with the same Definition of Done.

Source – Scrum Guide 2020

Definition of Ready (DoR) – What does it mean?

As part of Product Backlog refinement (PBR), the User story which is well understood and well described gets a green flag to move to the Sprint backlog. This mechanism is called as “Definition of Ready”. In simple terms, the user story is clear for the development team which can be part of the iteration.

Beautifully explained by Mike Cohn, citing the example of a big burly bouncer standing at the door allowing certain individuals, the definition of ready bouncer only allows certain user stories to attend the iteration.

The next question is how does our bouncer decide whom to allow and whom to not – What are the criteria?

Checklist of Definition of Ready

  1. The story has been estimated and falls under the adequate size for iteration
  2. The story is clear and understandable
  3. All external dependencies have been resolved
  4. Is the acceptance criteria of a story is clearly understood by the team?
  5. A user who will accept the story is identified
  6. The team understand how to demo the story

The above points are the important criteria to be visited before moving the story to Sprint backlog. Do note, the DoR will change from Story to Story. The team should develop a mechanism best suited for them in implementing DoR.


“Definition of Ready” though not popular as “Definition of Done”, is important. The goal is to prevent problems and not allowing them to the iteration. Though debate continues around “Definition of Ready” makes the process more waterfall and less agile, it is at the discretion of the teams to decide how to use this. Our recommendation is the team should have clarity of the requirements before they start work and “ Definition of Ready” is extremely powerful. DoR is not mentioned on the Scrum Guide however this is related to the Definition of Done or DoD. If the team has a robust process around DoR, it will make the path comfortable for achieving DoD