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What is the definition of done (DoD)?

Definition: The definition of done (DoD) is a set of criteria that must be met before a product, feature, or other deliverables can be considered complete. In agile software development, the DoD helps ensure that all necessary work has been completed from the backlog and the deliverable meets the required quality standards.

Definition of Done can include functional and non-functional requirements, acceptance criteria, and any other criteria that must be satisfied before the work can be considered done. Read the FAQs to see the difference between definition of ready and definition of done.

The DoD should be clearly defined and communicated to all team members, as it ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals and that the deliverables meet the necessary quality standards. 

It also helps prevent scope creep, where additional work is added to the deliverable after its approval, which can lead to delays and other issues.

How to create a good definition of done?

  • Define the scope of work, making it clear and sure that all necessary tasks are completed within those boundaries. 
  • Define the required quality standards, such as the work meeting performance or reliability targets or following the design guidelines.
  • Define the acceptance criteria that must be met before the work can be considered done. 
  • Identify necessary tests that must be completed before the work can be considered done. 
  • Communicate the DoD to the whole team, including the developers, product owner, and any other stakeholders. 
  • Review and update the DoD as needed to ensure that it remains accurate and relevant. 

Examples of the definition of done

Here is an example of the Definition of Done for developing a new software feature:

  • The feature has been developed and passed all tests according to acceptance criteria.
  • The feature meets all required performance and reliability standards.
  • The code has been reviewed and approved by the project owner.
  • All the necessary documentation has been created and reviewed.
  • The feature has been reviewed and approved for delivery by the CEO.
  • The feature has been demonstrated to the test customer base and accepted.
  • The feature is ready to be released to the wider customer base.

This DoD outlines all the criteria that must be met before the feature can be considered complete and ready for release, including functional requirements and any approvals needed.

The specific criteria of the DoD can be different for every new feature the team develops, and it has to be adjusted to the needs of the new feature.

What’s the difference between the definition of done and acceptance criteria?

The acceptance criteria are specific requirements that a product or feature must meet to be accepted by the end user, while the definition of done (DoD) is a set of criteria that signals the project team that the feature is complete. 

The biggest difference is that the DoD is defined by the project team and refers to the completion of the whole feature, while the acceptance criteria is defined by the users and refers to the user stories which make up the feature. 

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Article FAQs

On what product levels do you need to have the definition of done?
The definition of done (DoD) is used at the product feature level. This means that the DoD applies to every new feature rather than the product as a whole. It helps ensure that all the necessary tasks have been completed and that the feature is ready for release.
What is the difference between the definition of done and the definition of ready?
The definition of done (DoD) is a set of criteria that must be met before the work is considered complete, while the definition of ready (DoR) is a set of criteria that must be met before work on a project can start. Both DoD and DoR are important for ensuring work on a product are completed efficiently, one before work starts (DoR), the other signaling that the work is complete (DoD).

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