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What is the definition of ready (DoR)?

Definition: The definition of ready (DoR) is a set of criteria that must be met before the work on a product or a feature can be started.

It guarantees that the necessary information, resources, and conditions are in place for the work to be completed efficiently and effectively.

DoR helps prevent bottlenecks and delays by identifying any prerequisites that must be addressed before any work begins. Usually, it is a list of tasks that must be completed before work can start.

The concept of a Definition of Ready is used in agile development methodologies, such as Scrum, as a way to ensure that work items are well-defined and properly prepared before they are added to the development team's backlog or sprint. 

How to create a definition of ready

Creating a Definition of Ready is done by using the INVEST method, which gives teams the necessary factors their DoR has to have.

  • Independent: self-contained and independent from other items and resources.
  • Negotiable: open to adjustments and scope changes until the start of the sprint.
  • Valuable: bring value to the business or customers.
  • Estimable: possible to estimate the time and effort required to complete the item.
  • Small: small enough to fit into a single sprint.
  • Testable: have set criteria that determine if it’s complete.

If a feature passes all the criteria set by the team, the work on it can begin.

Examples of a definition of ready

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

  • The feature has a clear and defined scope.
  • All tasks have been identified and outlined.
  • All necessary resources (software licenses, APIs, databases) are available to the team.
  • The feature has been reviewed and approved by the project owner.
  • All dependencies for the feature have been resolved.
  • The team has defined a budget and a timeline for development.
  • All the necessary documentation was obtained.
  • Any necessary integrations with other systems have been identified and planned for. 
  • The process for testing the feature has been defined.
  • The accepted criteria have been defined.

This DoR outlines all the criteria that must be met before work on a new feature can begin, including functional requirements and any approvals needed.

The DoR can be different for every new feature the team is planning to work on, and it has to be adjusted to its needs.

Definition of ready vs. definition of done

The definition of ready (DoR) is a set of criteria that must be met before work on a product can start, while the definition of done (DoD) is a set of criteria that must be met before work on a product can be considered complete. 

DoR and DoD are essential for ensuring work on a product is completed efficiently, one before work starts (DoR), the other signaling that the work is complete (DoD).

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Article FAQs

What is the definition of ready in Scrum?
In Scrum, the Definition of Ready (DoR) is a set of criteria or standards that must be met before a work item can be considered ready to be included in a sprint.
What does the definition of ready mean in Agile?
In Agile, the Definition of Ready (DoR) is a set of criteria that must be met before starting work on a user story or feature. It provides the team with all the necessary information and resources they will need to finish their work.
Who defines the definition of ready?
The DoR is defined by the product owner in collaboration with the project team. The project owner has value for the business and customers in mind, while the team is responsible for the technical requirements of the feature.
Why have a definition of ready?
DoR helps to improve the efficiency, quality, and predictability of projects, which ultimately leads to better outcomes for the business.

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