The objective of every Development Team during Sprint is to create increment at the end of Sprint to achieve Sprint Goal.
Scrum is a framework of roles, rules, and principles. It helps the Development Team to discover and identify which is the best way to achieve their goal.
In every Sprint, Development Team has too many Work Items need to be completed - to create value. But the questions are: How to make sure that each Work Item will be performed in correct steps, and the right work items will be chosen and performed at right time, to maximize value. Workflow will help the team to deal with these questions.
"Workflow is the sequential movement of work items from an activity to another in a process."
Development Team should create their own Workflow based on the shared understanding within the team. All the elements in workflow such as: Work Items, Work Item statuses (initial state, active state and complete state), upstream, downstream movement need to be identified based on empirical practice of development team to improve efficiency, effectiveness and predictability.
From the beginning of Product/ Project when the team is not mature, Workflow should be initiated as a visualizing and simple flow. The team will maximize the transparence, inspection, and adaption to the improve the flow during mature stages.
What are the benefits from Definition of Workflow?
We will figure out the benefits of Definition of Workflow from an example with a team applied TDD - Test-Driven Development.
TDD is a software development process based on the repetition of a short development cycle. It starts with designing and developing tests for every small functionality. TDD cycle defines: Write test case, make it run, write the code and make it right by refactoring until the code passed the test case.
In conclusion, similar to Definition of Ready, Definition of Workflow is not a "Stage of Gate". It is a best practice to let Development Team maximize the value of their works. Therefore, Definition of Workflow must be created and owned by Development Team based on their needs and empirical practices. When they are able to manage and determine the Workflow, the transparency will be increased significantly.