I always say Definition of Done is simple: It is just a common language/ understanding about "What done means" of Scrum Team and stakeholders.
But why is it very important?
Well! Let's go through events inside a Sprint and see how DoD support Scrum team.
1. At Sprint Planning: Definition of Done helps and guides Development team forecast about how many Product Backlog Items they can do within this sprint to achieve a sprint goal.
E.g: If your DoD - Unit test passed 80%. It means all work development team need to pass 80% of unit test and your development team needs to forecast with 5 PBIs they picked can be Done follow DoD or not? If not they need to consider to pick less work to meet DoD.
2. At Daily Scrum: Definition of Done also guide team plan what need to do next to deliver Done increment at end of Sprint.
E.g: Back to the last example, DoD of the team is Unit test passed 80%, So the team will review 24 hours plan of their work following that DOD in Daily Scrum.
3. At Sprint Review: It supports the Scrum team and Stakeholders have same understanding what Done means. Everybody will review an increment follow that understanding. This will avoid miss-understanding of everybody and no different assumption about Done increment.
What will happen when: Development team think Unit test just need to pass 50%, but PO think It's 80% and Stakeholder think it's 100%? It will lead to a gap of understanding, and everybody easy to be disappointed as had wrong expectation.
DoD important like that but many Scrum team don't apply DoD or applied it in wrong way.
What happens if DoD is not applied?
Some years ago, I started job as Scrum Master of Media Product. At that time, PO and Stakeholders were very disappointed with the Development team because they could not deliver working software in 6 months. They were lost patience day by day.
In the order side, Development team also disappointed as they tried to work hard but still not meet the expectation of PO and Stakeholders
When I came, I figured out that they were missing DoD so revived transparency about what Done means is a very important thing I need to do first.
I supported the Development team defined DoD by themselves. Based on the real situation and their ability at that time.
After that, I asked Development team share that DoD with PO and all Stakeholders so everybody understand what Done means, and at Sprint review everybody will review increment with the same expectation.
Can I copy DoD on the internet or other team and apply to my team?
A few years ago, One junior Scrum Master I knew tried to apply DoD to his new Scrum Team. When I asked him how going on and he shared he copied good one from the internet and applied to his new Scrum team.
What I can say, you should never do like that. As DoD should be managed by your Development team, as they know their ability at time being. Applying DoD of other mature Scrum team, will put your team in stress, as maybe it's too hard for them. And they can't deliver Done increment with that DoD.
DoD should be created and managed by your Development Team anyway and it will be updated and improved when your Scrum team matures. Please Don't copy it.
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Name: Khoa Doan