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Definition of Done (DoD)

Definition of Done [DOD] Definition

The “Definition of Done” (DoD) is a shared understanding within a Scrum Team about the criteria a product increment must meet to be considered complete and relevant. This criterion helps teams maintain consistent, high-quality output and ensures everyone has a standard view of what “done” looks like.

Historical Context

The concept of the “Definition of Done” has its roots in early software development practices where clarity was needed to ensure both functionality and quality. As Agile methodologies evolved, the need for a shared understanding of completion became evident, giving rise to the formalization of DoD in Scrum. This historical evolution ensures that modern Agile practices are grounded in decades of iterative refinement and best practices.

What is the importance of the Definition of Done?

In Agile methodologies, particularly Scrum, the Definition of Done is crucial to establish a clear benchmark for the completion of work. Without it, team members might have varying views on the completeness and quality of a feature, user story, or product increment. Furthermore, a clearly articulated DoD ensures alignment with a Product Strategy, which is a roadmap that defines the future direction of a product, outlining its features, functions, and enhancements over time.

The DoD sets the foundation for transparency, trust, and effective team communication. By understanding what criteria need to be fulfilled for work to be deemed “done” teams can more effectively plan, execute, and deliver increments, improving stakeholder satisfaction.

Who Creates the Definition of Done?

The Scrum Team collaboratively creates the Definition of Done. This includes the Development Team, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master. By ensuring that every member has input, teams can ensure that the DoD reflects technical and business needs.

Comparison with Traditional Methods

Unlike traditional project management, where completion criteria might be vague or defined solely by project stakeholders, Scrum’s DoD is collaboratively crafted by the entire team. This inclusive approach ensures a balanced perspective, accounting for both technical feasibility and business objectives. Moreover, while traditional methods might prioritize deadlines over quality, the DoD emphasizes a holistic approach, valuing both timely delivery and product excellence.

Definition of Done [DOD] Examples

  • Code Completeness: All code related to a user story or feature is written, reviewed, and merged.
  • Testing: The code has undergone unit testing, integration testing and passed all acceptance tests.
  • Documentation: Necessary documentation, such as user guides or internal documentation, has been completed and reviewed.
  • No Known Defects: All identified bugs or issues related to the increment have been addressed and resolved.
  • Performance: The feature or user story meets specified performance criteria or benchmarks.

Real-world Application

Consider the case of a prominent tech company, XYZ Corp. In its early stages, the development team often faced confusion and delays due to the lack of a clear DoD. Features believed to be “complete” by developers would often be sent back by product owners for further refinement. Upon implementing a structured DoD, the company reported a 30% decrease in rework and a significant improvement in stakeholder satisfaction.

Is DoD mandatory in Scrum?

Yes, the Definition of Done is a fundamental aspect of Scrum. It ensures that the increment is of usable quality and meets the team’s standards. The team must confidently state that work is complete with a DoD.

Future of DoD

As Agile methodologies continue to evolve and adapt to modern challenges, so will the concept of the DoD. With the rise of AI-driven development and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), future iterations of the DoD may place greater emphasis on automated testing, real-time collaboration, and adaptive learning. It’s crucial for Agile teams to stay updated on these trends and refine their DoD accordingly.


The Definition of Done provides clarity and consistency within Agile teams, setting a standard for completion and quality. As a cornerstone of Agile practices, particularly in Scrum, the DoD ensures that increments meet technical and business needs, promoting team trust and alignment.

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